10 things we learnt at Latitude Festival 2013

1. Trains suck

It seemed like such a good idea at the time. We can save a day’s holiday; we’ll go early Friday morning; it’ll be fine. We’ll still be able to pitch our tent and get to the main stage in time to see The Leisure Society at 12.30pm. Oh how wrong we were.

And to the guy that climbed onto the roof of Ipswich station, leaving us stranded on a train in Colchester for two and a half hours before we were forced to hop into a taxi, well, we hope you’re in a happier place now.

2. Come worship in this congregation

Chvrches (why the v?) provided the first ‘people queuing outside the tent’ moment of the weekend, as they packed out the i Arena stage on Friday afternoon. Watch out for these synth-poppers, there debut LP is out in September and they’ll be everywhere this autumn.

3. Bubbles, bubbles, there are bubbles everywhere

By far the most popular store was Bubble Inc, who specialised in everything any bubble fan could need. Soon enough the Latitude site seemed to have been enveloped in one gargantuan bubble-bomb cloud, and as each one came and went in a silent plop and burst, happiness was everywhere.

4. The old boys come good

Saturday lunchtime saw Steve Mason (ex- Beta Band) play his brand of passionate, politically charged indie folk to an enraptured Obelisk Arena crowd. But the real star of the show was former Supergrass man Gaz Coombes. Still the epitomy of cool, he opened the 6 Music stage to an impressively large crowd, who were still in the throes of shaking off their Friday night hangover.

Mainly playing tracks from his hugely underrated debut solo album, Here Comes The Bombs, he also found time to squeeze in an acoustic version of the Supergrass classic ‘Moving’, and in doing so provided the first ‘I was there’ moment of the day.

5. My eyes, my eyes

Foals and Bobby Womack were the only acts who got even close to amassing the kind of crowd that gathered for Kraftwerk’s much hyped Saturday night headline slot – though, it noticeably thinned as they went on.

The 90-minute show was everything you would expect from the German electro pioneers. As for the effects of the much talked about 3D show, well, it very much depended on where you were stood but in the main, the 80s inspired graphics jumped out, boggled the eyes and, at times, upset the stomach as only the best 3D can. And the sight of thousands of transfixed people wearing their made-for-2p-cardboard-white 3D glasses was one of the more hilarious aspects of the weekend.

6. Tim’s not telling stories but Richard Ashcroft’s making history

Tim Burgess’ cancellation in the Literary Arena on Friday was disappointing, but seeing Richard Ashcroft blow the cobwebs off his acoustic guitar and dust off the hits was an unexpected treat.

7. Sundays are for relaxing

Ah, Sundays, the day of rest. As the sun continued to wage war with the clouds, much fun was to be found in the comedy tent with Robin Ince (who seemed to have performed on every stage throughout the weekend). Whilst The Faraway Forest’s varied performance art and Ping London’s table tennis tables were perfect for a lethargic Sunday morning crowd.

Next year though, a British roast dinner tent would be a welcome addition.

8. Clash of the day

This was a big test for Foals. This was their first major UK festival headline slot – could they prove they belonged in the big league? You bet they could. With a dazzling light show, a huge crowd and mass sing-alongs, they owned this church. Exams passed.

Meanwhile, over on the 6 Music stage Beach House were showing why they’re the music journo’s favourites. Often their brand of dreamscape pop can get lost in the live arena, but with energy, passion and the ability to play things just that little bit quicker, Beach House showcased the manual on how to make these things work. One of the sets of the weekend.

9. A festival for everyone

Old age pensioners? Check. Babies? Check. Middle-aged couples? Check. Teenagers? Check. Latitude had them all in abundance and is truly the festival for everyone. From the burlesque dancing lessons, to the knitting tent, Sadler’s Wells ballet and free punting, this is the festival where people from all generations come together.

10. The Kings and Queen of Latitude

The collective sigh of relief could be heard as far as Norwich. We’d sat through ill-advised political rants, well intentioned yet feet planting indie and bizarre science experiments but, by the time Saturday night came, we needed to dance. Step forward New York’s finest.

From the first note to the last, Yeah Yeah Yeahs entertained, enthralled and inspired – it may have been the greatest booking in Latitude’s eight-year history. The amount of bands who have delivered four truly brilliant albums in a row can be counted on one hand, but it’s still the live arena where they truly excel, and Karen O remains one of the wackiest, happiest and coolest leaders in planet rock. Yeah Yeah Yeahs were truly the Kings and Queens of Latitude.