Review: 10 things we loved most about Latitude festival’s 10th birthday

Last weekend we went to sunny Suffolk to celebrate the 10th year of Latitude Festival. Here are a some of the best things we saw at Henham Park…

1. The youngest festival goers
The little rascals really did transform my whole festival experience. Whether they were running around with ice cream on their face or screaming as they were pulled along in a mini wagon by their bohemian parents, it is undeniable that Latitude’s youngest festival goers put a smile on everyone’s face. Latitude is one of the only festivals that have succeeded in satisfying both its core teen audience and the more mature Pimm’s consumers. I have never been to a festival with a vibe like Latitude; the laid-back family-friendly atmosphere really is perfect for all ages.


2. Young Fathers
On the final day of the festival I was dragged to the Radio 6 stage by my sister one hour before Years and Years were due to take to the stage to ensure we got ‘the perfect spot’. Oh, how grateful I am we were so outrageously early! We were lured into the tent by the intoxicating echoes and cries of last year’s Mercury Prize-winners, Young Fathers.  The three politically-charged Scots put on a demonstration of their astonishing ability to control an audience. The amount of passion they exuded in their nonsensical chants and animated movement filled the tent with a kind of liberated energy.  This exhilarating performance we so luckily stumbled upon is easily my musical highlight from the festival.

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3. The Literature Arena
Being renowned as one of the world’s leading multi-arts festivals; the 2015 Latitude line-up had a lot to live up to. This year the Literature Arena offered a whole host of literary favourites, wordsmiths and up-and-coming talent. I attended the New Statesman presentation:  Happily Ever After? Weddings in the Popular Imagination, from Shakespeare to Game of Thrones with Dr John Mullan, Kate Mosse and Richard Curtis. The theme of marriage in literature has always been a strong interest of mine, spurred after studying the subject at A-level. These three literacy masterminds discussed and compared the famously intense relationship of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy to the likes of Monica and Chandler from Friends, all in all to provide me with a highly entertaining morning.

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4. The surprise acts
Secrets swarmed the campsites on Saturday after the charming Ed Sheeran graced the Into the Woods iArena on Friday night, worlds away from the three stadium shows Ed had sold out the previous weekend. Whispers of Florence arriving on her machine to fill the suspiciously large gap in the program were soon hushed after Radiohead’s frontman; Thom Yorke appeared on stage with Portishead. After the curtain call of Portishead’s performance, what can only be described as a herd of crazy Radiohead fans flocked to the Woods, mindful that something magical was about to happen. The iArena was at its 3,000 capacity by 11:30, an hour before the Yorke was due to unveil Radiohead’s ninth album. Secret gigs have become a real festival ‘thing’, and Latitude has set the bar for the remaining summer bills.


5. Wolf Alice
Now I was really excited about this one! Wolf Alice are another one of those bands that have this amazingly effortless, innate energy that can transform an audience, and they certainly lived up to their reputation. Frontwoman Ellie Rowsell is not only unbearably beautiful but has chameleon-like vocals that vary from satanic screams to mesmerising melodies. They showcased their impeccable first album, My Love is Cool, released less than a month ago; arguably one of the most stimulating debut albums in years. This band will certainly remain on my radar as one to watch.


6. The food
My sister and I did not hold back when it came to this department. You know you’re in trouble when at the strike of noon you spend the next hour wondering aimlessly around the entire festival site just to ensure that you spend your allocated lunch money carefully. There was actually too much choice for us foodies. Our meals consisted of wood fire pizza, Greek feasts and Kanye Western mac n’ cheese, but my personal favourite of the three days was a wild boar and halloumi burger that sent me to Kloud Nine. Yo, I’m sorry Kanye, I’m really happy for you, I’ma let you finish, but Kloud Nine had one of the best burgers of all time!


7. Swimming
After much demand in previous years, organisers finally gave in and opened the lake for the loyal Latitude music and art lovers to take a dip. This new attraction provided the perfect opportunity for festival goers to cool down and relax after a day in the sun, or even for a morning dip to freshen up more than a makeshift wet wipe shower ever could.


8. The Film and Music Arena
This was the perfect place to escape during the day if you needed a break from all the people and the vast array of music. With the eccentric, independent or short films on offer throughout the day (strictly for those over 15 years of age), it was a perfect hub of peace and tranquillity. As the sun set each evening this tent would transform into a boppin poppin ragtime party. With the likes of electro swing and speakeasy jazz club White Mink and radio DJ Mark Lamarr hosting nights that guaranteed you to have a good old fashioned hoot.


9. Leon Bridges
If Otis Reading and Nina Simone had a son, he would sing and groove like Leon Bridges. This Texan-born soul singer has had a lot of buzz around him with his debut album, Coming Home, reminiscent of ’50s dance halls and New Orleans clubs. Bridges and his whole band looked as though they had stepped out of a black and white film up on the iArena, all sharp-suited and booted with hats that would give Pharrell and James Bay a run for their money. The whole tent mimicked Bridges’ toe tapping and hip swaying, like we had forgotten what decade it was. The mood Bridges and his band made was quintessential of Latitude’s family friendly vibe.

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10. Portishead headline
Saturday belonged to headliners Portishead. Frontwoman Beth Gibbons admitted how nervous she was prior to the performance, not that you could have known after the rich and ghost–like vocals she delivered. The whole show was a lesson in political cinematography, with a devil-eyed David Cameron as their backdrop as they belted out the powerful Machine Gun.  Later in the set the band was joined by Thom Yorke to help sing The Rip, not that they really needed the help! The crowd responded with laughs and cheers to the whole unexpected political spectacle.

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Did you attend Latitude Festival 2015? Let us know what you loved most at @TicketmasterUK