Latitude Festival 2017:
Saturday morning heralded the arrival at Latitude for me and my friend, both of us eager to take over where Sarah had left off with Friday’s festival programme.
Lucky with the weather, we set up camp and headed through the decorated woods and over the bridge across the lake, into the main area. Within minutes, feeling completely enthralled by the super chilled atmosphere and the wonderful mix of people of all ages that immediately strikes you on arrival, we were ready to feast our eyes.
This was my first ever visit trip Latitude so I was looking forward to finding out what is was all about.
There are a huge variety of food and drink stalls to suit all tastes, but hungry and thirsty we found a great stall selling delicious falafel wraps, which we washed down with a cold pint of lager.
There is nothing more pleasurable than wandering around, strolling by the lakeside, taking it all in and sitting relaxing on grass banks (which we did) but, knowing that there are so many fantastic acts, shows and bands to see we had to get going to be sure not to miss out. The organisers of Latitude have set up an amazing App which gives you a very clear overview of what’s on where, that we used all the time to navigate around the Festival.
Our first encounter was in comedy tent where Joel Doland, easy on the eye and self-confessed successful comic, post ‘I’m a celebratory” kept his audience entertained with run of the mill humour.
Next stop the theatre tent where we saw ‘The Negro Problem: Notes Of A Native Song’ which was inspired by the work of playwright, novelist and essayist James Balwin. It transferred the audience to Harlem with a collage of soulful songs about love and strife, issues of race and unresolved conflict, that no matter how mesmerizing the voice of Tony and Obie award winner playwright/singer songwriter Stew, accompanied by the highly accomplished band of musicians could ever hope to resolve.
Having been lured by the blue and red strips of the BBC music tent we stumbled upon American band The Lemon Twigs from Long Island. These Bobby G (Primal Scream) lookalikes were made up of the young D’Addario brothers, Brian (19) and Michael (17). They seemed to have DNA extracted straight from the likes of Bowie, Beach Boys, Lou Reid, Queen and Pink Floyd. Their bounty held no boundaries as their soaring melodies, seamless harmonies and solo voices treated us to the full spectrum of sounds, likely to see them become the iconic band they deserve to be.
As the evening drew in and the sun dramatically set over Latitude, the crowds made their way to the main Obelisk Arena to eagerly await the headlining stars of the night Mumford & Sons on their ‘Gentlemen of the Road Stopover’.
The band launched into opening number, Snake Eyes, with bucket loads of energy that delighted the crowds. They had everyone dancing and singing throughout, especially to all the old favourites such as Little Lion Man, Lover of the Light and I Will Wait. The band was clearly enjoying the night as much as we were and seemed to be at the top of their game. Front man Marcus Mumford radiated confidence along with charismatic fellow members Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall and Ted Dwane.
Mumford & Son’s respect and love for each other on stage was obvious as was their affection for the guest artists. They were joined by talented 23-year-old Brooklyn-based songwriter Maggie Rogers and Baaba Maal, who also helped to provide a feast of good music, they both joined the band along with Leon Bridges and Lucy Rose for a climatic ending with a rendition of ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ befitting of the status they command.
The crowd spilt out into a night of dance, music and magical moments in the surrounding woodlands
We captured red-headed, bearded multi talented performer Jack Garrett on the BBC stage who whipped the crowd into a dance frenzy with his DJ style set showing his versatility and skills as a performer.
Sunday morning, after a remarkably comfortable night on my blow up mattress, I enjoyed a hearty breakfast with plenty of fresh coffee.
We browsed the clothes, and jewellery stalls before heading to the Cabaret tent where we saw ‘All We Ever Wanted Was Everything’ from Hull company Middle Child. This was a story of hope, dysfunction, dashed dreams, being judged and how in our striving to be what we think others want us to be we loose sight of the things that really matter.
It was an energetic, passionate performance from this multi talented group of musician/actors, which took us all on a journey spanning twenty years in Hull starting in 1997, to a full on rave scene in 2007, then hurling us headlong into the backdrop of 2017, Brexit, Trump before finally culminating in our two damaged, disillusioned leads reuniting moments before life as we know it abruptly comes to an end.
Wandering into the Faraway Forest the renowned new writing company Paines Plough invited you to grab a luggage label and write on it what reminds you of home. Surrounded by labels tied in trees encouraging the audience to share their own experiences, the perfect setting to be stripped bare and be reminded of what makes us the people we’ve become.
Paine’s Plough commissioned 150 playwrights to write a ten-minute play about what shaped them and reminded them of home. “Come to Where I’m From’ invited us to sit among the trees and listen to three very different writers reading their plays, recounting their evocative memories and stories of childhood and home. Each wrapped us in their arms and took us into their world of love, pain, and identity.
There was also the opportunity for those that wanted to, to put on headphones and lose themselves in many more personal tales.
With work calling on Monday morning, we had to pack up camp and head home to London Sunday evening, but we managed to catch one final act before our exit. Gurr was performing on the Lake Stage. The band started after best friends Andrey and Laura met in Berlin on an American Studies class and went on to spend time in the US together. They have created a 4 piece, punky garage rock band, sassy and upbeat with an edge, which the audience loved and ensured we left on a high.
Latitude has so much on offer and we had such a fabulous weekend. I would love to do it all over again, catching some of the acts and shows we missed, but there’s always next year, so hopefully, I’ll be back!
2018 tickets are already on sale! Latitude will run from July 12-15 2018. For tickets check the official website
Meanwhile, if you want to remember to get your tickets, why not pin this post for later