There are few festival experiences which can tender a lakeside view, painted sheep, fine music, comedy, cabaret, theatre, film, poetry and literature as easily as a cash dispenser. Then again, there aren’t too many festivals like Latitude.
Now in its third year, Latitude has blossomed into a key fixture on the UK festival calendar.
The music side of the festival preserves and betters the eclecticism of past years: The Obelisk Arena is headlined by Franz Ferdinand, Sigur Ros and Interpol, the Uncut Arena by Amadou and Mariam, The Mars Volta and Tindersticks, and the Sunrise Arena by Crystal Castles, Metronomy and a still-to-be-announced Sunday headliner.
In between, there is a plenty on offer bound to cause selection headaches: Martha Wainwright, Howling Bells, Seasick Steve, Sebastien Tellier, Grinderman, The Breeders, Foals, Nada Surf and a guest appearance by Joanna Newsom. Elsewhere, the likes of Black Kids, Midnight Juggernauts and The Coral share stage space with House of Love and Blondie (yes you read that correctly).
Not forgetting the Lake Stage, curated by Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, the emphasis is on new music in the backdrop of the lake. Be sure to wander over now and then, at the very least for sets by Thecocknbullkid, Sky Larkin and James Yuill.
The Comedy Arena has proven big draw at Latitude, and this year sees the likes of Bill Bailey, Ross Noble and Omid Djalli. If you don’t leave the arena grinning like a baby you really will have missed the punch line.
Iain Banks, Hanif Kureshi and Irvine Welsh head up the readings and discussions in the Literature Arena. The Film Arena returns with its offerings of films shorts, silent films, art and visuals which will be supplemented by live performers, dancers and DJs, including Michael Nyman performing solo piano and The Buzzcocks.
Some of the country’s best in contemporary, performance, classical and local theatre will be on show across the four days. Short plays written and commissioned exclusively for the festival may be well worth your while. The likes of Sadler’s Wells and The Royal Court Theatre will all have a presence. For more, see our theatre preview.
Then there is the rave in woods after hours. The lake dance. Or for you proud parents, the Children’s Arena.
Across its four days Latitude forms a pretty remarkable constellation of activity. Before you lose your sense of direction, we’ve mapped out 20 bands you really ought to see over the weekend. The rest is best left to your own devices.
-The Mars Volta
-The Wave Pictures