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Review: Latitude Festival

Jessica Heaton took in the magic of Latitude last weekend; see what she had to say about her festival experience.

Mike Warburton

Date published: 24th Jul 2015

Image: Latitude 

Admired for their arty vibe and reputable mix of bookings, Latitude celebrated their 10th year magnificently by revelling in a sunny oasis in the Suffolk countryside. A combination of pleasantries, this year's festival was really special because of its attention to detail and brigade of exciting activities.

With secret act Ed Sheeran stealing many hearts on Friday evening, Latitude played the surprise card very well, keeping the woodland gig under wraps until just before he was due on stage. 

Earlier in the day, The Theatre Arena hosted East London Dance: Club Life, which took the audience on a journey through clubbing’s most influential eras from the sixties to the noughties. Directed by choreographer Nathan Gordon, the performance was brought to life by some of the finest dancers and hip hop crews in the country. 

Later came Caribou, whose stunning performance was delivered with such humbleness. He delighted the crowd with 'I Can’t Do Without You', awaking the vocal chords of many, as most of the crowd crooned the lyrics in adoration. A compendium of twisting synths, smooth percussion and trembling warbles, Caribou was mesmerizing to watch from start to finish.

(Image:Latitude)

Bagging one of the headline spots, alt-J’s third appearance at Latitude followed on the main stage; the trio combined foot tapping drum strokes with warm vocals from lead singer Joe Newman. As the night drew in, Mike Snooze energised revellers with a pop-disco-house vibe on The Lake Stage, while Mucho Soul held the fort In The Woods with some much loved classics. 

Latitude opened its tired weary eyes to a bright Saturday morning and the delinquently dressed shuffled their way through their new morning routine. Once roused the day began with a 15 minute decompression session in the Soul Dome, where a guided meditation was played out while laying down looking up at holographic visuals.

A wonder around the festival site followed, but the real magic began when Jose González swooned the reclining crowd at the main stage, playing the much-adored 'Heartbeats' as well as material from his new album Vestiges & Claws.

Handpicked by DJ and Broadcaster Huw Stephens, The Lake Stage offered festival goers the opportunity to see the stars of the future. Saturday afternoon showcased French singer Petite Meller, who dazzled the crowd with an energetic performance which included her latest single 'Baby Love'. Over at the Alcove stage, Lonelady offered more of a punk vibe with punchy guitar chords and soulful vocals.

The evening brought an unmissable performance from James Blake who’s chilling, warped vocals and melodies transfixed the main stage. Portishead followed straight after with another spine tingling headline set (see them joined on stage by Thom Yorke below). The iArena led the night into the early hours with The Four Owls and Werkha playing an eclectic mix of electronic samples, bass and guitar.

Sunday morning was welcomed with more warm sunshine, and the day began with a talk from the people of Sunday Assembly, who bemused crowds with a moments silence. Meanwhile the Comedy Arena saw Irish comedian Aisling Bea, Romesh Ranganathan and Katherine Ryan deliver some very funny and different styles of comedy. Later brought old school classics The Boomtown Rats to the main stage along with a heavy dose of soulful rhythms in the iArena from KWABS. His debut single Walk was performed live beautifully. 

As the evening drew in, band of the moment Years and Years performed to a packed crowd at the BBC Radio 6 Stage, feeding the dynamic mass with popular tracks 'Desire' and 'Shine'. The energy was uplifting; 'King' went down particularly well. Over at the iArena, Jack Garratt played an immense set.

Delivering a perfect mixture of soft vocals, emotive lyrics and punchy baselines, he is definitely an artist to keep an eye on this year. Manic Street Preachers are no stranger to festivals and performed an exciting mix of old and new material that entertained the building crowds.

Closing the main stage on a high was headline act Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, who played a combination of the bands recent material along with some of Oasis’s most enjoyed classics. Overall, the 10th Latitude festival satisfied all my wishes. It had a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, sparkling loos and a high calibre of acts.

Read: In Cryptic Conversation with Ezra Furman

Festivals 2020