Music blogger Paul Amer shares with us his festival 'must-sees!'
Now in its twelfth year, this local event continues to go from strength to strength.
So, what’s the secret for the Suffolk Coast festival?
Step right up, as the Latitude wagon pulls up at Henham Park, I hope you already have your tickets because the Saturday has fully sold out!
In 2006, 10,000 people enjoyed acts such as headliners Antony & the Johnsons (the Mercury Prize winners of 2005) and, a little further down the list, Paolo Nutini, when it launched as a festival with a “genteel, less manic feel” by Melvin Benn.
This year, the organisers were hoping to increase capacity to 39,999!
It seems the trick is to keep snapping at the heels of other national events whilst keeping that local connection and good customer service, giving attendees a great experience.
I rolled up at the Yellow Gate to have a peep at Henham Park as business vans such as Norfolk Caravans attended to the sleeping giant, preparing for Thursday when it is brought to life with colour, beats and laughter.
Waiting to greet me was Angie, a lady with red hair as vibrant as her Hi-Vis vest and a smile as sunny as the weather! I asked her what she was looking forward to catching in between her 12 hour security shifts over the weekend.
“Well, I’m a little older and not looking to party like the younger ones”, she said, with a look in her eye that tells me those ‘younger ones’ could learn a thing or two from Angie!
“So I just love to get involved in all the different craft and wooded areas that are so good here. I finish work during the day and enter the park to see which of the stalls and performances are left.
“I don’t recognise all of the acts anymore but I’m excited to see a band that I first saw twenty years ago in a pub in Thame. It was a great night”, she winks!
Such a large event could have proven unpopular with the natives and, let’s face it, we’ve all hit that A12 traffic at some point! But there remains a feeling of community support for Latitude.
Elaine of Sutherland House in Southwold High Street told me, “It’s great for us, they have all our rooms! Sometimes the acts and artists but mainly festival goers. They’re always well spirited and well behaved.”
So, you probably awaited that announcement of who would be headlining and what the line-up would look like for the weekend and you surely weren’t disappointed with acts such as the deliciously decadent Goldfrapp; Fleet Foxes, with their ethereal harmonies; The 1975, keeping guitar music sounding and looking gorgeous; and the divine (musical) comedy of…The Divine Comedy, to name a few.
Or perhaps, like me, you’re eagerly anticipating some nostalgic androgyny from Placebo, as they continue their 20th-anniversary celebrations on The BBC Music Stage on Friday. And I guess you’ve had a thing for Mavis Staples’ voice since hearing ‘If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)’, as I have? Well, she’ll be delivering in The Obelisk Arena on Sunday.
Or perhaps you’ll be there on Saturday, stamping your foot to the kick pedal of Mumford & Sons and belting out their hits from the massive crowd.
“I’m most looking forward to Mumford & Sons. The rest of the Saturday line-up isn’t to my taste!” says regular festival-goer, Stephen Clark.
So what makes Latitude
so special? I ask him:
“Well, in previous years when I’ve been unenthusiastic about the line-up, something has always caught my eye. That’s what makes Latitude so amazing: I know I’ll find something I’ll really enjoy. Anything can happen!”
And it probably will, can we expect a prominent politician to turn up and deliver some p-Latitude to the crowd? If not, we’ll be content with some of the hard-hitting political satire of comedians such as Mark Thomas, Andy Parsons and Robin Ince.
Latitude is here, get on board, dive in and bring your family. Smile at the security guards, drink responsibly (just don’t let your mother down!), cover yourself in sun cream and take your litter home with you. There’s so much to get involved with, whoever you are, whatever you like, and whatever the weather does. The forecast is pretty good, but please don’t take my word for it: pack your wellies and rain coat!
Latitude Festival runs from Thursday 13th to Sunday 16th July 2017, for more information and to book tickets, go to www.latitudefestival.com