It’s early days yet, but the line-up for this year’s Latitude Festival is already shaping up rather nicely.
As I’ve probably mentioned before, Latitude 2007 was one of my favourite festivals ever (and that includes Glastonbury ’97). A great location, a brilliant atmosphere, a nice mix of people, a relatively intimate scale, a welcome lack of corporate presence and a veritable smorgasbord of odd, mad and interesting stuff all contributed to the mix, but I think it was the shonky handmade signs that really made the difference. It gave the weekend a nice, old-school homemade feel and I’ve always had a weakness for shonky handmade signs.
On the music front the main headliners this year will Franz Ferdinand, SigurRós and Interpol. I’ve got mixed feelings about this. Franz Ferdinand will be fun to see live, I like SigurRós a lot but I’m not sure of their big(ish)-ass festival headliner potential, and I haven’t heard enough by Interpol to care one way or the other. None of them have the same must-go appeal as, say, Arcade Fire, who stole the show last year. Having said that, I enjoyed Latitude 2007 so much that I’d have probably still turned up this year if the headliners were Adamski, Bucks Fizz and The James Last Orchestra.
In any case, like any good festival it’s not really about the headliners: there’s lots of other good music lined up, too. Grinderman, The Breeders, Buzzcocks, Elbow and Seasick Steve are currently residing in the archive file-box marked Stuff I Like Lots, while Death Cab For Cutie, The Mars Volta, M.I.A. and Amadouet Mariam are in a neighbouring folder marked Stuff I’m Planning To Listen To Soon. There’s a time-honoured migration path in my head in which the contents of the second folder often end up being shuffled into the Stuff I Like boxes. Sadly, I’ve had to put the process on hold as I’m currently experiencing an administrative backlog.
There’s lots of other stuff going on at Latitude besides the music. Last year my brother and I accidentally disrupted a woodland performance of Shakespeare’sThe Tempest (as opposed to, say, Jacqueline Susann’s The Tempest) when my brother loudly barked “Arsenal!” in the style of Eric Morcambe. You don’t get stuff like that at a V festival.
The comedy at Latitude is top notch, too. Stand-up standouts last year include Bill Bailey, Dylan Moran and Jeremy Hardy (I missed Stewart Lee, Dammit!). Already, this year’s comedy line-up is looking pret–ty, pret–ty good: Bill Bailey and Stewart Lee are back, along with Rich Hall (and Otis Lee Crenshaw…), Lucy Porter, Ross Noble, OmidDjalili, Dave Gorman and the mighty Mark Thomas. More significantly, though, Nicholas Parsons and his cohorts will be recording an edition of Just a Minute from the festival. As a lifelong Radio 4 junky I can think of no better hangover remedy.
Anyhow, if – like me – you’re Uncut Magazine-reading Radio 4 listener who’s into eclectic music, good comedy and inadvertent acts of theatre disruption, then I encourage – nay, urge you to get your arse to Henham Park in Suffolk between the 17th – 20th July.
My name is Tom Lennon and I'm a freelance writer who specialises in humour at the geekier end of the pop culture spectrum. I'm based in Birmingham, UK, and my work has recently appeared in BuzzFeed and Time Out.