Latitude: 10 Years of Music and Culture
Ten years are about to pass since it was founded and Latitude knows how to throw quite the birthday party. The first wave of acts released is already demonstrating a high flying guest list, suiting up with Portishead on the Saturday and skanking to your heart’s content with DJ EZ. Whatever your taste is, Latitude aims to impress this year. Stemming from my home turf in Suffolk, the Southwald-based festival looks to follow suit as always, providing that Latitude-quality style of family entertainment through their A-list comedy tent and your favourite GCSE poet, Simon Armitage. The message is clear, everyone of any taste and age is invited to the party. So what can we expect?
The Obelisk Arena (main stage) is a well-balanced and safe line up. There are acts that give the young festival crowd a rhythm to dance and the families at the back to relax and enjoy the music. We have Alt-J who have graced Latitude before, and Noel Gallagher, who seems to strike a chord with your Dad. Opinions may flare up against such a choice, festivals should be progressive and pushing the boundaries of what they can perform, but Latitude fails to disappoint. Their Radio 6 stage and dance tent aims to push new progressive music out there. The Obelisk Arena seems to be celebrating music of the previous and current generations, offering a nostalgic favourite that is the Manic Street Preachers. The smaller stages give the spotlight to acts such as Soak, who hits the festival season a year after finishing her supporting role in the CHVRCHES tour. DJ EZ, a veteran of garage who has been risen up the ranks in, brings the rave to Latitude. EZ will most likely break through the cabaret and poetry, tempting the attendees into his tent for a night to remember. Latitude with these smaller stages, offer us something different than what you usually get with your typical festival. We see more forms of the arts being placed on the same podium as current forms of music out there, with celebrations of everything that they have to offer.
What is special about Latitude is not the content specifically (though it helps of course), but the festival culture it has formed. Latitude will continue to be marketed to both the festival crowd and families. This inspires a generation of ‘festival families’ who once went to Latitude in their youth and now bringing their families back years later to show them something special. We see a pattern of nostalgic returning acts, such as Seasick Steve appearing on the main stage this year as the grandfather of the festival, and James Blake; who has been brought up from the smallest stages and appearing now on the same platform as Steve himself. This culture celebrates music whether it is old or new, supporting these acts so they can make the big time or give them a place to perform where they know the audience will love them.
This birthday invitation is a special one, for there is no greater opportunity to join or return into this culture that Latitude has created. There is the chance to celebrate the arts in all of its forms whether it is through The Vaccines or The National Youth Theatre. You can experience fresh faces that will be nurtured or even see the return of some well-praised veterans of Latitude. The Hippo Collective will no doubt see you there to celebrate this young and cultural festival that many have come to fall in love with.