24 July 2008


So, every year (well for the last three years) I have gone 25 miles down the coast from where I live to a music festival called Latitude. Some background here- though Latitude is quite new, only three years old (why, yes, I have been to all of them), it's run by Festival Republic, who run Glastonbury, and the Reading and Leeds festivals. The big guys basically. Latitude is their attempt to have a different sort of festival in the UK- not just about the bands, but also about literature, theatre, comedy, dance and cabaret. There is even an area dedicated just to live poetry. And it's mostly successful in that aim- I know lots of people who go who barely see a band all weekend.

Not me though. You'll need to google and see if you can find their blogs. I mainly just go for the joy of being in the great outdoors, drinking cider and deafened by guitar bands. Though I did see the Sadler's Wells dance company perform next to a lake which was fairly awesome, and see performances by WordTheatre (http://www.wordtheatre.com/events/index.php) which included seeing Richard Ayoade in the flesh. I mention this only to bring it to Cat's attention once again. Also Wordtheatre had some guy from CSI doing readings in a field in Suffolk, which then confused me when I saw them wandering in said fields (and then two days later, they were spotted on a boat off Ibiza with James Blunt and a load of models. Never let it be said that celebrity's lives are like ours.)

This year, my Latitude joy was tempered somewhat for a few reasons-
1. It was cold. Very cold. I was wearing legwarmers in the middle of fucking July, people. That's just not right even for the UK.

2. There was no band that I love and was desperately excited to see. Lots that I liked and looked forward too, but for the last two years they've had a band that I've been goofily excited to see- Snow Patrol the first year, and the Arcade Fire last one.

3. There were so many people there (25,000). The size of the festival has doubled since it started two years ago. I can't see how they can make it any bigger without expanding the main arena somehow. They had a much larger comedy tent, and it still was totally overflowing all weekend. The queues were better than last year though.

That out of the way, I did have a lovely time overall.

The first band I saw were one of the best- The Joy Formidable: http://www.myspace.com/thejoyformidable . Really good, girl fronted buzz pop.
I also loved Noah and the Whale, who are charming folk-pop, was pleasantly surprised by Foals, after failing on a couple of occasions to see them last year, and really liked Franz Ferdinand's new songs (though Afrobeat, my ass. They sound like Girls Aloud. And there is no higher compliment).

Joanna Newson was charming, and totally lovely, as were The Breeders in a very different way. Blondie were ace on the Sunday night, and confusingly in a tent rather than the main stage. They do sound somewhat like the best Blondie cover band ever, but who cares when you are dancing. Grinderman were less scary than expected, and Sigur Ros were the magic pixies of my best hope. Elbow bored me overall, as did Death Cab for Cutie (and I was looking forward to them). Campfires are ace. Beth Orton's slightly dippy performance made us suspect that this was her first trip out since having her baby.

And then I ran away from the site during Interpol's headling set on Sunday night (I know this makes me a rampant heathen with no taste, but any time I hear them, I kinda wish that Editors were playing instead), got totally soaked by a sudden downpour and made it home by midnight . Hurrahz for festivals (which are just down the road from me)! Sign me up for next year.

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