Parties in the woods, trippy screens and multi-coloured sheep. Amongst the forests and lake side views, there was a real sense that ‘festival season’ had sprouted its seed and wound itself tightly on to the summer podium. A summer seemingly filled with sport hasn’t forgotten its usual alternatives and triumphs.
Best Act – Metronomy: After a lucrative year of touring, mercury prize award nominations and album success, Brighton’s fairest group have started to trickle along a distant line of festival appearances that they will be making this summer, adding to their string of ascendency. However, Latitude showcased one of their only main stage performances, and, in true fashion, they delivered a performance to remember on the friday that sparked off the feel of the whole weekend. In a sense, this years musical accolade was summed up by songs like ‘The Look’ and ‘Everything Goes My Way’, as well as Joseph Mount and co making room for older tunes such as ‘Heartbreaker’. Sublime stage presence, effortlessly majestic and suited pursuance of the festival spirit from one of the bands of the year.
Best Alternative Act – Django Django: Scotland’s answer to Hot Chip filled the I-Arena to the brim with excelling electro ambiance and a blend of confused dance music and indie pop guitar riffs. Perhaps summing their own year up, in a way, the foursome made up of David Maclean, Vincent Neff, Jimmy Dixon and Tommy Grace graced the thick foliage of Latitudes hidden stage, and fought off rivals such as Laura Marling, who were playing around the same time. Nevertheless, the packed tent witnessed a valiant display of garage electro pop and rampant dessert sounds.
Worst Act – Soko: We’ll off been there at a festival. We want to get a good place to see an act so we hang back for a little bit before making our way into their allocated stage whilst another act is play. And, of course, you’re then forced to watched whoever is on. When listening to her perform, it became blatantly obvious that she is a former model. Pretentious, badly played and utterly French ‘punk’ rock music, using the term loosely. Even her stage presence annoyed me. Jeers from the crowd like “I love you” were met with a very unconvincing French accent spawning cringing words of “I don’t know you, but I think I would love you to” or “I want you to all dance like Aliens for me, because that’s the album title”. No.
Biggest Disappointment – Alt-J: I love Alt-J’s debut album An Awesome Wave. They came out of virtually nowhere and delivered the rebirth that math rock needed, and managed to differentiate themselves from the already established math rock bands, such as Foals and Dutch Uncles. Live, however, something went wrong. Maybe it was the sound quality, the tentativeness of the band or the awkward ‘triangle’ symbol (matching the bands logo) formed by the hands of the crowd, which I’m still not sure was ironic or not. Even worse, Yeasayer were also playing at the same time. You learn fro your mistakes, I guess.
Biggest Surprise – Lianne La Havas: Having been stuck in a period of nothingness, with no acts on worth seeing, me and my companions found ourselves watching pop prodigy Lianne La Havas in the Word Arena. And, to our delight, she was lovely. She played her songs really well, charmed the crowd and even fit in a few covers of Everything Everything and Scott Matthews. It was refreshing to see a performer who was just like any other person. She arrived looking lovely, played a lovely set and even took a lovely photograph of the crowd for her first major festival stage performance. Highly recommended.
Funniest Act – Reginald D Hunter: A decade and a half after moving over to Britain, Virginias solemn comedy hero brought his American twist of ‘faggotry’ to the crisp fields of Latitude Festival. Rivaled by the musical trolling of Australian Tim Minchen and the comic rap of Doc Brown completed surprisingly varied comedy line-up, as well as springing up usual headliners and stars Jack Dee, Phil Jupitus, Infinite Monkey Cage and Rich Hall.
Best Poetry Act – Tim Key/John Cooper Clark: I love a good cynic who can scribble a sentence or two, and Tim Key was just the ticket for those who share my passion. The simple mix of angry comedy and cleverly short, ironic poems have helped propel Tim Key to the heights of radio stardom. Sadly, the award for best poetry act is a shared one for Tim Key, only due to the surprising late appearance of Mancunian poet legend John Cooper Clark. Evidently Chicken Town.
Best Night Event – ‘Trippy Screen’: Overall, the vast amount of DJ sets and club nights that glittered the Latitude site at night brought up many fond memories and tastes in music to be enjoyed by everyone and anyone. Reggae, dance, mixes etc were all very much appreciated. Having said that, each venue, I-Arena, Lake Stage, Disco Shed etc were all beaten by the one alternative and exclusive show. The Screen In The Woods, or ‘Trippy Screen’, as we dubbed it, offered lasers, visual tripster ecstasy and odd music. Everything you need at a festival.
Cutest Site Characteristic – Coloured Sheep: Even when walking through the Latitude grounds, there is always something to look at. Projected images on a fountain, fairies in the woods etc. However, it was the sweet innocence and serenity of the multi-coloured sheep. Pink, red, blue, green and yellow sheep flocked the closed off pathways of the site, and really summed up the hippyish sector that Latitude offers the festival season.