C/T Review: Latitude 2014

Festivals / Live / Words

24 Jul 14

Latitude isn’t a festival that needs a theme to get by. It doesn’t need a big never-before-seen headliner (although it did have one of those), fancy dress or silent discos. (Although it also had one of those). No, Latitude rakes punters in on the sheer merit of stuff they have, year-on-year. It’s “Not just a music festival”, they say. Which is the fest’s everlasting theme, if there is one.

Image © River Stas, @DanceYrslfKlean

The beautifully sculpted Henham Park in Suffolk merges poetry into lit, and lit culture into mosh pit culture, then there’s theatre and film too. It means that an exhausting trail of bands needn’t be the only method to your festival madness: catch a show, or some world-class cabaret. With its one-size-fits-all outlook it’s hard to feel alienated by the scale of options, even if much on the bill is unknown to you. The sense of togetherness is not beaten by any other festival.

Image © River Stas, @DanceYrslfKlean

That’s why Latitude has one of the widest age ranges in attendance, from families with children to groups of just-about-teens on their first trip away, to an abundance of over-70s with camping chairs under arm. Then there’s the hooray Henry’s up from London for the weekend. I mean, we are at Latitude…


Lily Allen‘s stepping in for Two Door Cinema Club was an astounding piece of showmanship, and a devoted effort from a 29-year-old quitter who should have been on holiday with her family. Okay, so dad Keith Allen was performing over the weekend, so it’s hardly like she was stranded at sea, but we admire her effort for turning up and rescheduling her dastardly Gatwick flight.

Opening with ‘Smile’ and ‘LDN’ was a bold move, but one that left most of us wandering just how many more tricks Allen could have up her sleeve. Turns out there’s more wedged up her canon than you’d think. Working her way through a huge back catalogue that for a few years we’d forgotten, Allen sat naturally on stage in her first headlining slot. The real spectacle was watching groups of fifty pluses waving their middle fingers at the Obelisk Arena and gleefully screaming “Fuck you, Fuck you very very muuuuuuuch” whilst wearing smiles. It would be crude if she wasn’t so adorable.

Of a similarly powerful but less British persuasion was Lykke Li, the Swedish starlet and pop icon who could go for miles and miles in a tent like BBC 6 music’s. Soaring through a hits-heavy set and lilting about the stage like she was blowing in the wind, Lykke and her band were quiet champions of Sunday’s headlining slot, and she, the reigning queen of sultry choral pop.

Image © River Stas, @DanceYrslfKlean

Unassuming singer-songwriter and star of rising stars George Ezra proved his afternoon slot wrong also on Sunday, as teenage girls countrywide battled to fit into one of the hugest tents ever in existence. In or out, the gig carried on as Ezra hauntingly steered us lot into a trance with his sung narrations of gap-yah-like travels and girls he fancies. C/T have been fans since “before he was a thing”, and certainly before he played with full live bands with electronic drum kits. Although more guitars invariably added thwack and brooding menace, Ezra is truly a one-man-band, and has the projection of a group from his one person. Lose the band -but otherwise great stuff.

Image © River Stas, @DanceYrslfKlean

Our final musical shout outs go to brawly indie pop outfit Catfish and the Bottlemen, who – with their noisy guitar thrusts – engaged a crowd so huge it almost steered the Lake Stage into the lake. And finally, to C/T fave Tom Vek, whose edgy, metallic sonics played up to the singer’s less-than edgy comb-over and chino get up. Sometimes guitar heavy, sometimes club heavy, Vek’s three albums are tied by his surreal lyrical rapping, which in person is every bit as bad-ass as it is on record. If you’d buy his LP, you’d buy his show.

Check back for in-depth theatre coverage from Latitude, and plenty of interviews with the stars of Latitude on our Youtube channel