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Latitude 2015

As the curtain closes on this year’s long awaited Latitude Festival, deep set in the woods of Henham Park, Southwold, we reflect on one of our favourite festivals… no further than 5 miles from Bounce Headquarters!

Bounce Magazine were delighted to be invited back to this years 10th anniversary of the Latitude Festival to check out some of the biggest names in music, poetry, comedy and arts.

‘What sets this beautiful Suffolk-based festival apart from the others is the magical location.

Travelling through picturesque countryside and fairytale woods, we arrive to the sight of bright pink sheep.

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After setting up camp we were eager to get into the festival spirit and ventured off deeper into the woods to join our friends.

Of course little did we know the rumour circulating between our local contacts is that local 24-year-old superstar Ed Sheeran, from Framlingham, would be playing a surprise set for fans on the Friday evening.

After his latest album X accumulated more than 860 million streams on Spotify in 2014, Ed Sheeran became the most streamed artist in the world.

With speculation growing about Sheeran’s surprise set, we cast our excitement aside.

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As it grew dark and we journeyed further into the Latitude grounds, suddenly unexpected fireworks were launched into the sky from the Obliesk arena dazzling festivalgoer’s from all around, a wonderful way to celebrate the start of this 10th anniversary.

As we moved into Friday we were ready to welcome a huge line up of great performances including Django Django’s astral electronica, Wild Beasts and one of my favourite acts of the day Santigold.

The performer also known as Santi White, was a real crown pleaser, having tied a giant orange bow around her head, dressed in a matching blue checked sweater and sweatpants with a Martin Parr egg-on-toast illustration, it was clear that this wasn’t just any old performance.

 

Throwing out a rendition of ‘Creator’ she invites around fifty fans up on stage to dance with her and it’s hard not to be drawn into the surreal wonder that she offers up.

This fun, sassy and larger than life character owned the stage, captivated the crowd and had us all dancing along with her.

Then she pulls out one final stop and offers out donuts and cream cakes (as you do,) to the crowd.

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I am thrilled to say that our good friend JC, in perfectly timed fashion, extended out his hand only to catch a chocolate donut! We were all amazed that he managed to catch it from such a distance, though apparently it wasn’t his first time!

As dusk hit the time drew near to see one of my most loved bands, Alt-J, one of the most musically gifted acts around.

Blasting out hits such as ‘Every Other Freckle’, ‘Tessellate’ and ‘Taro’ their lovely sonic textures weaved through my ears.

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After an amazing set they returned for an encore, the band opened with their cover of Bill Withers’ ‘Lovely Day’ before recreating the central mood-pieces, finishing with the crowd-pleasing ‘Breezeblocks,’ which inspired the “arms in the air” moment that the audience took great enjoyment in.

As Alt-J came to an end I didn’t think anything else that night could top this… but I was wrong… it was actually happening… in the woods… he was playing! As word spread throughout, followed by a concise tweet by Mr Sheeran himself, saying “iArena, 11pm Latitude,” a rush of fans made their way to the venue.

After fighting our way through the growing crowds, Sheeran took to the iArena stage with a fun and relaxed approach.

A low-key but mind blowing performance was taking place just a week after playing three sold-out solo shows at Wembley Stadium.

He wowed crowds with his familiar hits, plus covers including 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club’ and Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy.’He also smashes out Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’, Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ and ‘I Was Made to Love Her’, Bill Withers’s ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and Elvis’s ‘I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.’

Sheeran follows in the footsteps of Rudimental and Lily Allen who have both performed unannounced at the festival, but this was not his first time having played Latitude at the start of his career.

Speaking of local talent, you may remember in the last edition we featured local band Cove Hithe.

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Latitude has always done well in uncovering and supporting local Suffolk bands destined for the big.

On the Saturday Bounce popped along to the Alcove Stage, which was fit to burst with a crowd so keen to see the group it was spilling out of the sides of the tent.

As Cove Hithe start their set, they immediately charm us with their haunting vocals, throwing in hints of country, soul, folk, blues and even an Irish jig at the end of the track ‘The Stone That is Your Heart.’

Frontman Jay Ducker, alongside fellow band members Matilda Pendred, Rory Duckett and guest bassist Wilf Berry, gave the performance of a lifetime.

By the time the last notes of the group’s final number, “Somewhere I Don’t Belong” have faded, the audience are on their feet for a well-deserved standing ovation, wanting more!

Although this was Cove Hithe’s first Latitude performance, who knows, maybe they will follow in the footsteps of Ed Sheeran? Time will tell.

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As temperatures soared to 24 degrees on its second day, Latitude came into its own. A new feature to this year’s Latitude was the opportunity to swim in Henham’s Lake. By 10am on Saturday, the queue to swim was dozens deep. After all who wouldn’t want to enjoy this setting of shimmering creeks and glorious scenery set within a music festival?

Over on the 6Music stage, Saturday’s performers are a little more austere, whilst on the main stage someone who could have done with a cooldown in the lake, was Badly Drawn Boy. His performance of the 2000 album ‘The Hour of the Bewilderbeast’ sounded glorious until it’s sweetness is sabotaged by his protesting about his “5k” festival fee.

“I deserve more,” he tells the bemused crowd as they recline on their picnic blankets. “I’m one of the best artists of the last 20 years”. Nobody likes a big head Damon!

Saturday continued with the talented James Blake, whose soulful voice took over the main stage, “It’s really nice to be with you as the sun goes down. It’s always my favourite time to play,” smiles Blake.

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Charming the crowd not only with his music but with his friendly charm.

He starts with the electronica samples of ‘CMYK’ before turning to his more melodic repertoire. Never in question is the crowd’s enjoyment including ours as we sway to ‘Retrograde’.

Leading on from Blake, comes Portishead with a stark and chilling headline set. I can’t help but think that the sombre line up leaves a rather depressive mood in the air.

None the less, ‘Machine Gun’ hammers its way across the park, the stage is overtaken by two monster-sized images of David Cameron with lasers instead of eyes. You can’t help but wonder if there’s a more cheerful way to celebrate a birthday than a stark reminder of austerity Britain.

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Beth Gibbons’s voice was ghostly and rich. At the end, after she’d crowd-surfed, she admitted how nervous she’d been. You couldn’t tell.
Another surprise act to this year’s Latitude is the appearance of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. ‘The Rip’, provides Yorke with a vocal warm-up before his secret show at the iArena later that evening.

Unlike Sheeran, people pleasing is not high on the agenda. Yorke and his producer, Nigel Godrich mostly play out minimal electronics rather than ‘Creep’, the mood is a little tetchy among the late-night crowd, and reports of the performance appear fairly negative. Despite all It was a grand end to a day of temperatures, tantrums and trip-hop.

Sunday’s lineup of Seasick Steve, Manic Street Preachers and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds an enticing end for the many beleaguered parents in attendance.

With the Welsh flag displayed proudly behind them, Manic Street Preachers power through a set that proves entirely timeless.

The set opens with the much-loved ‘If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next.’ As the fans sing along open hearted, Manic Street Preachers are heralded as heroes.

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The soundtrackers of a generation sound as good as they ever have, and their crowd is every bit as devoted.

Then we come to the last headline act of Latitude 2015. It can be difficult going solo but not so with Noel Gallagher.

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With his second solo release becoming the fastest-selling album of the year following rave reviews, it’s clear that not only is the fans’ appetite still there, but he more than has the chops to deliver.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds brought Latitude Festival to a happy close; with a set mixing Gallagher’s solo material with Oasis tracks. Three songs in, Gallagher surveyed the middle-class crowd. Away from the new album, one highlight was the rousing rendition of ‘Champagne Supernova.’ In absence of the younger brother, Noel’s vocals gave it a new feel, but one no less impactful.

 

As the festival comes to an end what Latitude continues to master is an unchallenging offering of the arts’ most excellent; a refined selection of music, comedy and literature.

Most importantly, it succeeds in appeasing both its core high-school audience and the middle-aged ‘Pimm’s’ consumers.

A decade ago, Latitude set out to create “the UK’s first multi-arts boutique festival” I think that everyone can join me on congratulating Latitude on a mission that has been fulfilled.

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This year’s Latitude was as enjoyable as it ever has been and we cannot wait to see what the organisers have up their sleeves for 2016. Until next next year over and out’.

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