'Complaining about Latitude being middle class is a bit like moaning about Benicassim being baking hot'
Latitude – hardly the most proletarian of festivals, especially when you move away from the music and stroll through the arts programme that runs simultaneously in Henham Park. I mean: is there anything more bourgeois than watching ballet dancers pirouette elegantly through Swan Lake as happened at the Waterfront Stage last year? One thing’s for certain – you wouldn’t get that at Reading and Leeds.
Complaining about Latitude being middle class is a bit like moaning about Benicassim being baking hot. It is what it is and has always been that way. The first time Festival Republic opened the gates in Suffolk way back in 2006 the line up included Snow Patrol, Jose Gonzalez and Antony and the Johnsons, none of whom are very likely to be seen strutting round a council estate dressed head to toe in a garish Adidas shell suit.
This year’s line up, announced on Monday evening, follows the same pattern of the previous six years – pleasant, safe and nothing too out of the ordinary. But even so, there are still plenty of acts (musical or otherwise) on that initial list who can thrill in or out of a leafy countryside setting.
Just seeing Bright Eyes will be a treat in itself, without taking into account the hypnotising stage presence of Glasser or the joyous celebration that is Edwyn Collins’ live set these days. British Sea Power won’t have to bring their forestry props with them because they’ll already be provided by nature and it’d surely be pure magic to see Villagers performing in the woods on a hazy, sunny Sunday.
Away from the music, sitting in a tent listening to spoken word and poetry might seem boring on paper or just way too nice but, in reality, it might be just what is needed after witnessing The National’s Matt Berninger doing his exhausting-to-watch race through the crowd several times in one set. Equally, Sadler’s Wells English National Ballet does read like the single most 19th century upper class activity ever to be put on at a festival but, after spending three days on your feet and sleeping with barely anything between your back and the hard earth, it could be a relaxing treat and way more preferable than standing in a sweaty tent watching a band you don’t much care for.
Having a cabaret arena might be the thing to tip you over the edge into full on class hatred but think of it this way – we’ve got other festivals for the rock and roll craziness. Why can’t we have a weekend away from the riots, fancy dress and mephedrone snorting and do something a bit different? And anyway, if all the pleasantries get too much at least The Vaccines will be there, keeping it real with their faux slum-rock.