The big one: Latitude Festival

The sitting prey of the clued-up culture vulture...

The big one: Latitude Festival

Kai Jones on 18 July 2008

What Is It?

Set in an idyllic park on the Suffolk coast, Latitude is more akin to great European festivals, like Lowlands, than the generic music-saturated UK events. From Franz Ferdinand to thecocknbullkid, established bands and exciting emerging artists are both in full supply. But festival-goers can also immerse themselves in art, comedy, literature, poetry, theatre, dance, sculpture, film and performance art. The opportunity of seeing Michael Nyman straight after Crystal Castles is worth the entry price alone. And there's even a BBC Radio 4 arena!

When And Where?

The four day event runs from 17-20 July and is set in Henham Park, Southwold, in Suffolk. It may be the only festival where you can follow The Breeders with a swim in a beautiful lake and before getting lost in an enchanted wood.

Five To Watch

Glasvegas - (Obelisk Arena, Sunday)
It's been a while since a band so captivating, raw and exciting came along. Tunes that conjure up 1960s West Coast magic, 50s rockabilly and Smiths-style wonder, all delivered with a strong Scottish brogue. They're playing an early slot this time, but don't be surprised if they're headlining next year.

Mark Thomas - (Literary Arena, Day TBC)
As compelling, edgy and raw as any of the music you'll find on offer, Mark Thomas delights in exposing hypocrisy and wrong-doings in high places, via subversive comedy and investigative journalism. The only thing that will stop your gut-aching laughter will be the shock that what he's telling you is true. Don't miss him.

Sigur Ros - (Obelisk Arena, Saturday)
If the thought of the sun dipping behind the hills as their stirring echoes flutter across the sky doesn’t give you Icelandic goosebumps maybe you shouldn’t be there at all.

Elbow - (Obelisk Arena, Saturday)
Elbow are on fire at the moment, touring 'The Seldom Seen Kid' – their finest album to date – and notching a fine 'Glastonbury Moment' under their belts a few weeks ago. The perfect warm-up for Sigur Ros's ethereal majesty, Elbow could easily suck away some of their Icelandic thunder.

Sebastian Tellier - (Uncut Arena, Saturday)
Fresh from representing France at Eurovision, Sebastian Tellier's sexual crooning and synthesiser-obsessed pop is an ideal supplement to the idyllic bliss of the surroundings.

One To Miss

Foals - (Obelisk Arena, Sunday)
The angular, diluted maths rock is beginning to grate as much as Yannis's uninspired stare and Phil Oakley haircut.

Playing A Rare Festival Date

The Royal Shakespeare Company - (Most days, Theatre Arena) - Grab a pint of cider whilst brushing up on the Bard in the form of the RSC's five minute epics. You don't get Hamlet at Download do you?

Inside Tip

Truckers of Husk - (Thursday, Lake Stage)
Curated by Huw Stephens, Radio 1's  passionate and enthusiastic champion of new music, the Lake Stage features an exciting bill of undiscovered greatness. Ecstatic, intricate, post-rock instrumentalism with a Battles-twist, Truckers of Husk are incredible to watch, and just as beautiful to hear.
 
Worst Clash

It could be the only time this summer where you find yourself deliberating between 'Just a Minute' at the BBC Radio 4 arena and Midnight Juggernauts at the Sunrise Arena. Sunday night's Interpol versus Tindersticks dilemma will have melancholy-seeking festival goers tearing their hair out.

Be At Latitude If You Like…

Chilling by a lake after watching the ethereal sounds of Joanna Newsom (she's playing an exclusive midday performance). If you're as equally in awe with Simon Armitage as you are with Alice Glass. Knowing that your old, worn copy of Germaine Greer's 'The Female Eunuch' is as essential to your survival as wet wipes and a bottle of vodka.

Avoid If You Like…

Filling bottles with your own urine and chucking them at Panic at the Disco. Hilariously shouting "bollocks" at 4am from your tent. Grazing like sheep on the indie press and ignoring all the great art that lies beyond the new Enemy record. Don't worry, Reading's round the corner.

Festival Tactics

Devour the programme as soon as you get in and make sure you carve up your day between the music and the art. It's your chance to be taken in as much by the compelling musings of Jon Ronson and Omid Djalili as the pussy-blues of Grinderman. Read, explore and then make friends in the enchanted wood.

Fashionista Or Folky?

Neither. Instead, bookish-types carrying Dave Eggers novels whilst debating the quality of Murder By Death will be the flavour of the day. Expect to bump into Andrew Marr, rather than Peaches Geldof.

Alcohol Of Choice

If the weather's amazing a nice gin and tonic will go down well after Joanna Newsom.

Take Your Mum Score

7/10. If your mum brought you up on Plath and Pinter she'll love it. Julian Cope should keep her happy as well.

Can I still get tickets?

No. Part of the attraction of Latitude is its small capacity so tickets went fast.

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