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Latitude is seen by many as the 'Middle Class Festival' and with a range of entertainment from poetry and ballet to modern theatre its not too surprising why. Set in the peaceful Suffolk countryside with nothing for miles around, what better way to spend a relaxed weekend escaping from the daily grind.
Arriving on Friday having heard about the dreaded festival 'r' word and its sister, mud, the night before, I was pleasantly surprised by how good the site looked. Without much care it was good to get straight into things having no trouble waiting for anything. A pop-up tent, no need for wellies and a satisfied grin thinking how much time could be wasted fiddling with tent-poles. Cutting straight across the site I wanted to start the day with Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan. Their deep brooding songs of love and pain were slightly lost against the hazy afternoon sunshine on the main stage but still sounded decent enough to keep the attention. Feeling slightly lazy and perhaps slightly intrigued by what KT Tunstall had been up to for the last few years since her debut pushed her into the limelight. Rocking out a little more than I remembered, she genuinely looked as if she was enjoying herself on stage. Losing the studio precision added more character to her songs and showed in her performance.
Feeling like a bit of a change I headed over to catch a bit of Deerhunter and was reminded of how awkwardly their loosely based improvised songs come across live especially to an audience that doesn't know them well. Caribou followed and instantly got people dancing. The well crafted beats and precise show never fail to impress. As one of the very few acts that break away from the indie rock line-up on the two main stages it was hardly surprising that everyone watching was impressed if only for a change of pace to the music. Finishing with 'Sun', it seemed to be the last time the word could be mentioned over the weekend.
Having missed Paloma Faith a few times at festivals it seemed about time to check her out and see whether her live show lived up to her eccentric dress sense. Though not really to my taste it was entertaining and her honest approach was refreshing. A great voice and a decent person, I just feel sorry for the poor bird that was plucked to make her head-dress!
A bit of a stroll around the site revealed how much was on offer. 4 stages, a poetry tent, a literature tent, cabaret, film, outdoor theatre, indoor theatre, stage on a lake, kids area, bigger kids area and something in the woods faraway which I never made it to. I hope it wasn't too exciting! The food on offer was the usual bunch of festival merchants but with a nice organic / tasty corner. Settling for a staple of chips with cheese AND gravy, it was time to see The National.
Not really knowing much about them, apart from being recommended by many people I know, I thought it would be good to see a band on their first major headline festival show. Sadly, it didn't take long to decide that it wasn't my cuppa tea so made a getaway to go and see Bombay Bicycle Club. Full of energy, these indie hopefuls have proved that guitar pop hasnt died. Catchy melodies and passion get these North London guys lots of love from the enthusiastic audience. Hits 'Shuffle' and 'Always Like This' get the most love and they even manage to squeeze in an unexpected encore.
Not really in the mood for a dance, the wide variety of entertainment on offer really gives you an opportunity to try new things. A brief venture into the cabaret tent proved confusing due to joining a performance half way through. Despite not having any idea what was going on, it was still fun to watch as the actors moved around the crowd across tables doing a strange variety of songs including a brief bit of Kylie. Following this up in the Outdoor Theatre, another even more bizarre performance seemed to repeat itself in a 'Run Lola Run' way but without the excitement. A little lost for words it seemed like a good time to crawl into a tent and fall asleep.