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On Saturday we looked out onto a darker greyer day and wondered what the effect of heavy downpours would have on the already sodden ground. For the first few hours this was only a threat and we managed to bumble around site and take in some areas we hadn't explored. It started with us watching the last couple of songs by Evi Vine on the In The Woods Stage. From what we heard they were really good and the female lead singer had a distinctive look and sound. It is definitely one band we said wanted to look up online when we got home.
The wooded area of the festival spans from the iArena to the other end of site to the Inbetweeners teen area and has a totally different feel to it than the rest of the site across the lake. In looks it is similar to being in Center Parcs but with more music and less bikes but probably about the same amount of Hunter wellies. Walking along through the woods there was plenty to see including sculptures and large paintings to look at or chill near. Further along there was a Greenpeace area that had climbing nets and zip wires to keep the older kids (and some adults) happy. The next area included a few stalls and activities organised by the Suffolkrecycling.org.uk. These included pond dipping and making items out of recycled goods. My younger daughter really enjoyed this area and I played the perfect father by grabbing a quick pint while my wife helped her make a headband out of someones old blouse. After hiring another cup and buying a pint of lager I noticed that they had changed the deposit system overnight and you could now hand your cup in to the person you were ordering from rather than going to a separate area for a refund. This showed me that the organisers weren't afraid to react and change things when they weren't working.
After our explore we headed up to the Obelisk arena where we caught the end of Irish singer songwriter Mick Flannery. He had a good voice which went down well with an early mid afternoon crowd. We stayed at the main stage to catch Baxter Dury, an indie musician who is the son of the late Ian Dury. Dury, who seems heavily influenced by his father, was excellent and each song seemed to draw you in further. By the end of the set we were all fans with big smiles on our faces which were helped by one comment near us from someone who said "wasn't it a coincidence that Baxter Dury's voice sounded a lot like Ian Dury's." Next on the Obelisk stage was young English soul singer Michael Kiwanuka. He has a brilliant voice which would have been fantastic to listen to on a lovely sunny day. Unfortunately nobody told the English summer this and the rain started to come down quite heavily. Over the next few hours it didn't ease up but this didn't dampen the crowds spirits.
After grabbing a bite to eat we walked along to the Cabaret area and caught an outdoor show. There was a large crowd there already and we joined the back. Unfortunately we couldn't find out what they were called, but there were three male musicians and two female performers with a story line that involved one woman trying to get a yellow balloon off the other. I can't do it justice trying to describe it but it included clever songs and humour which I'm sure will go down well at the Edinburgh Fringe festival.
After this unexpected diversion we quickly walked back across the site to catch Laura Marling on the main stage. Marling was going down well with her quiet indie folk sound up until SBTRKT came on in the The Word Arena. Suddenly the booming beat of SBTRKT was over-powering with such a melodic artist.
It did spoil what she called her last gig for a while and we wondered if this was a usual occurrence as the stages are quite close to each other. The night closed with a packed field watching festival favourites Elbow. Their set was really good but I felt if Guy Garvey had stopped trying to rhyme everything with Latitude after every song they may have fitted in a few more numbers. Elbow finished with a fireworks display which seemed to say 'we've made it big now'. Maybe they'll be passing out light up wristbands next time.