Sunday at Latitude, the 'festival for geeks'

Latitude 2010 review

published: Wed 21st Jul 2010

around the festival site (01)

Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th July 2010
Henham Park Estate, Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 8AN, England MAP
weekend adult ticket £155, day tickets £65, children aged 12 or under free - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 25000
last updated: Fri 16th Jul 2010

It takes a day or two to mentally adjust to being at a festival. Yesterday morning when I woke to find loads of ants in the tent, I spent ages chasing and evicting them one by one - while today I'm happy to let them run around.

around the festival site (01)
This morning I'm spending a bit of time in the Comedy arena. First on the programme is Marcus Brigstocke's Early Edition show. Brigstocke and Andre Vincent with guests Carrie Quinlan, Rufus Hound, and Phill Jupitus run through stories in the Sunday papers and supplements. The topics covered are as diverse as marmite, God makes people thin, and Rod Liddle (who apparently has a long-standing feud with Brigstocke), the sexiness (or otherwise!) of Liam Gallagher and a hilarious interview with Jedward. The highlight is Jupitus kissing Brigstocke on the mouth as he's just eaten his coveted sachet of marmite and Jupitus doesn't want to miss out on the yeasty goodness.

Next on are the runner up and winner of the Latitude New Act 2010. Six nominees had performed short sets yesterday in front of a panel of judges. The runner up, Ivo Graham, uses observational humour and topics include his time at boarding school and the festival – the audience are in agreement with his comment on Florence + The Machine "promising new acts hopelessly overstretched". The winner, Eric Lambert, is more dynamic and his humour more surreal, he moves around the stage a lot performing mimes to illustrate his jokes and stories, and improvises much of the material, using his knowledge of French for comedic effect too. Lambert suggests that Latitude is a festival for geeks which leads in to jokes about superheroes, Xbox war games and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

There's a massive queue for the Film & Music venue and I just manage to squeeze in for Adam Buxton's BUG. This is a new concept to me but has been running for a few years as a bi-monthly event at the British Film Institute in London and went to a several festivals last summer. It's essentially a showcase for music videos, presented by Buxton who's described in the programme as a "brilliant comic, writer, video director and general music video enthusiast". He's also a brilliant 6 Music DJ (he tells us today that his and Joe Cornish's show will return in the autumn). We're treated to Buxton's 'Festival Song', then he runs through the videos – from interesting and innovative like '70 Million' by Hold Your Horses and Cyriak's 'Cycles' to amusing like 'I Feel Better' by Hot Chip, which was directed by Peter Serafinowicz, and clever animation like 'Pixels' by Patrick Jean, the video for Radiohead's 'Weird Fishes' by Tobias Stretch, as well as the video for Grizzly Bear's 'Ready Able' by Allison Schulnik. He shows us the internet sensation of 'Yosemite Bear Mountain Giant Double Rainbow', which is hilarious and reads out some classic YouTube comments from the various videos. The session finishes with us jubilantly congratulating ourselves on saving 6 Music!

Steve Mason, formerly of The Beta Band is also performing in the Film & Music venue this afternoon. He sings a few of his songs on acoustic guitar and then presents a film about the miners' strike of '84 - '85. It's an analysis of whether the police were "just doing their job" and features archive footage and original interviews with striking miners and their families. It's probably not the most fun diversion at Latitude but is an enlightening insight in to the difference between what actually happened and the way it was reported in the media. Mason follows the film with a chat about civil liberties being eroded in the current political climate. I think he's preaching to the converted, to people who already have a healthy cynicism about government and the media but it's a worthy message. He plays The Beta Band's 'Dr Baker' and is playing 'Borderline' by Madonna when I rush off to try and catch a bit of Hair the Musical at the Waterfront Stage. Sadly it's already finished – it turned out to be only a 20-minute excerpt, and was the first time a West End show had been brought to the festival.

Kristin Hersh, best known for her work in Throwing Muses, is playing solo in the Word venue to a good-sized crowd. She looks petite and wild, and sings along to grunge-style guitar in vocals ranging from crystal tones to a low growl. Hersh finishes her set with the powerful 'Your Ghost' from her '94 debut solo album.

On the way back to the campsite to pack up, I catch some of the performance at the Waterfront Stage of Drywrite:Dance: Radio. This is a series of four radio plays based on a piece of choreography. Dancers perform the choreography four times whilst actors read the plays. The two plays, which I hear, are quite poignant and both are about missed opportunities in love. The last one from the point of view of an old chap with Parkinson's looking back on life and a girl he fancied at school, now an old lady herself visits him – by this time he's unable to communicate with her.

It's been a good festival but Latitude is still in its infancy and needs a bit of fine-tuning. These are the questions I ponder on the way home: why was the shuttle bus journey to the gate on arrival the longest leg of the journey? Why is there only one bus back to Ipswich station on the Sunday evening when the plan is to encourage people to use public transport? Why are there no hooks on the back of any of the toilet doors? (which means ladies have to balance rucksacks and bags whilst trying not to make contact with the toilet.) Why did the stewards at the theatre tent insist on filling up the side seats first so that people who'd queued for the longest time got the worst seats in the house? Why were there queues to access the site each morning? And more profound questions like why was Duke Special scheduled for Friday so that nothing in the rest of the weekend's programme would match up to that? (that's just me wondering that, right?) How did I manage to miss Emo Phillips, Russell Kane and Mark Thomas? why did Ben & Jerry's sell out of cookie dough ice cream by Saturday? And how do ants get in to a sealed tent anyhow??

around the festival site (01)
review by: Helen OSullivan

photos by: Claire Lacey

Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th July 2010
Henham Park Estate, Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 8AN, England MAP
weekend adult ticket £155, day tickets £65, children aged 12 or under free - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 25000
last updated: Fri 16th Jul 2010


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