Sunday is a damp, mud-splattered ending to Latitude but spirits are high

Latitude 2011 Review

published: Thu 21st Jul 2011

around the festival site (2)

Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th July 2011
Henham Park Estate, Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 8AN, England MAP
£170 weekend adult ticket, day tickets £70
daily capacity: 35000
last updated: Thu 7th Jul 2011

The morning starts with some sunshine and respite from the rain, which lasts until lunchtime.

around the festival site (Sunday)
The Comedy venue is first destination for the Early Edition (News With Attitude) hosted by Marcus Brigstocke, and Andre Vincent, similar to the 'Late Edition' on Radio 4. They have special guests, Carrie Quinlan and Mark Billingham, to help dissect today’s papers – as you'd expect, not an in-depth analysis but poking fun at all the 'news' stories. They lament the passing of News of the World and reckon they've lost 15 minutes of material from the show. Robin Ince also puts in an appearance. The show is laugh-out-loud funny and entertaining but there's one serious moment when a member of the audience questions Latitude's choice of media sponsor in the Sunday Times, which is owned by the controversial News International. The panel don't have an answer for that but I guess it's something that organisers might review over the next year.

Scala
Over in the Obelisk arena, the prestigious Sunday midday slot (last year was Tom Jones and the previous year Thom Yorke) is being held by Scala & Kolacny Bros.. Hailing from Belgium, Scala is an all-female 26-piece choir, all dressed in black; Stijn Kolacny conducts them and his brother Steven is on piano. They're apparently known for their ethereal version of Radiohead's 'Creep' which was used in the trailer for the film 'The Social Network' – they perform it today with just piano accompaniment, as well as Prince's 'When Doves Cry'. There is band accompaniment on some of the other numbers including 'Black Horse & the Cherry Tree' and 'Solsbury Hill'. They perform a sorrowful rendering of U2's 'With or Without You' and finish the set with the upbeat Stereophonics' song 'Have a Nice Day'.

around the festival site (2)
The Theatre tent has two consecutive plays by Clean Break – they produce plays about women, crime and justice and also provide education and training for female offenders. I pop in for the first play entitled 'Fatal Light', which features four characters, one played by an excellent child actor. The story centres on two women, each coping with separation from their daughter – Jane is ill and estranged from her mother and then separated from her own daughter when she's imprisoned. The play starts with a police officer informing Jane's mother of her daughter's death, the ultimate separation. It's an emotional and disturbing snapshot of mental health issues, prison and relationships.

around the festival site (Sunday)
Walking back through the Faraway Forest, I stop to listen to a three piece band busking under the trees and recognise the vocalist as one of the actors in yesterday's 'Hot Mess'. Unfortunately their set is cut short as the rain starts absolutely pelting down and there's no shelter even under the trees.

around the festival site (Sunday)
The weather doesn't hinder Dance East over in Pandora's Playground as they have a covered dance-floor which has proved popular over the weekend and currently people of all ages are joining in their Zumba workshop. They've also held belly dancing, street dance and Glee-inspired workshops.

I really wanted to see Sadler's Wells' 'Fela!' based on Nigerian musician Fela Kuti's life, but it's scheduled for the Waterfront Stage which has become rather waterlogged. Lots of punters, including myself, wait patiently for ages sheltering under umbrellas and the nearby trees and the stage technicians valiantly carry on brushing the water from the stage. After a while they're given musical accompaniment for this task which perks the crowd up a bit but I have to give in as there's a tent needing to be packed up. Thankfully I can hear The Waterboys' set loud and clear in the campsite throughout.

around the festival site (2)
Waiting for the minibus to shuttle us to the main gate, we watch cars attempting to drive through the muddy exits and try and predict which ones will get stuck and need a push. It's a bit of a damp, mud-splattered ending to the festival weekend but spirits still seem to be quite high and the actual site has coped well with the weather - bark chippings have helped in the worst effected areas so that, if you have a decent pair of wellies or friends to help with wheelchairs and pushchairs, negotiating your way around is manageable.

This year, human traffic flow around the festival has been much better, litter picking carried out regularly and the toilets have improved. The programme across all the genres was superb and the Latitude site for its natural beauty, embellished with artistic flourishes, is unsurpassed.
review by: Helen OSullivan

photos by: Chris Mathews / Helen OSullivan

Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th July 2011
Henham Park Estate, Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 8AN, England MAP
£170 weekend adult ticket, day tickets £70
daily capacity: 35000
last updated: Thu 7th Jul 2011


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