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Latitude 2021


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I got back yesterday evening. A combination of not enough to see for my taste on Sunday and having to work today, that decision was made before I arrived. But what a fun weekend. 

I was initially pleasantly surprised with the lack of weirdness or anxiety in myself or anyone else, as soon as we arrived and pitched up, we immediately slotted into festival-mode, like we'd never been away. No queues to get in upon arrival early afternoon on Thursday and despite concerns over the perceived smaller area for regular campers, plenty of space in which to pitch up comfortably.

The weather was nigh-on perfect, the very light thundery showers actually added to the atmosphere during the Chemical Brothers! 

It was all very well organised, which is a fantastic achievement, given the timescales and ongoing situation. Sure, there were a few queues for bars and toilets on occasions (we have to figure out a way to improve this situation for women, their queues are always 10x longer than the mens, for obvious reasons). Food options were varied and the Street Feast seated area is a great idea. 

Music-wise, everyone I saw was great with an obvious appreciation for being able to perform again. I was excited by up-and-coming acts like Lynks (so good I caught the secret set in the woods) and Vlure. The Snuts and Dream Wife are going to be huge, nobody is making music like Squid at the moment, Hot Chip were as good as ever, Rudamental were great fun, the perfect festival act but my absolute highlight was the Chemical Brothers. I've seen them many times since 1996 and twice recently, including Glastonbury in 2019 and on tour in Cardiff. Those last two occasions, as great as they were, it felt slightly "samey". Saturday night though, they were truly spectacular, possibly the best I've seen them. The perfect flow of big beat and their brand of anthemic techno/electronica, in a euphoric, friendly atmosphere. 

My only slight criticism is the alcohol price. £6-£6.50 for a pint is expensive but expected, I guess. This will be the situation going forward for most festivals so we'll have to budget accordingly, particularly for arena-style festivals where you can't take in your own booze. 

It's a strange demographic at Latitude. A mix of GCSE/A-Level teens, families and regular punters. Wreck heads are few and far between, probably due to a lack of super late night activity. I did notice some slightly worse for wear kids, which I suppose is understandable to a certain extent but most worryingly, their friends don't seem to know they've got to take care of each other. I do worry for the younger generation in that sense. 

Anyway, to summarise, it was pretty much the perfect way to ease back into festival life after a barren two years. Thanks to the organisers, staff and volunteers who created a safe and fun environment in difficult and ever-changing circumstances. 

I hope everyone on here had a great time, looking forward to reading about your experiences.

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Currently on the train back into London.

I suppose the first thing to say is that there were times in the last year and a half that I thought that festivals wouldn’t survive this, so just to have been at one for a long weekend is a win.


Music wise, without wishing to parrot, the Chems bottled what we’ve all been missing all this time in a 90 minute set. Wolf Alice really stepped up to the plate and I’d be shocked if that’s the last time they top the bill. Squid were superb, loved Anna Meredith, atmosphere at the Vaccines was superb…. lots of highlights. 

Thought the food provision was pretty good, and got to say the queues didn’t bother me. Pleasantly surprised by the toilets, though there could definitely be more of them for peak times.

My one bugbear was the beer. £6.50 for watery Carlsberg, and only one on site serving anything remotely drinkable. Barely drank anything last 2 days. Was my first one, so wasn’t au fait with the smuggling protocols (it would have, in hindsight, been very easy).

Maybe I’m getting a bit old, but I quite liked the vibe, there was definitely space if you needed it, which was good for easing yourself back in to it. Would go again if no Glastonbury/lineup was good/I wanted 2 festivals.

It did feel slightly surreal to be back, almost as if we’d gotten away with something that no-one else knew about. This was exemplified by the weather. Floods across the east of England and we had a bigger problem with dust. It was like our own glorious microcosm.

Anyway, hope the findings that come out of the test event are positive and firm up the chances of everything else going on this summer.

If they don’t, then I’m just grateful to have had those 3 days.

 

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59 minutes ago, JHad said:

Wet Leg and Joe Armon-Jones were top 1% all time for me. 

Can I ask something about Wet Leg? How are they on the bill of a fairly big festival when they've got one released song? What was the rest of their set? 

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12 minutes ago, grayfitz said:

Can I ask something about Wet Leg? How are they on the bill of a fairly big festival when they've got one released song? What was the rest of their set? 

They played a small tent, The Alcove. I was probably the only person there to have not heard 'the' song, but the entire set was wall to wall bangers. Loads more to come from them! 

Judging by the people in the room (Dan Carey [next Speedy Wunderground release, anyone?!] and half the South London music scene were near me), I'd say they're extremely well respected in the industry and promotional circles already. They've also been part of other bands, AFAIK. 

Edited by JHad
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Went on the Friday, here's some thoughts. 

Great to be back at a festival but totally glad I only did one day. Captured everything I wanted to do and went to every area of the arena. Thought the BBC Sounds tent was incredible, best moments were Dream Wife and Squid with Lucia and the Best Boys not far behind.

Felt BBC Sounds attendees were having fun, actual pits compared to main stage where I thought the younger people (I mean I am only 20) were a bit yobbish - throwing things onstage (Joff of Wolf Alice had to dodge something), shoving after a song ended to get further infront and the general vibe of the Obelisk I didnt like compared to Sounds. I mean during Declan McKenna (who I was watching while eating) you could tell the post GCSEs were out in full force.

Wolf Alice were incredible though and I can definitely see them pushing for the top spot at Glastonbury in the future and maybe even RandL this year if Queens of the Stone Age have to pull out. Great mix of tunes and as someone else said that run of Squid and Wolf Alice was one of the best I have seen.

Loved the comedy stage while waiting for a musical act - Jessica Fostekew was a great act I caught that I had never heard of.

Would I go back? Maybe a day again, wouldn't do the full weekend but only if there is an act I really want to see like Wolf Alice, with an undercard like Squid and Dream Wife, 5hrs of train travel to Bolton was very draining but after two years it had to be done.

Pint prices were ridiculous but after so long I made up for lost time. After seeing Fontaines at the Roadmender followed by that day of music - its great to be back.

EDIT: Oh and totally jealous of those seeing Chems.

Edited by RarerThanDandyB
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6 minutes ago, JHad said:

They played a small tent, The Alcove. I was probably the only person there to have not heard 'the' song, but the entire set was wall to wall bangers. Loads more to come from them! 

Judging by the people in the room (Dan Carey [next Speedy Wunderground release, anyone?!] and half the South London music scene were near me), I'd say they're extremely well respected in the industry and promotional circles already. They've also been part of other bands, AFAIK. 

Got ya! Sound like they're ones to keep an eye on then!

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I only went on Saturday - took my 7y/o to his first festival so played it safe (he loved it so will definitely go for the full weekend next time). I found the overriding feelings from everyone onsite were just really happy to be back - I'm sure there are a lot of people (me included) that didn't think we'd get here this year. I didn't encounter any issues at all (maybe because I just did the day and didn't camp) - but I found everyone to be respectful of peoples space, where possible people moved so my boy could see the stage better and there was generally just a really good atmosphere around the place. 

I found getting in really easy, had wondered how long it would take with all the extra checks that needed to be done but if anything it was easier and better organised than any other festival I've been to. I think we were queuing and through and into the arena in around 30 mins which was superb. Excellent choice of food, didn't find the queues particularly long or inconvenient. Fortunately I like Somersby so drinks weren't an issue! I found the site really easy to navigate, managed to catch someone on every stage - loved the Sunrise area, although trying to navigate past the thousands watching Damon Albarn was tiresome - no idea why he wasn't put in the empty BBC Sounds tent? He was always going to draw a huge crowd, especially with Arlo Parks not playing. 

Musically saw some fantastic performances, Supergrass, Sports Team and Chems particular highlights. I think the acts and crowd really fed off each other - we've all been waiting so long for this that every act I saw put everything into their performance and the crowd responded. It just felt so good to be part of a festival crowd again. Bring on the next one! 

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Soul healed, body broken. No idea how I used to do a full season of these weekends.

Saw an awful lot over the weekend - one of the benefits of it being a compact site (unless you’re heading back to the campsite, what a mission). Hot Chip, Chems and Sons of Kemet for my headliners, all incredible. Accidentally saw Rick Astley doing a full covers set in the Trailer Park at midnight on Saturday, which was suitably bizarre but thoroughly enjoyable! 
 

Latitude did well to pull that off and manage to order the weather to behave too! Usual gripes - food queues did get ridiculous, main bar ‘selection’ appalling. So many teenagers that at times it felt like I was crashing a GCSE results party. Nothing that could take the shine off being at an actual real life festival again. 
 

Not sure Latitude is ever going to be in my regular rotation of festivals but it was everything I needed. 

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I'll read everyone's reviews & write my own when I get home but for now:

That was truly a beautiful experience, I could cry at how absolutely amazing it was!

Pinnacle Sat night - bloody hell Chems blew it out of the frickin park!!! 😮😮😮 followed by 3D 😁

Hope you'll all be back next year 💜

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1 hour ago, Sean1234321 said:

 

I liked The Alcove. 

Saw Weird Milk and Liz Lawrence in there yesterday, both got great reactions - felt more like small gigs than festival sets. 

Agreed. My other favourite set, Joe Armon-Jones was also in there. Wish I'd spent a bit more time in there in hindsight!

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5 hours ago, grayfitz said:

Can I ask something about Wet Leg? How are they on the bill of a fairly big festival when they've got one released song? What was the rest of their set? 

They’ve been signed by Domino and Rhain (lead vocalist) has been doing it for a few years now solo. Check out her song Humdrum Drivel 

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5 hours ago, bethannny said:

Soul healed, body broken. No idea how I used to do a full season of these weekends.

Saw an awful lot over the weekend - one of the benefits of it being a compact site (unless you’re heading back to the campsite, what a mission). Hot Chip, Chems and Sons of Kemet for my headliners, all incredible. Accidentally saw Rick Astley doing a full covers set in the Trailer Park at midnight on Saturday, which was suitably bizarre but thoroughly enjoyable! 
 

Latitude did well to pull that off and manage to order the weather to behave too! Usual gripes - food queues did get ridiculous, main bar ‘selection’ appalling. So many teenagers that at times it felt like I was crashing a GCSE results party. Nothing that could take the shine off being at an actual real life festival again. 
 

Not sure Latitude is ever going to be in my regular rotation of festivals but it was everything I needed. 

Sounds much better than watching him sing his 'own' sh1t songs! What did he do? Am guessing the Foo Fighters was in there?

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Back to Leeds by 2pm - Nice easy drive home considering it being a Monday morning rush hour near enough.

Here goes:

Positives

  • Weather was about as good as it gets, fantastic as others have said it made Chems even more incredible. 
  • The fact they even got a festival sorted in the timescale under such uncertainty (Especially as similar sized festival in Kendal Calling cancelled)
  • The food offerings were diverse and delicious in the main part.
  • As ever it felt incredibly secure and safe, happy to leave things in tent and chairs/tables out etc.
  • Even though it wasn't a great line up for myself personally, all the acts I did see were phenomenal and just so up for it. 
  • The showers although huge and communal were kept pretty clean, had hot water and were a god send.

Negatives

  • The layout and fencing off of the camping areas seemed really strange, in Family you had parts where you had to walk 200m's then 200m back on yourself to get beyond the fence to walk back where you've just come from, it was really odd. Luckily some clever folk kept propping a panel open, making the flow much better.
  • The queues for food outlets and toilets between bands was like nothing I've ever seen, it was similar to Leeds Fest main arena and just didn't seem to be enough. The family camping toilets were totally inadequate and toilets were left blocked for most of the weekend. 
  • Others seem to disagree but it really did feel like day tickets were over sold, Saturday in particular, even the woodland stages/comedy were absolutely packed to the rafters, that's fine but I always loved Latitude as it felt busy but never too busy.

I think it's important to note that there will likely never be a Latitude like this again, you've basically gone to first NORMAL festival in the UK in the last 18 months, that was always going to attract folk who would never usually attend. 

Lots of people probably thought "YES A PROPER FESTIVAL" let's just go without really wanting to see many acts etc. You'd imagine next year those people will go to festivals they usually do in regular times, or chose a more specific festival for them.

I think all in all in was a fantastic weekend in a shit 18 months, organised very well considering but never any harm in trying to improve :) 

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Just got back. Thought it was pretty good. I worked most of the first couple of days so only really got to enjoy the saturday and sunday but they were great. Rudimental, Chems, Kawala, Bombay B Club & Bastille all brilliant from what got to see. 

Dont know if it was just me but the festival seemed really small? 

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Wow it was amazing to be back, even if only for the Sunday as I couldn't get out of work on the Saturday. Leaving Reading that morning and getting in with tent set-up in time for Bill Bailey was always going to be a gamble... what a feeling when we made it.  Thought I might cry the first time I heard live music didn't imagine it would Bill Bailey playing a flute along to the iPhone ringtone. Self Esteem that followed was truly superb. Enjoyed Vanity Fairy though would have been better with actual musicians. 

After that to be honest I paid little attention to the music. There was stuff I quite liked scattered across the smaller stages but meeting up with friends (who I have barely seen since Latitude 2 years ago) in the sunshine was far more important. 

 

Yeah there were queues around the place but I managed to avoid them, ate (veggie) twice and drank beer all day (easier if you're a man of course and agree they need to sort out the toilets situation for the ladies). Wish I'd been there for Hot Chip and the Chems though

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Had a bloody great time (apart from the 7.5 hour drive back home).

Main things for me were - they screwed up large on the general camping allocation of space. I arrived early and found space but others arriving later on the Thursday and on Friday were really struggling to find somewhere to pitch up.They ended up pitched in walkways, by the edge of paths and basically anywhere that was not a firebreak.

Conversely, family camping, family campervans and general campervans were wallowing in acres of space (embarrassingly so in comparison to general camping). Pink Moon etc ......many of those tents were literally pitched by the clangers, under the lights and near the generators .......I would have complained should I have been in there and paid that.

Water-  Green camping especially, the water pressure was crap - took me 30 minutes to fill an average sized water container. It was just a dribble. Clangers were normally cleanish and usable.

Naturally there were going to be pullouts of acts and they did a good job of covering those. We expected that, but there were several holes in the schedule. Sunday night Bastille vs a Covid depleted Sons of Kemet meant an early night.

Plaudits to:

Wolf Alice, confident, assured and developed in six short years into nailed on headliners.

Anna Meredith - mesmerising.

Vlure - cracking set.

Bombay Bicycle Club = not really familiar with them, but absolutely slotted it.

Chemical Brothers - Party.

Just Mustard. Loud and moody.

Supergrass/Kaiser Chiefs - did what they do well and captured the joyous spirit of people being in a field again. 

Damon Albarn - Form is temporary, class is permament - what a setting!

The Staves - seemingly missing one Stave but making no reference to it but putting in a slick performance anyway.

The weather. Hot, sweaty and  humid but we dodged a bullet with those thunderstorms.

 

I can forgive the rest. Just great to be back.

 

Roll on EoTR.

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51 minutes ago, Copperface said:

Had a bloody great time (apart from the 7.5 hour drive back home).

Main things for me were - they screwed up large on the general camping allocation of space. I arrived early and found space but others arriving later on the Thursday and on Friday were really struggling to find somewhere to pitch up.They ended up pitched in walkways, by the edge of paths and basically anywhere that was not a firebreak.

Conversely, family camping, family campervans and general campervans were wallowing in acres of space (embarrassingly so in comparison to general camping). Pink Moon etc ......many of those tents were literally pitched by the clangers, under the lights and near the generators .......I would have complained should I have been in there and paid that.

Water-  Green camping especially, the water pressure was crap - took me 30 minutes to fill an average sized water container. It was just a dribble. Clangers were normally cleanish and usable.

Naturally there were going to be pullouts of acts and they did a good job of covering those. We expected that, but there were several holes in the schedule. Sunday night Bastille vs a Covid depleted Sons of Kemet meant an early night.

Plaudits to:

Wolf Alice, confident, assured and developed in six short years into nailed on headliners.

Anna Meredith - mesmerising.

Vlure - cracking set.

Bombay Bicycle Club = not really familiar with them, but absolutely slotted it.

Chemical Brothers - Party.

Just Mustard. Loud and moody.

Supergrass/Kaiser Chiefs - did what they do well and captured the joyous spirit of people being in a field again. 

Damon Albarn - Form is temporary, class is permament - what a setting!

The Staves - seemingly missing one Stave but making no reference to it but putting in a slick performance anyway.

The weather. Hot, sweaty and  humid but we dodged a bullet with those thunderstorms.

 

I can forgive the rest. Just great to be back.

 

Roll on EoTR.

I really liked Vlure, too. Great intro and an interesting combination of 80s synthwave and punk with some Glaswegian hard-edged poetic lyrics. The "God is a DJ" cover was inspired! 

Edited by Supernintendo Chalmers
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Back home, what a fantastic weekend. I can’t fault it at all! Thought the site was stunning, loved the sunrise arena in the woods! Was surprised how ‘Glastonbury’ like it felt tbh, the food stalls, ‘vibe’ and stuff - much more like Glastonbury than T/Vfest IMO, which I think I expected it to be more like them - so was pleasantly surprised. Weather was cracking!! First time in a camper and will find it hard to go back to a tent.

Managed to bunk into wet leg by running through the wood at the back when we realised there was no way we would get into, worth it considering we left Staves for it. CMAT, Orla Gartland, Self Esteem, Wolf Alice - too many good sets to process right now. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, mikegday said:

Back home, what a fantastic weekend. I can’t fault it at all! Thought the site was stunning, loved the sunrise arena in the woods! Was surprised how ‘Glastonbury’ like it felt tbh, the food stalls, ‘vibe’ and stuff - much more like Glastonbury than T/Vfest IMO, which I think I expected it to be more like them - so was pleasantly surprised. Weather was cracking!! First time in a camper and will find it hard to go back to a tent.

Managed to bunk into wet leg by running through the wood at the back when we realised there was no way we would get into, worth it considering we left Staves for it. CMAT, Orla Gartland, Self Esteem, Wolf Alice - too many good sets to process right now. 

 

 

Yeah we rented a VW Camper last summer and they really are just that next level of comfort/ease.

Hoping that by some divine miracle I can afford one for next Latitude.

Camper section looked ace and chilled.

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Fantastic weekend for me, Chems was the absolute and unparalleled highlight and truck cancellation a happy mistake. Latitude has a great atmosphere, quite similar to isle of wight and the late night selection is good too. Queues and prices were not great but a bit of smuggling sorted that out. Was also really impressed with Hot Chip, Rudimental, Kaisers, Shame and the Vaccines who all put on a great show. Can't say i was disappointed with anyone i saw although was gutted not to get into Wet Leg - though Rick Astley was not nearly as good as he was in 2019 at isle of wight.

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Overall a great festival-the weather was perfect, enough mix of bands for such a short notice pull together line up. Toilets weren’t too bad - just never go just when a band ends! Some queues very long for food but generally enough choice for all. 
noticeably slightly less on offer  over all and the Lake Stage was missing from when we were last there. 
general green/red camping miles away from arena but had loads of space around us. 
beer and food prices high but traders have had a tough time of it over these  past 2 summers so can understand. 
Usual  teenagers celebrating end of school etc but forgive their rowdiness given the past 2 summers they have had as well. 
Highlights- Lynx, Sports Team, Vaccines, Bombay Bicycle Club, Supergrass, Wolf Alice, Chems, Self Esteem, Bastille, the staves. Didn’t see any theatre, comedy or smaller venues this year as wanted to keep space around me. 
worse part - walking back and forth to tent! Bonus though was not being too far from car! 
Also 10 hours to get home to Bournemouth due to horrendous traffic on A12 with it’s 2 accidents 🙁

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18 hours ago, adequate8 said:

Weren’t they in Plastic Mermaids?

As a self confessed Plastic Mermaids nutter I've been following her in parallel with PM. Rhain (Rhian), Flo and Hester were and are the main collaborators with PM and form the backbone of the choir/backing singers that accompany PM on tour and live. Rhain normally sings the 'Saturn' intro live as well as other bits. She has a proper powerful operatic voice, diametrically opposed to what you get with Wet Leg. Think they had a song called 'Girlfriend' out last year which got wiped from everywhere (no idea why). So not actually in Plastic Mermaids but all from the IoW and work closely with them.

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