Latitude '16

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I've been trying to write this post for nearly two months, wanting to get down every last detail. But I just don't think it's going to happen, so I'm going to share random thoughts and photos, and try to make the whole thing reasonably coherent.

Being at Latitude for a second year felt instantly familiar, like I'd never been away. I met Sophie and C at the same place en route, so we could arrive at Henham Park together. We parked in the same car park. We pitched our tents in practically the same spot as last year, close - but not too close - to the toilets, and the path to the village, meaning our route into the main arena was almost identical.

We stepped wordlessly back into the same routine as last year. Toasties to start the day, swiftly followed by comedy in the morning, some wandering about, followed by music, peppered with food and beer throughout the day, and a trip back to the tents to change into warmer gear for the evenings.

It seemed busier than last year. I remember sitting on a picnic bench last year, drinking Hobgoblin with people milling about, but this year the main arena seemed to be bustling. We had a wander into the Faraway Forest, where I fell in love with the rose covered Friendship Tree, and tried to capture the colourful pom poms in the trees, managing just a few blurry images.

We paused to to watch C!RCA with their cleverly choreographed acrobatic routines with boxes, and vertigo inducing ladder, and then strolled over the bridge to peek at the Solas area, with it's beautifully lit sculptures nestled in the trees.

We watched some dancing on the Waterfront Stage - The Hofesh Shechter Company performing tHe bAD - some contemporary stuff with five dancers in gold catsuits (which made them look naked, shiny, and kinda slippery). The synchronised parts of the dance were excellent, but when they were all doing their own thing it looked like kittens having a fight in a sack. But then, I know very little about dance...

After a toastie and a smoothie we headed straight to the comedy tent. We started with the Chortle Student Comedy Awards Show, all were good, but the highlight of the day was seeing Oh Wonder in the BBC Radio 6 Music tent. I hadn't heard of them before but Sophie highly recommended them. They're right up my street, you can check them out here. I love the song Without You. Last year my take home band was Years and Years, this year it was Oh Wonder.

It was a wonderfully sunny day and after finding some dairy free food (salad), and having furnished ourselves with beer we sat watching Jones (mainly because Sophie and I liked her outfit).

It was then time to head back to the Comedy tent for Russell Howard - always funny. Although, as with all the better know acts, it was busy and was standing room only. Being short I couldn't see him from behind the huge man in front of me so had to watch him looking sideways at the large screen.

Our next venture into the BBC Radio 6 Music tent ended in disaster, I won't go into it, but too many people, and security that didn't act quickly enough to contain the situation, lead to us being separated and forcibly extracting ourselves from the throng, luckily it didn't take long to find each other.

To compose ourselves we grabbed another drink and headed to the quiet of the Faraway Forest. You can't beat being in the forest as daylight fades.

My best friend joined us for the day, whilst awaiting her arrival I gazed at the pink sheep. It irks me that they dye them, I don't know why, but I couldn't resist a few cute photos.

We immediately set off for some comedy, catching the end of Joe Bor as Jasper Cromwell - Jones, who had me in stitches, not only was he funny but his voice was hilarious too.

I was intrigued to see The Boy With Tape on His Face, our closest camping neighbour had recommended him, and I wasn't disappointed. I cried laughing, it was the funniest thing I saw all weekend. His act is unique in that he doesn't say a word. Check him out on YouTube here, the first part is a very similar skit to one he did at Latitude.

Lucius / fish n chip lunch / fresh fruit lollipops

A wander among the crocheted flowers (made with huge crochet hooks and ten strands of yarn), a bit of a sit under the Friendship Tree and off to chuckle at Joe Lycett (who I saw for the first time at Latitude last year, and went to see in Cambridge the following Autumn), followed by Milton Jones and his clever one liners.

I had to chuckle when Joe Lycett wandered into the audience and a girl wanted a selfie with him, he obliged, but she was clearly not satisfied and ordered him to "smile!" before taking another.

I also really enjoyed Joe talking about how people wearing numerous festival wristbands ages after the event were all knobheads, particularly because an achingly cool hipster teenager had plonked himself down in front of us with a gaggle of his mates wearing several such bands. His mates pointed and laughed at him in true teenage style, and he looked like he wanted the earth to open up and swallow him, which I enjoyed immensely. I hope he took off the grubby looking things after that, although I doubt he did.

We sat outside the Film and Music arena listening to Adam Buxton in conversation with Louis Theroux, the queues were insane and we knew we wouldn't get in so our spot outside the door next to the speaker was the next best thing. Thankfully we were sitting in the shade, and were glad when we had our only rain of the weekend - a slight smattering of raindrops, enough to be refreshing, not enough to soak in.

We chuckled at the security men taking the job of queue management very seriously indeed. Despite this several individuals marched confidently up to the front of the queues and walked straight in, leaving behind them a chorus of tutting and mumbling. I marveled at their audacity, and chuckled at the very British response.

After scoffing more donuts that I'm going to admit too, I had the sugar wobbles and needed something to counteract the sensation. I settled on another salad, but asked for no tomato. 'So you want salad, with a little less salad?' the lady asked me. 'Yes please'.

We then sat outside the BBC Radio 6 Tent listening to Half Moon Run and eating my salad-with-less-salad, before moving to the Obelisk Arena to watch an energetic set from Chvrches. My second favourite band of the weekend.

It was so hot! I had to buy myself a hat to cover my sunburned nose and scalp, and then we immediately went and sat inside. We watched Spencer Jones, and David O'Doherty, but I was a bit distracted by the lonely sight of Hello Kitty bobbing in the rafters alone. I wondered was someone sad to lose her?

We sat listening to Minor Victories back in the BBC Radio 6 tent, but I was lost in people watching, and not for the first time that weekend. My friend had commented that Latitude was 'better than an airport for people watching'. She wasn't wrong.

Next to me was a teenage boy, lanky and all elbows and knees. But what struck me was his choice of hat. A safari pith helmet, the way he held himself, the clothes he wore all screamed with a lack of self confidence, an air of teenage awkwardness, so the hat - a bold and unusual choice - was a surprise.

Sitting by the Lake stage I was lost in my own thoughts, ignoring the band playing entirely. I'd spoken to Andy on the phone several times over the weekend, swapping details of our days and general chit chat. It occurred to me that we don't normally speak on the phone much anymore, and it reminded me of the early days of us. Suddenly I really missed him.

Later on, listening to Foy Vance I felt the same sensation when he introduced Ed Sheeran on to the stage. Thinking Out Loud was our wedding song and now anything remotely related to Ed Sheeran reminds me of our first dance. I thought about wandering over to the doors of the tent to get a glimpse, but on hearing the words 'Ed' and 'Sheeran' eleventeen billion teenage girls appeared and swarmed the tent. I decided to stay put and just listen and enjoy. 

Next up we found of good seat for The Lumineers. And after hearing the only song I knew (Hey Ho) I was happy to grab some chicken satay before packing up and heading home. Trudging back to the car, weary, happy and totally chilled out.

When I arrived home everything felt oddly spacious, quiet, and echoey. It was so good to be home, to see my husband, cuddle my cats, and have a long hot shower, but I missed the hustle and bustle until normal service resumed, and I slipped neatly back into daily life.

Looking forward to next year already!

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  1. That was an enjoyable write-up and well worth the wait. You certainly packed a lot into your Latitude weekend. Love those pom pom trimmed trees! x

    1. Thanks! I don't know why or how it took me so long. It was a very busy weekend, but a lot of fun.

  2. That was a super write up!! I got a real sense of what it was like to be there! Ha, I laughed meanly when I heard what you said mockery of the achingly-cool teenager with scabby wrist bands.x

    1. Thank you, and, ha!, yes he really did look mortified. It still makes me chuckle to think of it

  3. I really enjoyed reading this. It sounds like a great weekend. I shall have to look up Oh Wonder. I listen to a lot of 6 Music, but I'm not sure I've heard them yet.

  4. I loved your account of the Latitude festival, which seemed great fun. I'm not sure about the pink sheep though ... Poor things! xxx

    1. I know, I don't know why they do it! People would take pictures of them regardless...

  5. What a lovely festival with a little bit of everything, it sounds great.

    1. there really is so much to do and see, this just touches the surface really


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