Another year, another blissful weekend spent in Suffolk’s Henham Park enjoying some of the best live music the world has to offer. Here are 5 things we learnt at the 2018 edition of Latitude Festival.
1. Diversity is important, and worthwhile.
Friday night headliner Solange seemed for many an unusual choice to top the bill on the night normally reserved for up-and-coming pop bands, but on the night, the Cranes In the Sky singer aced it, delivering 90 minutes of beautifully choreographed song and dance to an engrossed audience. It may not have been the party atmosphere previous Latitude Fridays have seen, but it served an important point: a woman of colour headlining a major British festival is, sadly, almost unheard of, especially for Festival Republic, and even more notably at an event so typically ‘white middle class’ as Latitude.
2. Liam Gallagher is a total boss.
Everyone loves a special guest, especially when it turns out to be one of music’s cockiest gobshites at the peak of their debut solo album campaign. Slotted in nicely between Alvvays and The Breeders on a lazy Saturday afternoon, Liam and band treated a packed-to-the-rafters BBC Music tent to a host of Oasis classics before disappearing as mystically as they’d arrived. Liam showed his face again later during The Killers’ headline slot, but sadly a collab seemed too much to ask for, as the superstar had had one too many overpriced festie pints by the looks of it.
3. Kasabian are wrong about new bands.
In a recent interview, Kasabian mod-goblin Tom Meighan remarked that not enough emerging British acts are good enough to headline festivals; “If you’re a big band you have big songs… that’s how I look at rock and roll, it’s obvious isn’t it?”, he remarked. Insightful stuff. He’s bloody wrong though. Just take a look at Wolf Alice and The Vaccines who have both worked their way up from fringe stages to garner huge sub-headline slots, and the brand new acts following in their footsteps: Idles, Bloxx, Lucia, Black Honey, The Orielles, Boy Azooga, Fickle Friends, and whenyoung all gave stunning performances to eager crowds thirsty for fresh blood. Expect to hear more from all of them in years to come.
4. There ain’t no party like a Superorganism party.
Racking up an impressive hat trick of sets in one afternoon, Superorganism were the name on everybody’s lips on the final day of the weekend. Delivering wave after wave of psychedelic noise and visuals on their BBC Music stage performance, the collective later stripped things back for a secret set over in the woods for BBC Introducing, followed by a late-night garden party in the SOLAS arena, where they rattled through such hits as Everybody Wants to Be Famous and Something For Your M.I.N.D (complete with apple crunches and dripping water) before a unplanned encore of their Miley Cyrus Party in the USA cover. Real thing that actually happened or a dust-and-alcohol-induced fever dream? You tell me.
5. Latitude is the perfect summer festival, if you’ve got the budget.
It’s clean, it’s safe, the food is great, the music is world-class. There’s a reason Latitude has earned a reputation for being one of the globe’s most talked-about weekenders. And yet, the elephant in the room is the monumental price tag that comes alongside. Sure, you get what you pay for – where else could you watch a talk from comedy aunt Sandi Toksvig, dance to a surprise Idris Elba DJ set and mosh to neon-freaks Confidence Man‘s infectious tunes in the space of 24 hours? In all honesty, you get what you pay for. At £200 a pop (not including the cost of food, drink, and mementos like weekend programmes sold from wheely bins on every path corner) Latitude is a big commitment, but it’s worth it for the reassurance that the glamorous facilities and picturesque location will be there waiting to be embraced, making your festival experience everything you want it to be.