Now in its ninth year, Latitude Festival is the East Coast’s undisputed cultural highlight. Each year tops the last, with an even bigger and better selection of music, art, dance, comedy, as well as many other weird and wonderful delights.
This year’s offering certainly doesn’t disappoint. If you’re after a chilled weekend listening to some cool bands, get yourself to Henham Park on the 17th-20th July. Although we hate to pick favourites, here are just a handful of the musical acts we’re really looking forward to.
First Aid Kit
With their third album, Stay Gold due for release just a few weeks prior to the festival, First Aid Kit will be playing the main stage on Saturday afternoon.
The Söderberg sisters, Johanna and Klara, hail from Sweden, and will delight even reluctant folkies. Forget any preconceptions of Scandinavian warbling; these girls are Americana at its best. They’ve made country-and-western fiddle playing cool by pairing it with Johnny Cash-esque guitars, and sweeping, Fleetwood Mac-style percussion.
In fact, no matter what branch of folk you’ve got a soft spot for, you’re sure to find something that sounds like it in First Aid Kit’s set. The vocals are absolutely beautiful; think Laura Marling, but there are two of them, so better.
We really hope they play: ‘My silver lining’. It sounds like it belongs in a John Wayne movie, but it’s excellent.
If you find Latitude festival’s abundance of bunting gets a bit too much, we recommend checking out Eagulls at the I-arena.
These lads from Leeds are hardcore and perhaps a little bit mental. The video for their single ‘Nerve Endings’ features an actual brain decomposing on the pavement. It may have earned them the Best Music Video at the 2014 NME Music awards, but it also made the Old Bill suspicious enough to raid their home.
With that in mind, expect the unexpected from their performance. Although, we guess it’ll sound a bit lo-fi and pleasantly nineties.
We hope they play: Hollow Visions. It’s good for moshing, or just an angry bop if you’re not so near the front.
When we saw this on the Latitude line up, we did a bit of a double take and had to check if it was the Kelis, of early 2000s fame. Apparently it is, and she’s back with a new album, Food, which was released in April.
Although no one’s disputing that Kelis is one helluva lady, you don’t usually get many/any R&B artists at Latitude. However, it seems she’s made a bit of an artistic development. Her new album is soulful stuff, with some gospel bits thrown in for good measure.
Kelis is playing the main stage on Friday afternoon.
We hope they play: ‘Milkshake’, if we’re honest. But we’ll settle for ‘Breakfast’. Why are all her songs about food?
If Latitude for you will be a family affair, or you simply feel like chilling out to some down-to-earth English folk, head to the main stage on Friday for the lovely Billy Bragg.
Notoriously angry throughout the 80’s, Bragg has calmed down a lot in recent years. We’re not saying it’s because Thatcher died, but she is dead and he is less angry. However, his music is still very political, so expect some working-class-hero material.
Unlike other dons of the folk scene, Billy Bragg has managed not to become a parody of himself (cough-Bob Dylan-cough). His music is still diverse; ‘Walt Whitman’s Niece’ is a bit bluegrass, but ‘California Stars’ sounds like the Jam’s ‘English Rose’.
We hope they play: ‘A New England’, because everyone will go crazy. And ‘California Stars’, because it’s lovely.
If you want another Fleetwood Mac-y girl group to delight your ears, Haim are quite possibly The One. The sisters from California will be on the main stage on Sunday afternoon.
Unless you’re a crazy fan, we recommend finding a chilled out spot on the edges for this one. These girls have been dotted around the charts over the last year, and they get a lot radio play, so there will probably be a pretty big turnout.
If you’re unconvinced, don’t go thinking they’re just another cutesy act; at times their vocals are almost raw and the percussion is (literally) banging.
We hope they play: ‘Let Me Go’; ideal for rocking out semi-wildly after an overpriced Pimms.
He’s one of those people whose voice doesn’t match his body; it’s absolutely massive and he sounds like he’s from the Deep South. His impeccably jaunty guitar playing is accompanied by more tambourine than is probably necessary but it’s very fun.
We hope they play: ‘Did You Hear The Rain’. Slightly darker and more sinister than the rest of his stuff.
We hope he doesn’t play ‘Get Lonely With Me’. Dance music is not your forte, George.
Seriously though, this isn’t even the extent of Latitude’s greatness. You should probably also go and see Two Door Cinema Club, Agnes Obel, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Black Keys, and loads of other people. Don’t even get us started on the comedy tent, because that’s also looking insanely good.