The Latitude Festival website said no alcohol, drugs, spray cans, umbrellas, reflective jackets or "cameras with detachable telephoto lenses", so that was a weight of my shoulder - pocket-sized cameras only. I shoved my little Canon into my oversized pocket knowing I could rely on it to get some half decent photos and took off from the camper to see what I could cram into the first day, otherwise known as...
DAY ONE - FRIDAY
Bone dry. But I knew from previous Latitude visitors that the well used thoroughfare known as Hollow Tree Way could turn into a quagmire given the wrong weather and the forecast was unpredictable. Other than THERE WILL BE THUNDERSTORMS...
|First low key music encountered. But with commercial purpose. I wonder what they were selling.|
|The welcoming queue to get into Latitude "Have your bags open ready to be searched!"|
|What Latitude is about. Giving the middle classes somewhere safe to go to a festival. Or so the Comedy Tent tells us.|
|San Fermin's opening set in the Radio 6 Arena. This would become my favourite place to hang out.|
|Every Festival needs a funfair. Surprisingly low-key at Latitude and aimed squarely at pre-teens.|
|The Friends photo experience.|
|Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott play the Obelisk Arena|
|Billy Bragg plays the Obelisk Arena, Latitude 2014. A strong pinko contingent in the crowd. Not just me.|
|Pinko me made fat, Pinko's wife made thin. All by one mirror.|
|Crowd scene in the Obelisk Arena|
|Sheep scene on the meadow. I hope they stayed safe after the bars closed...|
|Now I have no idea what this was. But I would like to register my distress that there was no Radio 4 comedy stage|
|Temples on the Radio 6 Music Stage, Latitude Festival 2014|
|Sadlers Wells Dance on The Waterfront Stage|
|Sadlers Wells Dance on The Waterfront Stage, Henman Park lake, Latitude Festival 2014|
|Not the type I'd expect to find at an Anna Calvi gig - at the back of the Radio 6 stage|
|Anna Calvi at Latitude Festival on the Radio 6 Stage|
|Kate le Bon on the Lake Stage, Latitude|
At this point I am having to pinch myself because I am still on Day One - Friday...
|Editors at the Obelisk Arena, Latitude Festival 2014|
Editors were probably the most easily identifiable festival band playing. I know their music well, perhaps it's this Obelisk stage, I'd certainly prefer to see them at a more intimate venue.
|Derriere on the Film and Music Stage, Latitude Festival 2014|
|Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen (Vol 2) on the Literary Stage flanked by a Waterstones bookstore|
|Well it's not Arthur Smith, but it is a naked man. At this point I was not at all sure what was going on...|
|The Latitude Festival Waterfront Stage at night|
|A backlit fountain on the Henman Park Lake|
DAY TWO - SATURDAY
|"Pink Moon" Camping - possibly the bottom end of the 'glamping' spectrum|
|On Hollow Tree Way - Day 2|
|On Hollow Tree Way - Day 2|
|Stereo sketching in the woods - Latitude Festival|
|The queue for Jack Dee's Help Desk at the Latitude Theatre Stage|
|Brighton based Marika Hackman plays the iArena, Latitude Festival 2014|
|Almost in the front row for The Bohicas on the Lake Stage|
|Vivienne Westwood, activist and fashion designer, joins Frank Hewetson, one of the Arctic 30 Greenpeace activists imprisoned in Russia. Chaired by John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace. (Sorry crappy pic!)|
|Bombay Bicycle Club hit the Obelisk Arena at Latitude 2014|
Those capital letters are in place of any photos - from my teeniest camera with its bent lens they would be crap in the dark anyway. But Damon Albarn did provide what was for me by far the best show on the Obelisk Stage. And that was even before he stopped playing songs from his new Everyday Robots album and moved on to the Blur / Gorillaz encores.
The half hour of encores would have been memorable on their own but what set them apart was the natural light show. Lightning. Torrential rain. We could not hear the thunder but it was there. What a fantastic atmosphere - well over half the crowd were letting rip wearing the t-shirts they started the day with, nothing to protect them from what was an energetic 30 degree wash cycle.
I was dressed sensibly (of course) but my top half was soaked through. For two of the encores Damon was backed by his local London Gospel choir, there was Blur's 'Tender' and what I think was my personal single song highlight of the festival, a suped up version of "Mr Tembo" from the new Everyday Robots album coming over to the soaking crowd who joined in the choruses like a Blur song from way back.
DAY THREE - SUNDAY
|Valerie June on the Radio 6 Music Stage, Latitude Festival 2014|
Today we were going to meet our friends Jim and Sara who lived locally and came in on a day ticket. We arranged to meet at the comedy stage for Marcus Brigstocke hosting Andrew Maxwell and another guy, who was not credited by Latitude and MB and AM both forgot to mention on twitter, "putting the world to rights". I really enjoyed this but it went on longer than expected and dug into my intention to see James (the band). So I heard some James eating lunch outside before going into the tent to catch the interesting Tennessee twang of Valerie June.
I did that on my own and we met up again at the Obelisk Arena for The Jayhawks whose music we all found a bit ununspiring.
|Black Keys dumbing down on their tour t-shirt. Maybe should say Europe, Europe, Europe, Europe...|
|Jim and Sara|
|Shirley and yours truly|
We were at the Obelisk stage again to catch the tail end of Chrissie Hynde having just caught a one woman play in the Theatre Tent, "Soho Playhouse Inc, from NYC brings Jamaica Farewell to the Latitude Festival". Nice to have a sit down, not least because when we emerged it had obviously been raining outside.
|Rex Horan on bass for the Neil Cowley Trio|
|Neil Cowley Trio on the Film & Music Stage, Latitude Festival 2014|
7.00pm James and I dashed across to the iArena for Future Islands before dashing back to the Radio 6 stage for The War on Drugs.
|Future Islands play the iArena, Latitude Festival 2014|
|The War on Drugs on the Radio 6 Music Stage, Latitude Festival 2014|
To the sound of Tame Impala (like!) from the Obelisk Stage we munched through another Pieminster. Long story on this Pieminster habit which I will not go into.
The decision was left on how to finish up the evening and after witnessing the dumbed down Black Keys t-shirt I knew that we were only going to be catching the first few Black Keys songs.
|Julia Holter plays the iArena, Latitude Festival 2014|
|Girl in audience standing on shoulders in the Radio 6 Music stage - Lykke Li performing|
|Lykke Li closing the Radio 6 Music Stage, Latitude Festival|
|Entering the void...|