Festival Review: A Look Back On Latitude 2014!

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This weekend, dramatic and wondrous thunderstorms descended upon Suffolk’s Henham Park, yet their magnificent presence failed to dampen the spirits of the woodlands’ weekend residents; instead only adding to the spectacle of the event that was Latitude Festival 2014.

Headlined by Lily Allen, Damon Albarn and The Black Keys, this year’s line up was eclectic and exciting. Lily Allen was a last minute replacement for Two Door Cinema Club, and did the boys proud by covering their hit Something Good Can Work while rocking one of the band’s t shirts.

Lily looked great, she sounded even better and got the crowd dancing like no one else over the weekend. Her girl-power filled performance was just one of the feminist moments that occurred at this year’s festival. Lykke Li, Anna Calvi, Agnes Obel, Marika Hackman and Woman’s Hour’s performances were all strong, impressive and beautiful in their own rights.

Kelis’ soulful and raw set established a party atmosphere on Friday afternoon that continued into the night; her performance of Got Your Money saw folk of all ages revel in nostalgia. Haim’s almost comically enthusiastic performance on Sunday evening, saw teenage girls wear “Girl Rule Boys Drool” t-shirts and almost lose their minds with excitement.

artist:First Aid Kit, stage:Obelisk Stage

Image By Jen O’Neill

Swedish sisters First Aid Kit was a highlight for many Latitude goers; their golden and glimmering performance on sunny Saturday evening was absolutely stunning. The girl’s voices compliment one another astoundingly. Their wholesome and country vibe was lapped up by eager feminine folk fans, and their cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s America was given the nod of approval by serious music fans around the Obelisk Arena.

Young musician and the rather sensational Valerie June delivered a lively and slightly off the wall performance, her striking voice was the star of the show and her banjo, which she introduced as “baby,” was next in line.

Other musical highlights included Hall & Oates’ set at the 6music stage where the fans were wild and the band were thrilled – performing old classics like Maneater and You Make My Dreams Come True. James provided a good trip down memory lane for the masses of fans that turned up for their performance, Conor Oberst’s talent was impossible to ignore, and George Ezra delivered the most delicious show – he drew the most humongous crowds who all wanted to see the 21 year old with one of the richest and impressive voices on the entire line up.

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Image By Marc Sethi

Bombay Bicycle Club, as always, captivated their crowd – playing a great deal of their extraordinary latest album So Long, See You Tomorrow as well as old hits such as Always Like This, Shuffle and If Only.  They were joined by the talented Liz Lawrence on stage, whom given the success of her predecessors Lucy Rose and Rae Morris, could well be one to watch.

Supergroup Atomic Bomb! Who is William Onyeabor? brought an infectious carnival atmosphere with their tribute to William Onyeabor. Their African rhythms and samba styles got the audience grooving, and the dancing Mahotella Queens roused the crowds into a state of undeniable happiness. Featuring the talents of the Beastie Boys, Hot Chip, Scritti Politti and Young Fathers –the show was a fabulous festival act.

Billy Bragg was good value, he had great stage presence and slagged those reviewers who in the past have accused him of “going country”. He then went on to acknowledge his pointy boots, Kenny Rogers’ style beard and shirt which 100% had a quote from the bible on the back of it, with a twinkle in his eye. He described his own style as “Americana” – which, he explained is “country music for people who like The Smiths”. Fair play.

The House Gospel Choir played on the Waterfront Stage on Sunday and brought with them a sense of spirituality and togetherness which spread around the festival. Crowds were unified by their joy at watching the wonderful choir, in the most idyllic setting.

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Image By Marc Sethi

Latitude Festival is a smaller, majestic and more manageable alternative to Glastonbury. It is impossible to wander around the site without stumbling upon something dazzling – yet easy to do a lap of the grounds without feeling daunted or overwhelmed. The festival that prides itself on being “more than just a music event” is saturated with talented and creative people generating amazing pieces, for the audience’s amusement.

The festival offers comedy, film, cabaret, literature, and poetry performances as well as interactive experiences such as yoga classes and dance workshops. Festival goers are given the opportunity to go climbing in the woods, go punting on the lake, participate in staged debates and even admire the resident sheep.

Latitude had a promising line up and it certainly delivered. The festival was planned to perfection, the brains behind the operation were clearly focused on enabling it’s attendee’s to have a magical experience, and their efforts did not go unnoticed…until next time Latitude!

Jessica Newsome

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Image By Alex De Mora