Latitude 2014

Latitude is over for another year and what a wonderful weekend it was.

The ninth edition of the multi-arts festival featured a strong music line-up, headed by Lily Allen, Damon Albarn and The Black Keys, alongside an eclectic mix of artists from the worlds of theatre, dance, literature, film, comedy, cabaret, poetry, fashion and art.


The festival got underway on Thursday evening with a welcome party in the woods featuring DJs Goldirocks and DJ Push.

The floating Waterfront Stage put on a varied programme, including the World Tango Champions German Cornejo and Gisela Galeassi and French theatre company Ilotopie performing 'Le Rêve à travers la Porte' (Doorway to a Dream).

Ilotopie's performance was a special Latitude commission from Lavish which featured a series of surreal floating installations including a flaming apocalyptic angel, jousting knights on petals, flaming Dali-esque horses, and a giant gliding Lady of the Lake.


As temperatures soared across Henham Park on Friday, the Obelisk Arena kicked-off with sets from Slow Club, Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott, and Billy Bragg. Kelis was on next with another crowd-pleasing set that included the hits ' Bounce ' and ' Milkshake '.

After Kelis, Crystal Fighters brought back their mix of progressive dance, folktronica and rave, blended with uplifting lyrics, to create the perfect mix for the party crowd to soak up and enjoy.

Crystal Fighters 'LA Calling'

Earlier in the day, news began to filter out that Rudimental were the secret 'special guests' due to play the Obelisk Arena that evening. Performing between solid sets from Crystal Fighters and Editors, Rudimental got their crowd dancing with a string of hits including 'Waiting all Night' and 'Feel The Love'.

The strong line-up on the main stage was mirrored on BBC Radio 6 Music Stage where the bill included Hozier, Temples, Goat and Anna Clavi. Subbing headliners Mogwai were the newly reformed Slowdive making their only summer festival appearance in the UK.

Latitude's arts arenas were equally as starry as the music stages on Friday. Dara O'Brian topped the comedy bill on a day that also saw turns from Josh Widdicombe, Trevor Noah and Seann Walsh. In the Literary Areana novelist Jon Ronson read from 'Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie', his book about his time as the keyboardist in the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band, and on the Waterfront Stage, festival goers watched the amazing dancers from Cuban dance company Ballet Revolución.

Ballet Revolución

Having made a brief appearance on the Waterfront Stage in the early evening, Friday night's headliner in the Obelisk Arena was Lily Allen a last minute replacement for Two Door Cinema Club who had to pull out earlier in the week due to illness. After opening with LDN, Lily rapped a cover of Two Door Cinema Club's 'Something Good Can Work' in tribute to the band.

Lily soon won over Latitude crowd singing hits hits from her first two albums and this year's release 'Sheezus'. An extended version of 'Smile' featured in the set along with the Keane cover 'Somewhere Only We Know'. An encore of 'The Fear', 'Bass Like Home' and 'Not Fair' brought the show to an end and got the festival off to a fine start.


Daryl Hall and John Oates drew a huge crowd into the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage on Saturday with renditions of their eighties pop hits including 'I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)', which saw festival goers spilling out onto the grass outside the tent.

They were followed later that night by Norwegian electronic music duo Royksopp and Swedish singer Robyn with a blinding performance of electro-pop that featured a cover of Robyn's hit 'Dancing on my Own' and the Royksopp and Robyn collaboration 'Do it Again'.

Meanwhile in the Obelisk Arena anticipation among 35,000 music fans reached fever pitch as First Aid Kit and Bombay Bicycle Club warmed up the crowd for the eagerly anticipated appearance of Damon Albarn.

Albarn's set, backlit by a huge electrical lightning storm, included Blur hits 'Out of Time', 'All Your Life', 'End of a Century' and festival favourite 'Tender' for which he was joined on stage by Graham Coxon. Albarn also played a selection of Gorillaz hits including 'Tomorrow Comes Today', 'Slow Country', 'Kids With Guns', 'Don't Get Lost In Heaven' and 'Clint Eastwood'.

There was a strong line-up from start to finish in the Comedy Arena with performances from Grace Petrie, Josie Long, James Acaster, Rob Beckett, Simon Amstell, Tiffany Stevenson, Glenn Wool, Katherine Ryan, Hannah Gadsby, Miles Jupp, Tommy Tiernan, Vikki Stone and Mark Watson.

Mark Watson is interview Bombay Bicycle Club

Elsewhere, Dame Vivienne Westwood made an appearance in the Literary Arena and in the Theatre Arena, Jack Dee was joined by comedians Jeremy Hardy, Seann Walsh, Katherine Ryan and Roisin Conaty for Jack Dee's Help Desk which featured more than its fair share of jokes about the thunderstorms that swept through Henham Park on Friday night.


Sunday at Latitude began with 'Atomic Bomb! Who is William Onyeabor' on the Obelisk Arena - a collective of musicians, including Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip and Pat Mahoney from LCD Soundsystem, celebrating music from the West African synth pioneer William Onyeabor.

Later on the same stage, Chrissie Hynde treated the crowd to a selection of Pretenders hits including 'Back on the Chain Gang', 'Kid', 'Don't Get Me Wrong', 'Talk of the Town', 'Hymn to Her' and 'Brass in Pocket' alongside songs from her new solo album 'Stockholm'.

The BBC Radio 6 Music Stage featured George Ezra, NY garage-punk outfit Parquet Courts and Philadelphia rockers War on Drugs who played several tracks from the critically acclaimed 'Lost In The Dream' album. The stage was closed by Swedish indie pop singer-songwriter Lykke Li whose set included 'Get Some', Little Bit' and 'I Follow Rivers'.

On the Waterfront Stage, festival goers settled in for an afternoon of dance with performances from English National Ballet, Wayne McGregor's Random Dance and Candoco Dance Company.

Comedian Kevin Bridges rounded off the final day at the Comedy Arena which also featured sets from Milton Jones, Aisling Bea, Henning Wehn, Jeremy Hardy and Marcus Brigstocke.

American rock duo The Black Keys closed the festival in style with an exceptional show that saw the crowd chanting along to hits from The Black Keys impressive back catalogue, including 'Gold on the Ceiling', 'Tighten Up' and 'Lonely Boy'.

Throughout the weekend festival goers gathered at the i Arena, tucked away in the intimate setting of the woods, to catch cutting-edge acts, with memorable performances from Future Islands, The Fat White Family, Kwabs, The Acid, Nils Frahm, Young Fathers and Tom Vek.

The Lake Stage and the Alcove were the best stages to catch the hottest new talent on site, and hosted impressive sets from the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen, Luke Sital Singh, Years and Years, Slaves, Womens Hour, Circa Waves, Seinabo Sey and Jagaara.

Seinabo Sey at Latitude's Piano Bar giving a surprise performance of hit single 'Hard Time'

This year the Faraway Forest saw a number of exciting new additions that went down a storm among festival audiences. New stages included The Shed of Stories, where professional storytellers both delighted and terrified in equal measure. The Little House was an exciting new theatre space, which brought audiences performances from experimental theatre companies including Forced Entertainment, Look Left Look Right and Papercut Theatre. The Live Art House pushed festival goers' boundaries with its mix of cabaret, performance, audience participation and challenging ideas with Dusty Limits a highlight.

Latitude's line up for young people and families was even bigger this year with a large number of activities and performances specifically curated for teens and kids in both the Children's Arena and the Inbetweeners Teen Area. Highlights included performances of The National Theatre's The Cat in the Hat!, a special visit from The Gruffalo , and workshops on everything from comic book design, animation and photography to beat boxing, music production and DJing.

Commenting on the ninth edition of the festival, Latitude's founder Melvin Benn said: "It was an amazing weekend with outstanding headline performances from Black Keys, Damon and Lily and phenomenal performances across all the arts that we cover.

"Lily stepping in at the last minute to deliver the set of her life to a huge and appreciative crowd was awesome as was Damon conducting the lightning from the main stage during his set. Everything was perfect! Roll on the tenth birthday party of Latitude in 2015".