The sun was shining on Henham Park last weekend for the 11th edition of multi-arts festival Latitude.
Alongside headline sets from The Maccabees, The National and New Order, the weekend was packed with performances across the worlds of music, theatre, dance, literature, film, comedy, cabaret, poetry, fashion and art.
This year’s festival was full of surprise music performance duets. On Friday, France’s Christine and the Queens was joined onstage by Perfume Genius for the poignant track 'Jonathan', moving many in the BBC 6 Music stage crowd to tears.
Saturday night’s headliners The National were joined onstage by Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry for a special performance of 'I Need My Girl’, from The National's most recent album, 2013's 'Trouble Will Find Me’.
On Sunday, Ed Sheeran made a return to the festival - following his surprise set last year - joining Foy Vance, the Northern Irish singer-songwriter, on the BBC 6 Music Stage. Sheeran joined Vance on guitar and vocals for Vance’s song 'Guiding Light’, the finale of his 35-minute set, taken from his 2013 album 'Joy of Nothing’.
On Thursday, the theatre line-up opened with an astonishing performance from Australian circus company C!RCA, who treated the Latitude audience to the UK premiere of Landscape with Monsters.
Sadler’s Wells returned to the Waterfront Stage for a ninth year, launching their programme with a performance by Hofesh Shechter’s Company from tHe bAD - showcasing Shechter’s choreography at its most energetic.
In The Little House, festival goers were transported back in time by Opera North, with a bandstand of mysterious musicians performing a four hour whirl of European music, from ferocious Transylvanian fiddle playing, to Janacek and Brahms.
The Maccabees headlined the Obelisk Arena on Friday night, delivering a stunning, delicate set, drawing on their 2015 number one album 'Marks to Prove It’ and playing classics like 'Precious Time’ and 'Something Like Happiness’.
Throughout Friday, the name you could hear echoing around the site was that of 28-year-old French singer-songwriter Héloïse Letissier, known as Christine and the Queens.
With crowds spilling out of the BBC 6 Music Stage on Friday afternoon, Letissier brought her sophisticated synth-pop and slick choreography to Henham Park, with current single 'Tilted' receiving a minute-long ovation from the capacity crowd.
Grimes continued the biggest tour of her career as she brought her inimitable alt-pop mastery to her BBC 6 Music Stage headline slot. Further stand-out Friday performances included Father John Misty on the Obelisk Stage, Slaves on the BBC 6 Music Stage, and Loyle Carner, The Big Moon, Estrons, JONES and Babeheaven on the Huw Stephens-curated Lake Stage.
The music continued long into the night at the Sunrise Arena, with Mike Skinner and Murkage present Tonga and Artful Dodger keeping the vibes high and capacity crowd dancing into Saturday morning.
Latitude’s arts stages came alive on Friday, with Russell Howard, Al Murray and Katherine Ryan entertaining the crowds in the Comedy Arena, and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction in the Literary Arena, featuring the 2016 winner Lisa McInerney in conversation with novelist and Prize co-founder Kate Mosse.
The Wellcome Trust Hub hosted a variety of discussions, debates and performances, including a look into the Science of The Selfie, The Sociology & Psychology Of Fun, and the Science of Snogging, where Rosie Wilby and Amie Taylor examined the science, history and anthropology behind kissing.
In the Theatre Arena, Graeae had the audience cheering and celebrating Ian Dury & the Blockheads’ greatest hits in Reasons to be Cheerful; Improbable and Blind Summit presented an improvised puppetry performance in Animo; and Svalbard revelled in the absurdities of life in All Genius All Idiot, blending contemporary circus, theatre, physical comedy and live music.
There was a world of woodland imagination in the Faraway Forest with live art, installations and performances including Glen Neath and David Rosenberg’s Séance, which took place in an intimate venue in absolute darkness.
The National performed a rousing headline set in the Obelisk Arena on Saturday, becoming the only band to headline the festival twice following their bill-topping performance in 2011. "We feel so privileged to be here again” said vocalist Matt Berninger from the stage as the band previewed four new songs, before leading the crowd in an acoustic rendition of 'Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks’.
Scottish trio Chvrches, who previously played the Sunrise Arena at Latitude in 2013, preceded The National with an energetic set played against a beautiful Latitude sunset.
On the BBC 6 Music Stage, headliners Soulwax wowed the audience with three powerful drummers and a thrilling light show to end the day. Daughter and John Grant drew in huge crowds to the Obelisk Arena; Pumarosa, Rat Boy and Drones Club put a marker down for new British music; and SOPHIE, Gold Panda and David Rodigan had Latitude moving in the Sunrise Arena.
An enormous crowd gathered at the Film & Music Arena for Louis Theroux in conversation with Adam Buxton; a real highlight that had the whole festival talking. Also in Film & Music, The Festival Voices: Ecstasies Within, greeted the morning with a fusion of electronica with New York-based composer Tarik O'Regan's exhilarating work 'The Ecstasies Above’, presented by the National Portrait Gallery's Gregory Batsleer, Louis Hartshorn of the Arts Theatre, London and Latitude’s own Arts Curator Tania Harrison.
In performances that touched upon this year’s theme 'Love Thy Neighbour’, Gob Squad presented 'Super Night Shot’, where the Latitude audience became co-stars in a movie that celebrated unplanned meetings with strangers, plus Lyric, GDIF, Watford Palace Theatre and Latitude presented 'Hikapee’ in Pandora’s Playground - a new outdoor circus piece exploring what it is to create a 'home’.
The Poetry Arena drew in the crowds on Saturday with the likes of Henry Normal, Hollie McNish and Latitude regular Luke Wright on stage, plus the hugely likeable Rob Auton who brought his new work 'The Sleep Show’.
There was an afternoon of dance on the Waterfront including performances from the New English Ballet Theatre and Sadler’s Wells’ GOGO Penguin Lynne Page and Botis Seva and his company Far From the Norm performing H.O.H. - a combination of hip hop, physical theatre and contemporary dance centred on football.
One of Britain’s all-time greatest bands, New Order, gave Latitude 2016 a polished send-off on Sunday night with a set spanning 35 years, all the way from their origins as Joy Division, through to the dancefloor classic 'Blue Monday’ and up to last year’s acclaimed 'Music Complete’.
Earlier in the day, there was a surprise performance by 100 Voices Of Gospel Choir opening the Obelisk Arena. The choir - drawn from 25 different coun¬tries and many different religious faiths - captivated the midday crowd with a rousing set of gospel classics.
The Arena hosted one of its strongest Sunday line ups with Michael Kiwanuka (on the weekend his acclaimed new record 'Love & Hate’ was released), Laura Mvula, and The Lumineers playing hit after hit for the sun-baked afternoon crowd.
Elsewhere, Iceland’s Of Monsters And Men stepped up to headline status on the BBC 6 Music Stage, drawing a huge crowd with their glacial and brooding folk-pop. There were also captivating performances by two of Scandinavia’s most acclaimed breakthrough artists, Norway’s Aurora and Denmark’s MØ.
New Bella Union signing Holly Macve wowed crowds twice on Sunday, with performances on both the Sunrise Arena and Solas, whilst DIY Presents The Alcove rounded off three days of new and breakthrough artists with Skinny Girl Diet, The Magic Gang and Kero Kero Bonito packing the tent.
On Sunday, the Cabaret Arena welcomed singer, comic and compere Dusty Limits, who along with his long term collaborator Michael Roulston, performed songs from their new album 'Grin’, along with Dame Nature (Tim Bell) and Margaret Thatcher Queen of Game Shows who entertained the crowd late into the night.
Kerry Godliman, David O’Doherty, Mark Watson and Nish Kumar featured on the Comedy Arena bill, along with the ever-popular Bill Bailey who rounded off the day’s performances.
The Film & Music Arena came alive with a riveting performance from Jane Horrocks and the If You Kiss Me, Kiss Me Band, plus there was a truly memorable performance from Adam Green as he performed the shimmering soundtrack to Aladdin; a hyper-sensory, poetic and humorously subversive film of the classic Arabian Nights tale. And finally, in what was a real highlight of this year’s Theatre Arena programme, the multi-award winning Theatre Ad Infinitum presented Bucket List, the powerful story of one Mexican orphan's fight against injustice, to a full house.
There was more for families, kids and teens than ever before this year, with a huge array of activities on offer. The Kids Area entertained children with pond dipping, star gazing, fire shows, woodland crafts, science experiments plus theatre, comedy, music and more. The Inbetweener’s Teen Area provided music and everything from media and fashion workshops to tackling survival skills in the treetops, while The Enchanted Garden proved to be a popular addition to this year’s Family Campsite, particularly The Bo Nanafana Sunday Social, a Bowie tribute with a Let the Children Boogie space-themed disco.
Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn said, "I didn’t think it was possible to top last year, but here we are rounding up the 11th year of Latitude, and I couldn’t be prouder of the festival.
"We were blessed with a weekend of glorious sunshine and unforgettable performances. The Maccabees were incredible as a debut headliner, The National did the impossible in topping their previous headline performance, and New Order put on the most spectacular show.
"Some of the greatest names in music, arts, theatre, comedy and literature came together yet again. Latitude Festival has cemented itself as an unparalleled multicultural celebration.”