Latitude 2010

Well. I must be the last person who went to Latitude to blog about it, but sometimes things need to settle in your mind, eh?

This was my second trip Latitude, and after last year I was expecting to be disappointed – the truth is that while some points weren’t quite as good as last year, a lot of things were better. Either way there was no disappointment other than wondering why the three days went SO quickly.

The Good

Far too many to list here, but right at the start of weekend Kurran and the Wolfnotes brought the tent down. Literally, after they walked off stage the tent fell down. The first band we got to see were a really pleasant surprise, proper americana with real melodies – you’ll be singing this one for a while after you listen to it…

I was expecting to be disappointed by Laura Marling, however she turned out a really heartfelt performance that sounded just great, and put the new album into a much more positive light for me. Someone holding up a sign saying “I want to be your lover and I want to be your peer” while she sung Alas I Cannot Swim brought a tear to the eye.

Crystal Castles were bonkers. I was told they were like nothing else before, but with the bleepy backing, and screamy vocals, it reminded me a bit of Bis in their heyday. I loved Bis. I even saw Manda Rin in a pub once, but was too scared to go up and say hello. Yes, Alice punched someone, and cleared off 20 mins early to boos from the crowd. At Leeds/Reading or V Fest this would be fairly standard, but it was rather odd ahead of the sublime Belle and Sebastian.

I’ve wanted to see Belle and Sebastian for years, and they did not disappoint. Another one of those bands where you seemingly know every song, and they turned out a great performance. The cover of Jumping Jack Flash was a real highlight, improvised as it was!

Mumford & Sons, Frightened Rabbit, The National and Spoon all exceeded already high expectations.

I had no idea what to expect from Temper Trap, Rodrigo y Gabrielle, or John Grant but was blown away by all of them. If only I could write forever, I’d tell you all about them all. But I can’t, so just go and listen to them.

Finally – the best thing-that-wasn’t-music has to be Daniel Kitson and Gavin Osbourne’s late night stories. Told by the lake every night at midnight they built a wonderful linked world with three very human, very funny stories. Just the thing to round off the night.

The Bad

There’s no doubt these are tough economic times, and belts need to be tightened. This was fairly evident at Latitude this year, with fewer acts on across the main music stages, and an extra 2,000 tickets sold in advance.

Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be much extra infrastructure to accommodate this, and while it’s great that the festival is growing slowly, and still a great success, without making the venue any bigger it means things got really quite crowded.

My idea of swapping my iphone for a PAYG phone backfired completely when it ran out of battery on the 2nd day, and being an unfamiliar model the charging tent couldn’t help, so I massively screwed up meeting most of the people I meant to. Sorry everyone!

The Ugly
I really hope the two awful incidents that reportedly took place this year both don’t happen again and don’t sully the image of Latitude. You can’t help but feel a little of it’s innocence has been taken away.

At the age of 5, Latitude is coming into it’s own, and has to carefully navigate the waters ahead. If it’s to keep growing, it has a lot to learn from this year, but could easily keep going from strength to strength.