As my first festival weekend, Latitude 2013 was a unique and in many ways unparalleled experience for me; providing some music I may not normally listen to, some people the likes of whom I had never before met and some food which no-one should ever be subjected to.

The adventure began with an unreasonable amount of time spent on the road, this was the result of confusion at the mysterious disappearance of all Latitude signs and all other traffic on a rural section of the A12 followed by the inevitable tailback of traffic to the entrances. Finally at around 7 o’clock on Thursday evening we arrived at Henham Park Southwold, equipped with tents, dodgy clothes and Pot Noodles.

My first surprise when inside the site itself was its sheer size, something about the festivals image as a diverse but relaxed weekend didn’t fit with the presence of 35/40, 000 other people and certainly not the huge corporate tents and stages. However I later grew to love that, I could never have seen everything and that regardless of how lost I was, there was always something new and exciting around every turn.

Once everyone was acquainted and camps were set up I went off to explore the main arena, which at this stage consisted of following lights until I found one of the few acts performing. I eventually found myself deep in the woods with a flashback through many childhood years in the form of a DJ set by Craig Charles (legendary commentator of Takeshi’s Castle and Robot Wars). The set proved very entertaining and a suitably surreal introduction to Latitude.


Throughout the festival, but most notably late at night I was struck by the atmosphere and the relaxed attitude of everyone – never have I seen people so peacefully sharing a beer and a chat at 4am. This attitude seemed infectious and meant that regardless of time, place or hangover everyone was in a great mood.

In terms of the music itself the headline acts lived up to their billing: Foals in their role of capping off the festival with their Sunday night slot, Bloc Party headlining Friday and Kraftwerk , slightly more controversially (within my age group at least) taking to the main stage on Saturday. For me Foals were the most impressive of these, as a band I was already well aware of they went above and beyond what I expected from a live performance, with an energy and crowd reaction matched only by Bloc Party and extremely impressive delivery punctuated by ‘My Number’ and ‘Late Night’ from their newest album, ‘Holy Fire’.

Perhaps more excitingly each day I found some personal highlights away from the headline acts, mostly bands I stumbled upon whilst exploring the arena or whose set was placed conveniently after another act. The first of these was Charles Bradley who, despite his relatively advanced years, provided incredible energy and charm but in a very different way to that Bloc Party and Foals and his upbeat soul combined with stage presence captivated an audience at the vast Main Stage early on Saturday afternoon.

Later that day a friend asked me to see a very different group, Clean Bandit. The rising electronic-pop quartet played the Lake Stage which created a much more intimate setting for their seemingly strong core of fans. A mix of impressive vocals and electric instrumentals to fire up the crowd created a highly entertaining performance. Also worth mentioning was James Blake who, as part of the popular and diverse Sunday line-up was on before the likes of Rudimental, Disclosure and of course Foals. The singer-songwriter’s brand of soulful, electronic pop provided a wonderfully relaxed scene as temperatures once again soared under the afternoon Sun and although many could be seen to drift off periodically Blake was extremely well received.

Another vital, but less publicised part of the festival was the late night entertainment; as soon as the headline acts finished on the main stage, the crowds flocked to the iArena and into the woods to take in the wide array of DJ set which ran long into the night. This provided yet another new atmosphere with a more enclosed nightclub feel and a much more boisterous crowd as alcohol consumption peaked.

As if all that music wasn’t enough to keep you entertained, the Faraway Forest, Alcove and ever popular Poetry and Comedy tents were also available for exploration. The Forest in particular was a necessity to see at least once for any Latitude-goer as the eclectic mix of entertainments make visitors question their eyesight, sobriety and sanity. My highlight of this collection was a dome which, from inside, created the optical illusion of being completely spherical and in which around 100 radios tuned to different stations were played simultaneously.

All in all the experience was an amazing one, the weather was incredible, if more than a little dry (it never rains on Latitude!) I discovered a huge amount of music saw some brilliant live shows and was swept away by a whole new atmosphere and energy.