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Latitude Festival

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Bethan Elfyn Bethan Elfyn | 10:25 UK time, Wednesday, 21 July 2010

After another long drive through the night, I'm back from Latitude Festival in Suffolk, with many a pleasant memory of lost afternoons in the baking heat, of dusty walks throughout the woods, dancing till dawn, and - gulp - meeting SIR TOM JONES!

Latitude has grown in stature in the last five years and has an incredible reputation for interesting curation. It offers some of the best in the world in the arts: poetry, literature, comedy, and music.

For the past five years I've been invited by Huw Stephens to DJ with the Vinyl Vendettas on the wonderful open air Lake Stage, and it's always the highlight of the weekend for me: work, play and creative inspiration. Latitude festival always end up being so much more than a run-of-the-mill weekend experience.

This year's festival started with a 'secret' performance by Tom Jones on the Wood Stage, in the heart of the woods on the Thursday. Playing his new album Praise And Blame, Tom took in country, gospel and blues in a back-to-basic Johnny Cash-style. It's a much darker and more menacing Tom. Sadly there were still shouts for Sex Bomb but they were just going to have to wait.

After an amazing start to the festival, it was business as usual at Latitude on Friday. I walked around the site, through the woods, past the ballet on the waterfront stage, and through the Kids field, where the Insect Circus Museum caught my eye, and on to nose around Pandora's Playground which has nooks and crannies of activities buzzing around.

Then on, past the lovely milkshake stand, to the main stages. At Latitude I'm always camped around the Lake stage, and this year was no exception. Huw Stephens' curation of the Lake always provides some of the best new bands around and its great seeing them play to an enthusiastic crowd who are open minded and ready for anything.

Highlights of this stage over the weekend include Y Niwl, Yuck, Islet, Everything%20Everything, Teeth, Nedry, Sweet Baboo, Standard Fare, Frankie And The Heartstrings, Zun Zun Egui and Spectrals.

Over on the other stages I loved seeing Girls, Dirty Projectors, Race Horses and one of the most highly-anticipated shows of the weekend from The National in the Word arena.

In the cultural arena I managed to catch Jon Ronson reading extracts from his new book all about psychopaths, and as always he was really funny and entertaining and I heard a little of Bret Easton Ellis plugging his new novel and droning on about how life in NY got a bit 'boring', and Robin Ince's book club - a Latitude institution.

I'll be playing some of the bands I enjoyed watching on my show tonight (Wednesday 21 July) on BBC Radio One.

Here's some video clips from three of the Welsh bands I caught up with at Latitude; it's just my little backstage cam (on my phone) so the sound is is a bit rubbish I'm afraid. Enjoy.

Steve from Sweet Baboo:

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Bunter and Emma from Islet:

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Alun from Y Niwl:

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