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13 November 2014

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Latitude Festival

You are in: Suffolk > Entertainment > Latitude Festival > Latitude 2006: Friday

Snow Patrol

Snow Patrol

Latitude 2006: Friday

Snow Patrol, The Zutons and The Lemonheads played to a packed main tent in the first day of the first ever Latitude Festival in Suffolk. The weather gods were smiling on Henham Park near Southwold, although all the acts appear in a variety of tents.

Having visited the Rous family's Henham estate for the press preview a couple of months ago, the first thing that struck me was how much work and effort actually goes into making a festival happen.

The Mean Fiddler obviously have vast experience at putting festivals on, but Latitude seems to have lots of extra little touches.  We were treated to a new bridge across the lake, multi-coloured dyed sheep (real ones!), a plethora of picnic tables, flags, night time lighting and, of course, the collection of tents ranging in size from the small one for poetry to the big top for the main acts which looked like it could hold around 5,000 people.

Multi-coloured sheep

Those multi-coloured sheep

The toilets (usually the most horrific thing about a festival) seemed to be holding out, but I wondered why they didn't have separate urinals for men, which would have halved the queues for the loos. 

There's the usual variety of food stalls catering for veggies as well as carnivores, and the bars didn't have any irritating token-system and service was pretty swift.

In fact the whole thing didn't feel as blatantly commercial as, say, the Isle Of Wight which I went to in 2005.  Security seemed pretty relaxed and I didn't spot a policeman all day.

All in all it's a dashed civilised affair attracting a lot of families. Many small children were in evidence on their parents' shoulders bopping along to Snow Patrol at the close of play.

The entertainment

There are nine tented arenas covering comedy, music, theatre, literature and cabaret so it's impossible to see everything.

I started off at the comedy tent with Dan Antopolski who treated us to a set of tongue-in-cheek intellectual sweary patter - some of it missing, but most of it hitting.

I then concentrated on the main Obelisk Arena.  Vega 4 kicked things off.  They're spoken highly of by Snow Patrol and they seem to be going for the same sound.  The crowd hadn't really arrived in force yet - so they played to around 500 people.

Norwich band Cord seemed to have a strong level of support with them - but their brand of indie guitar rock didn't particularly excite me.  They made the amusing error of saying how great it was to be playing a festival in Norfolk, before realising that they were south of the border.

Stephen Fretwell didn't play his big hit 'Emily', but he's clearly got a lot more to him than writing a simple love song.

The Pipettes

The Pipettes in matching cardie mode

I made a detour to the Uncut tent to watch The Pipettes who seem to be causing quite a stir ahead of the release of their debut album.  They're three sexy and sassy young ladies attempting to revive the classic 60s girl group in their polka dresses and dance moves.  Highly entertaining and probably leaving most of the chaps in the audience dreaming wistfully after singing their slap-in-the-face ditty "One Night Stand."  Could be the antidote to the Pussycat/Girls Aloud brand of girl groups?  Certainly enough to brighten a summer's day even further!

The headliners

The night was rounded off by three great performances in the Big Top.  The Lemonheads played a string of their early-90s faves such as 'It's A Shame About Ray' with their newer stuff and they're clearly held in a lot of affection.

The Zutons star continues to rise with their second album.  They seem to be everywhere at the moment, but thankfully they were here as well.  Their pop songs such as 'Why Won't You Give Me Your Love' and 'Valerie' had the audience eating out their hands.  Their energy, and of course Abi's short dress, created a great atmosphere, but it tailed off a bit with the instrumental jazz odyssey they closed their show with.

The Zutons appearance seemed to limit the interest in Scritti Politti who was close to finishing as I wandered through a sparsely populated Uncut tent on the way to the loos. The now-bearded Green was indeed wearing a green jacket, but didn't seem to be going down that well and the vibe from the Main tent wasn't in evidence here.

Snow Patrol closed things off and by this time the tent was full and you got a sense that the organisers had got the 10,000-plus crowd they were hoping for.  As is traditional the headliners seem to get the best deal with the lighting which suddenly went intergalactic. 

The band's set was drawn from the breakthrough 'Final Straw' album and the new one 'Eyes Open' and their anthems of heartbreak filled the tent.  Singer Gary Lightbody seemed in jovial mood having recovered from the loss of his voice and the band worked the stage and crowd with consummate ease.  (click on the link for an pre-performance interview with Snow Patrol's Nathan Connolly)

Entertainment continued into the early hours with the cheesy Guilty Pleasures disco and an indie-ish disco in the wooded area, but most people seemed to have returned to the campsite or gone home.

The weather looks like holding out for the weekend, and the organisers must be delighted with their creation which offers an incredible range of entertainment.

last updated: 17/11/2008 at 14:31
created: 15/07/2006

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I've now been to two Latitude festivals but 2009 was probably better. Out of the two, Blondie was the best (2008), but The Early Edition was one of my favourites!! I thought it was packed last year, but this time, there was so many people, you could hardly run! As this is the only festival I've been to, I thought it was pretty rowdy, but lots of the performers were always saying what a nice crowd we were! Also, everyone's so helpful. Although when I um... got lost and asked an information person for help, they said they could only help children. I'm just glad I'm only 12 and now not so sure about Glastonbury...! Apart from the horrific loos, it was phenomenal! I can't WAIT for next year!

Tim McD
Absolutely superb festival-great for kids too! The Battersea Pies were awesome- can't wait for 2009.

Awesome weekend, most relaxed atmosphere i've ever come across, mostly due to the non commercial approach i think. Shame that there weren't enough bins for such an eco-friendly fest. great food and people, dont change it!

How was Damien Rice? Anybody see His act?

joe k
i'm only 12 and i really enjoyed going to the latitude festival and i plan to continue going for further years

tim daclebury

Will McAllister
This was a hell of a memorable weekend don't think I have had one better! Live in Wangford which is a short trek from Henham, and this is the best thing to happen in this area, really puts Suffolk on the map. Can't wait for this years festival...

sarah (appently the saucy fairy on sats gallery)
latitude festival was truly one of the nicest festivals with the best atmoshphere relaxed and every1 so friendly. All the acts were very good..loved the poetry in the morning recovering! wayhey hopes to come back next year!

andrew sonn
Excellent festival- so glad to be away from the usual chart crap. I'm old enough to remember when indie meant indie! The site was a doddle to manage compared to Glastonbury, and the mix of music, poetry, comedy etc. was spot-on. My only complaints are: The sound on the Obelisk (main) stage was way too low. During Anthony and the Johnsons, you could hear half the audience talking over him, reducing the whole experience to a pub gig. My other gripe is that you could not take alcohol from the camping area to the main music area- there was a bag search every time. I know traders have to protect their revenue, but it was hell smuggling that bottle of port in my trousers each night. Out of all the new festivals that have sprung up to fill the gap left back Glastonbury, I reckon this one will definitely flourish and grow- it has found itself a niche that (for me) represents the bext aspects of Glastonbury. Definitely going next year.

Steve F
A crowd of us descended on Henham Park on the Friday - all we can say is 'Long Live Latitude' !! Very well organised, great headlining acts and very impressive lesser known bands. We're now Vega 4 converts! 3 day weekend for us next year and only 20 mins down the road! Big thanks to all involved for a great day.

Tracey, Alan, Jade & Jordan
Absolutely fantastic. First festival we've been to, and were unsure about taking the kids (8 & 11), but they loved it, & came away with a drumstick and setlist from Snow Patrol which was well deserved after standing at the front of the main stage from 3pm until nearly midnight. They have plans on us taking them again next year.

gillian and andy
absolutely brilliant, we were warned about festivals, by our children (16,26 and 25) toilets general mayhem etc. All the touches at the latitude festival were superb please may there be many more. Perhaps mighty boosh and Leonard Cohen next year. Truly thanks.

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