LATITUDE

Dates: 12th - 15th July 2018
Location: Henham Park, Suffolk

Ten years ago Latitude set out to become the UK’s first multi-arts boutique festival, and whilst it is no longer the only one, it still flies the flag for diversity in programming. Offering a varied collection of music, dance, cabaret, comedy, arts and literature, Latitude keeps everyone entertained, from small children, through to angsty teenagers, all the way to Pimm’s swilling parents and local Suffolk cider houndLatitude is run by Festival Republic; (also of Leeds and Reading Festivals) no strangers to the organisational mayhem, and also creative challenge, of curating a family favourite such as this one. It now expects over 30,000 people over the four days – described by Noel Gallagher as “Glastonbury’s amiable younger sibling”, it somehow retains a unique atmosphere that explains the all-and-sundry (in a good way!) make up of the audiences.

In 2015 it won ‘Best Line-up’ at the UK Festival Awards, and this wasn’t just for the music. As a festival it attracts both the cream of the crop and refreshing new artists – having headlined such big names as Snow Patrol, Paolo Nutini, Patti Smith, Arcade Fire, Ed Sheeran, Franz Ferdinand, Elbow, Pet Shop Boys, Regina Spektor, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Bon Iver, Laura Marling, Alt-J, Tom Jones and Bloc Party, you can be sure that you’re going to treated to a weekend of fantastic music. You may also find yourself witnessing the birth of a star in some of the smaller stages where lesser-known, though equally talented, artists perform.

From a comedy perspective, it attracts some of the funniest stand up comedians of the moment; again, both better and less known. Past examples include Michael Macintyre, Russel Kane, Steve Coogan, Jack Dee, Tim Minchin and Reginald D. Hunter, amongst many others. The program of other writers, scientists, poets and storytellers is equally stimulating. There are also dance shows, theatre performances and cabaret extravaganzas. As they themselves put it: “It’s a festival like no other; an intimate place that encourages you to be all that you’ve ever wanted to be; and indulge in spirit exploration and discovery.”

One of the most iconic images attached to Latitude is perhaps the marvellously multicoloured dyed sheep running around the place – kaleidoscopic mascots for the event’s enthusiastic explosion of colour and fun. Visitors are encouraged, if not outright expected, to go all out on the fancy dress front. Saturday night enjoys a particular theme – a little more highbrow than most – for instance, one year they had ‘Secrets and Lies’ as their subject; you’ll have to be imaginative but you have the opportunity to get really creative.

Die kinder are more than welcome too; if you’re coming as a family you will with absolute certainty find everyone’s needs met. There’s a kids area as well as an inbetweeners area – ranging from face painting and pond dipping to wildlife survival skills and assault courses in the woods; you won’t have to worry about any squeals of boredom. Throughout both the arena and all the campsites there will be food and drink available for purchase – and jolly delicious options, too. You won’t have to go far to find your sustenance.

Held in Henham Park, Suffolk, the site boasts a gorgeous country setting and plenty of big old shady trees, a glistening lake and easy accessibility. They have a firm belief and dedication to environmental awareness, bringing in re-usable beer cups and biodiesel in a bid to be greener, and have drastically reduced their CO2 emissions in the last four years.

In terms of your accommodation, well – you could bring your own tent, and put it up amongst the hordes of other self-campers, staggering past your tent and ripping up your guy lines and waiting in long lines for the loo. Or you could pick the boutique camping option – where all you have to do is turn up and enjoy your festival, living in the lap of luxury – hot showers, exclusivity and plenty of space.

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