Latitude Festival. What can I say about it really? If you’ve not already been to this festival on the Suffolk coast, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s got to be the most chilled out festival in the country. It’s great for kids, teens and adults. It actually looks magical, and is especially atmospheric at dusk. With music, theatre, comedy, dance and literature, there really is something for everyone. Fellow festival-goers are friendly and the famous folk wander around with the rest of us. And, for me, it’s one of the highlights of my year. So when the theatre line-up was announced yesterday, I knew I wanted to share the news with you all straight away. The great thing about Latitude is that they don’t announce all the acts at once. Instead the excitement builds as more and more performers sign up for the festival and details of new acts are released. Did you know there’s a Latitude Festival YouTube Channel? Videos include interviews with artists, films of the festivals and a spotlight on each of the stages. Keep an eye on their social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter too, as this is where all the current news and announcements will be shared first.Latitude’s curator of theatre arts, Tania Harrison, just announced this summer’s theme as ‘come the revolution’ and has invited artists and theatre companies from all around the world to explore the idea of revolution, social change and empowerment. Such performances can be found popping up all over the festival, with stories being told through dance on the Waterfront stage, opera and live art in the Faraway Forest and through variety performances in the Cabaret tent (my personal favourite).If you’ve read my reviews of Latitude over the years, you’ll know that the main reason that this festival is a must for me is the comedy. It’s always an exciting moment when the line-up of performers is announced, and I start planning my festival schedule accordingly. This year I’m excited to see Dara O’Briain – a comedian I’ve never seen live before but that I’ve enjoyed watching on Stargazing Live over the past few years. I’m also keen to see Katherine Ryan; I’ve seen her perform at Latitude in the past and I’ve been laughing-out-loud at her Netflix Original comedy show this month so I’m expecting great things from this comedian.
Now, here are my tips for what not to miss at Latitude 2017…
The comedy line-up at Latitude can be quite samey year-on-year and I think that’s because comedians love going to the festival so much that they sign up for every year! I know that Marcus Brigstocke has been there most years because I’ve bumped into him numerous times around the festival site. (And yes, he’s in the scheudule again this year – well, it wouldn’t be Latitude festival without Marcus, would it?!). The good news is that this year’s comedy line-up contains a whole host of comedians I’ve never seen at Latitude before. Along with some of my TV favourites, including Reginald D Hunter, Seann Walsh and Chris Ramsey.But, just as theatre performances can be found on other stages, comedy crops up in the most unlikely of places. I saw my hero Nick Helm performing in the Poetry tent a couple of years ago and Dave Gorman signed my book in the Literature tent back in the early years. In fact, the Literary and Poetry tent is one of my go-to places to hang out at the festival, because you never know what you’re going to see. Listening to (the late, great Trigger) Roger Lloyd-Pack reading poetry in the early years will stick in my mind forever, and the unexpected beat-boxing performance in 2015 was one of my all-time festival highlights.This year you won’t want to miss Ivo Graham. He’s a young comedian that I saw at Cambridge comedy club last year and he’s already popped up on numerous TV panel shows this year. I really enjoy the calm, low-key way he delivers a punchline with just a hint of a cheeky smile. Also, don’t miss Nish Kumar. He was the comedy compare at Latitude a couple of years ago and he controlled the crowd with ease, while making everyone feel happy and relaxed. There’s nothing better than a compare who can actually make you laugh between performances so I’m expecting good things from his own set.And the Chortle Student Comedy Awards is a great show to catch if you can. You get to see countless new comedians in a short space of time and it’s great when a performer you’ve seen at this early stage ends up with a glittering career and can be found in the main line-up a few years down the road.We only live ‘down the road’ from Henham park, which is the magnificent location that plays host to Latitude festival every year. Our close proximity doesn’t stop us from camping for the weekend though – that’s all part of the festival fun! Although this year, I’m already away on the first couple of days of the festival so I think that a day ticket is better suited for me this year – let’s just hope that the weather is a glorious as it was for the last few years!
I attended Latitude festival as a member of the press but was not asked to write this blog post. This piece contains my own opinions and experiences of the festival and I am not responsible for your experience of the event.