I’ve just got back from Latitude 2019 and I wanted to share my photos and festival highlights with you today. I had an amazing time, laughed my socks off and soaked up the creative atmosphere so here’s what I got up to and the performers I recommend from this year’s festival…
You may already know that I’m a comedy buff so I only really go to Latitude for the fantastic line up of comics. You’ll pretty-much find me in the comedy tent all weekend, unless I’m browsing the schedule and spot a comedy show on another stage.
I have to admit, I’m rather out of touch with music, although I did see some fantastic performers this weekend. It was pretty cool to see Neneh Cherry rocking the main stage on Friday evening – ‘Buffalo Stance’ is more my era of music than Chvrches!
I also thoroughly enjoyed watching George Ezra’s set on Friday night. As a Radio 2 listener, I get to hear a lot of his songs on the radio, and I was surprised at just how many tunes I recognised and could sing along to. It was just such a happy, uplifting gig and it finished with a firework finale – something I’ve never seen at Latitude festival before. I like to think that when he sang “Cassy O” he was asking me not to leave on the earlier shuttle bus..!
Which, by the way, was a fantastic service. I used the shuttle bus on Friday and Sunday, which made my journey to and from the festival so much more relaxing. It was simply a case of hopping on the bus, paying my £5 return fair and being whisked through the usual festival traffic into the site’s drop-off point. No queuing on the A12, no parking, no long walks across fields to reach the arena – SO convenient.
Anyway, back to the music. We also watched The Kingdom Choir on Sunday – you know, the choir who performed at Price Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding last year. We heard the start of the set across the festival field and ran over to join in with the clapping and dancing. A wonderful way to start the final day of the festival.
But the main reason that I go to Latitude festival each year is to watch hour upon hour of comedy and scope out new comic talent. Based on what I see in the comedy tent at Latitude, I plan out my whole year of entertainment!
Sure, there are plenty of headline acts that you’ll have heard of before – this year it was Michelle Wolf, Jason Manford and the person who first got me hooked on comedy in the 90s Frank Skinner. But, seeing as I’m in the comedy tent for most of the day, watching whoever comes on stage, I might discover a new favourite. If a comedian I’ve never makes me laugh at the festival, I do my research and book to see them on tour during the following year.
This time, I was super-impressed by Maisie Adam and will definitely be on the look out for future performances by her. We not only watched her in the comedy arena on Friday morning, but she also popped up in AMUSICAL in the Cabaret Theatre later that evening, with Jayde Adams and Kiri Pritchard-McLean. She was singing a duet from Grease as both Danny AND Sandy in competition against Marcus Brigstocke and Sindhu Vee. It was incrediable – and we whooped and cheered for Maisie to win the contest, which she did, wooo!
That’s another thing to note if you’re on the look out for comedy at Latitude festival – check ALL the stages. I spotted that Flo and Joan were playing in the Cabaret Theatre on Friday afternoon and decided to give up my spot in the comedy arena to see them instead. I first saw them at HighTide festival last year, went to see them at Norwich Playhouse at the end of 2019 and have already booked for their new tour later this year, so you could call me a fan!
In the Cabaret Theatre I also watched Anna Mann’s Cheese and Sex Party, and CBBC favourite Johnny Cochrane and Christopher Bliss, who also popped up on the stage in The Speakeasy prior to the recording of the Talk Art podcast with Russell Tovey and Robert Diament. Their surprise special guest was Deborah Frances-White of The Guilty Feminist. I was delighted because I’d failed to get into the Theatre tent for her show earlier in the day but now I had an almost-front- row seat to hear her discussing art.
Also in The SpeakEasy we watched one of my favourite poets Luke Wright on Friday afternoon. That’s another performer that I’ve followed since seeing him as a compare in the Literature tent at previous Latitude festivals, and then booked to go to his show at HighTide last year. I find his poetry funnier than some comedy, and his univocalic poetry is incredibly clever.
I was enthralled by acclaimed poet and lyricist Simon Armitage performing his poems on Sunday evening. This year’s SpeakEasy line-up made realise that I am a huge fan of spoken poetry, even though I rarely sit down to read it. It’s thanks to Latitude festival that I discovered this passion through watching Luke Wright, John Cooper Clarke, Roger Lloyd Pack and Simon Armitage perform their poems over previous years in The SpeakEasy and the Poetry tent.
A new stage that I really enjoyed at this year’s festival is The Listening Post. It’s a small stage in a vaulted marquee in the Faraway Forest, with a carpeted floor and cosy feel. And it’s where the magic happens. I’m talking about podcasts, of course! I watched a few being recorded over the course of the weekend. Whenever there was a lull in the comedy/literature/theatre schedule I headed over to The Listening Post to catch whatever podcast was being recorded at the time.
This is where unexpected guests will pop up on stage to appear on the podcast, so I had a chance to see Tom Parry as part of mystery podcast Mystery on the Rocks. I had also ‘starred’ The Cinemile in the app as I liked the sound of the podcast and was surprised when it turned into an interview with the Oscar-winning director of Maradona (which was showing in the film theatre over the weekend) Senna and Amy, Asif Kapadia. I actually missed another show I’d ‘starred’ because Dave and Cathy’s podcast recording was so interesting.
I realise that I haven’t reviewed much of the comedy so far – but I have told you where to look to see unexpected superstar performers at close range! Nonetheless, here are my top tips for comedy after watching them at the festival: Tom Allen had me laughing from beginning to the end of Sunday morning set. I could barely breathe while crying with laughter at Nick Helm’s rock-star performance. I can’t wait to see his tour (yes, I already have tickets booked!)
Katherine Ryan’s Glitter Room show was hilarious to for someone like me who hasn’t already watched her on Netflix. And I just like Nish Kumar as a person. We bumped into him in the festival field last year and what a lovely fella he is. And Frank Skinner is my old-school comedy hero from my childhood so I was expecting a lot – and he delivered.
So that’s all from Latitude 2019. By the way, do you recognise the umbrellas and helter skelter from the film Yesterday? It was filmed at Latitude 2018 and Richard Curtis did a Q&A in the Music & Film Arena at this year’s festival. Cool, huh?
This year the weekend tickets completely sold out before the event so, if you’re planning to go to Latitude 2020, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the Latitude website, join the mailing list for updates and book as soon as tickets go on sale. And if you were there at Latitude 2019 let me know what your highlights were in the comments below 🙂
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.