Sometimes, just sometimes, life contrives against us. You would think that, working in media, and not just any media, but entertainment media no less, and living in Suffolk that July would mean just one thing for me: Latitude. And yet I have never been. Suffolk’s biggest summer festival and I am still a Latitude virgin.
This year I intend to tick Latitude off my bucket list. The impression I had of Latitude was of this big brassy commercial festival, crowded with upwards of 40,000 young people, attracting the big names and slowing down traffic on the A12. Though in truth, it doesn’t take much to slow down traffic on the A12!
And yes, Latitude is big, but it has grown organically from the vision of some very passionate people.
In the surroundings of a converted stable block on the Henham Estate last Friday, one of those passionate people, the softly spoken Melvin Benn, introduced the press to what awaits us at the forthcoming 12th Latitude. What made me sit up and take notice was not the headline acts: The 1975, Mumford and Son and Fleet Foxes, no. It was something else that Melvin said… almost as an aside.
We are in our third year of the schools programme. Sharon has somehow managed to persuade Suffolk County Council that coming to a music festival can be part of an arts programme for schools. This year we have eight hundred 7 to 11 year olds from 24 schools coming to Latitude on the Friday as part of an arts project – can you believe it?
Well, yes, I can for this is what sets Latitude aside, it is not all about headline acts. There are seeds to be sown, new musicians to showcase, new fans to nurture, new experiences to be had.
Two of those new musicians were on hand to give us a sense of what Latitude is nurturing by giving them a stage – East Anglia’s own Bessie Turner who will play the Lake Stage on Friday 14th July and London based Lucy Rose who will grace the Obelisk Arena on Saturday 15th July. Two young women with different styles, whom I am sure we will hear far more about in years to come.
If you recently went to see Take That at Carrow Road or Sir Elton at Portman Road you will, I suspect have paid a hefty price to see them and their support acts. A weekend ticket to Latitude will cost just under £200 and with about 750 acts present that works out at about 26p per act. And before you try it on, no, turning up late on Sunday with 26p in your pocket will not get you in to see Fleet Foxes.
The Latitude line-up is quite extraordinary, in both depth of talent and sheer number of acts. On the day artists liaison teams will have their work cut out ensuring everyone is in the right place at the right time – click here for the full list of acts announced so far.
[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]Latitude takes place from Thursday 13th to Sunday 16th July at Henham Park near Southwold in Suffolk. To purchase tickets follow this link.[/box]