If you like your festival with attitude, Latitude is for you. Celebrating a decade of grooving, this Queen of the Arts festivals is cool, liberal and artistic. It also attracts the cream of musical and comedy talent.
With a capacity of 35,000, Latitude is by no means a bijou affair, yet it has regularly been shortlisted for Best Family Festival at the UK Festival Awards and was awarded the top title in 2012. Why? Because it’s jam-packed with amazing activities and events to dazzle every age group.
For children, the two main attractions are the Kids’ Area, which features some of the most creative, wild and adventurous activities from the local area and around the country, and the Inbetweeners’ Area for hipsters aged 12+, who are invited to delve into the woods to uncover a cool world of music, media, technology, wildlife survival skills and assault courses suspended in the trees!
New for 2015 is the Enchanted Garden situated in the Family Campsite area. Open from 9am, it’s perfect for those early risers, and will play host to a range of activities from arts and crafts to live jamming sessions. Teensy thespians can release their inner Bard with Have A Go Shakespeare, while fans of slapstick will savour the crazy antics of comedy trio Silly Train Theatre and their high-energy interactive sketch show Biff! Bash! Bosh! Expect generous helpings of custard pies – but not much eating!
2015 marks Latitude’s 10th anniversary, and the party is gonna be rockin’ all weekend long. As well as the top-notch musical line-up, there’s DJ’ing for dads, jamming sessions for the kids and even a silent disco. For the first time ever, festival goers will also be able to swim in the lake and
hop in a hot tub to soak up the atmosphere of the idyllic setting.
Held at the peaceful village of Beccles in Suffolk in a lush green expanse, dotted with the famous rainbow coloured sheep (achieved through vegetable dye and PETA approved), Latitude is managed by Festival Republic, which also has Reading and Leeds festivals under its belt. Which probably explains the slick, all-encompassing programme.
Musical Maestros Headlining the weekend are ex-Oasis Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Portishead, Manic Street Preachers and Alt-J. Other performers include Caribou, Wild Bests, Femi Kuti and the Positive Force, James Blake, Laura Marling, Lianne La Havas, Jose Gonzalez, Benjamin Booker, JP Cooper, Jon Hopkins, The Vaccines, SBTRKT, The 2 Bears, Clark and Duke Garwood.
Featured Fun Boasting the biggest names in comedy, theatre, dance, film, cabaret, literature and performance, Latitude is unrivalled for the breadth, depth and quality of its arts programming. Festivellers can look forward to late night parties, a mini marathon, wine tasting, Venetian gondola rides, a woodland cinema and debates. The Comedy Stages has some big names, including Jason Manford, Alan Davies, Jon Richardson and The Last Leg Live with Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker, as well as rising stars and sketch shows. Simon Armitage, Michael Rosen and Molly Naylor are just some of the poets performing.
The Zones There are no fewer than 17 arenas, stages and spaces, including: The Obelisk Arena (main stage with headline acts); BBC Radio 6 Music Stage (big name alternative acts); I Arena (for ‘next big thing’ bands in an intimate setting); The Lake Stage (new bands on an outdoor stage and a shimmering backdrop); The Alcove; Comedy Arena; Cabaret Arena; Theatre Arena; The Waterfront Stage; Film & Music Arena; Poetry Arena; Pandoras Playground; In The Woods; The Faraway Forest; The Scoundrel’s Hollow; The Bayou Ballroom and Lavish Lounge, as well as kids areas aplenty.
- Wildlife, weird science and adventure awaits as kids learn how our world works, from unearthing creepy-crawlies in the soil to seeking out the farthest star in the universe. With plenty of enthusiastic experts on hand (from the Zoological Society of London, Suffolk Wildlife Trust and the Forensics Lab of Teeside University), kids can learn survival skills, including traditional fire-making, then top it all off by relaxing by the campfire for a spot of al fresco cooking!
- Books play a key part for Latitude Kids with Suffolk Libraries and Macmillan’s Children’s Books offer the chance to Go Down The Rabbit Hole, part of the 150th celebrations of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Join the tea party, go on a storytelling adventure through Wonderland with the Mad Hatter, play flamingo croquet and craft your very own pocket watch so you’re never late for your very important date.
- For the thrill of live theatre performance, enjoy one of the many amazing shows on offer: The Mighty Prince and Other Fabulous Fables is based on five ‘Jataka Tales’ from the Buddhist tradition akin to Aesop’s fables; the robotic Steampunk Pirates’ interactive show promises fancy dress, crazy props, music and story-telling, while Something Else is a delightful adaptation of the well-loved children’s book by Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell; Snickelway Theatre Company’s Grimm and Co’s Spectacular Story Machine is an interactive comedy where the audience vote what madcap direction the story takes, and we’re all most intrigued by the prospect of The Tap Dancing Mermaid. The Talent Studio runs Glee-style musical theatre workshops with performers from top West End shows.
- Noisy Toys is a unique interactive installation where visitors are in control, with music scientists and noise technicians on hand to show you what to do while booming, bleeping, zapping, squeaking and screeching fills the air!
Chill Out Time The Self Centre in Bury St. Edmunds will be running Latitude Yoga in the Family Campsite, providing an oasis of calm for you to chill out in. Classes are available for adults, kids, toddlers and babies throughout the day.
Dining Tables The food catering here ranges from salad bars, tapas, burger joints and pizza places to doughnuts, pie stalls, olive bars, bbq stalls, wraps and fruit and yoghurt providores. There is food from all ends of the globe – Caribbean, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Mexican, Thai – as well as options for vegetarians and vegans, as well as organic and gluten free foods. A range of local farm, dairy and bakery produce is available at the Village Shop, and The Tuck Shop in the Family Campsite will be stocked throughout the day.
Happy Campers Beyond the general pitching up of tents, Latitude offers a whole range of boutique camping packages, from tipis to hotel rooms, as well as a Family Campsite (for those with children under 16) with early morning activities and easy access to the Kids’ Area, alongside superb facilities, from flushing loos with a dedicated ‘clean team’ to hot showers, washing up facilities and more. There’s also a Family Campsite Tuck Shop stocked with goodies for the whole family.
THE PRICE TAG
Full Weekend Adult (16+), £200.50 | 13–15 year-olds, £140.50 | 5-12 year-olds, £8 | Under-5, Free
Photography Credit: Rebecca Naen, Mark Sethi, Sydney Bernstein, Jack Pasco
*** Want to see more family-friendly festivals for 2015. Check out our 12 We Love… Summer Festivals round-up ***