Queen of the Arts festivals, Latitude has attitude: it’s cool, liberal and artistic. It also attracts the cream of musical and comedy talent, as well as critically acclaimed dance performances.
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 that will have every age group jumping for joy all weekend long.
Beyond the amazing headline acts, there’s DJ’ing for Dads, a Family Film Club and a silent disco, as well as The National Theatre performances of The Cat In The Hat, Greenpeace survival skills workshops for kids, plus an Animation Workshop where teens can start creating their future Academy Award winners
Held in the peaceful village of Beccles in Suffolk, the festival is managed by Festival Republic, which also has Reading and Leeds festivals under its belt. Which probably explains the slick, all-encompassing programme of acts for the Latitude weekend.
Musical Maestros Highlights include Alison Moyet, Chrissie Hynde, Röyksopp and Robyn, The Black Keys, Two Door Cinema Club, Kelis, Bondax, Dave Seaman, Bombay Bicycle Club, Marika Hackman and Anna Calvin to name but a few.
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 even a creative debate.
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); 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; Lavish Lounge as well as kids areas aplenty.
- Arranged around the picturesque banks of the central lake is the incredible Kids’ Area, where children entertained day and night with everything from pond dipping and star gazing to crafting funky headdresses, French knitting and pizza making workshops, sticker art, sculpting willow branches and giant model making
- Books play a key part for Latitude Kids with Suffolk Libraries and Macmillan’s Children’s Books bringing along The Gruffalo. Watch out for those “terrible claws”…
- Cultureworks East have workshops including comic book design, animation and photography, beat boxing, music production, DJing and MCing to fashion and design.
- In The News Room, young people can become Latitude Young Reporters in music, photography, print and TV Journalism workshops. There’s a performance stage as well as a parent-pen.
- Angel Gardens host an evening programme for little festie folk. Starting with a family friendly kids disco in the Kid’s Theatre Tent, things move on with storytelling and songs around the campfire, followed by a circus performance finale.
- At the Inbetweeners’ Teen Area, older kids can take part in music, media, fashion and technology workshops, or tackle wildlife survival skills and assault courses suspended in the trees for a high-adventure adrenalin rush.
- The Jam Hub will allow young people to perform and jam out ideas using electric guitars, keyboards, bass and drums. Or they can join the orchestra on I-pad or instrument.
- The Talent Studio runs musical theatre workshops with performers from top West End shows.
- For theatre, enjoy one of the many amazing shows on offer: Snickelway Theatre Company’s new festival show for children, Mr Marvolio’s Time Travelling Circus; The National Theatre’s performance of The Cat in the Hat; TongueTied Theatre’s The Revenge of Mr Trout!, and a new comedy from The Playground Theatre Company marking Bill’s 450th birthday! Join Shakespeare and meet his vilest villains, loveliest lovers, funniest fools, and wisest wizards!
- Noisy Toys is a unique interactive installation and the visitors are in control…Music Scientists and Noise Technicians will show you what to do while Booming, Bleeping, Zapping, Squeaking, Farting, 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+), £190.50 | 13–15 year-olds, £140.50 | 5-12 year-olds, £5 | Under-5, Free
Photography Credit: Danny North | Pooneh Ghana (‘Woodlands’) | Jen O’Neil (‘Diner’)
See more family friendly Festivals in the UK for 2014