Latitude Festival 2016, Preview

Latitude has always been one of my favourite summer festivals. Now in its 11th year, Latitude Festival is showing no signs of slowing down with an exciting summer line up of music, comedy and arts events to thrill and inspire creative festival-goers. This year’s event takes place from Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th July 2016 in the idyllic grounds of Henham Park, Suffolk.

Latitude FestivalLatitude FestivalLatitude Festival

The weekend will showcase and celebrate some of the biggest names in the performing arts world, from comedians to poets, bands to cabaret. Unlike some other festivals, Latitude manages to cater to all ages, with acts to suit every generation. This year, headliners include The Maccabees and New Order while talented artists like Beirut and Chet Faker will be taking some of the early evening slots. Needless to say there is a real range of genres and styles on offer, so whether you want to sunbathe on the grass or dance around like crazy, there will be plenty to please.

The comedy line-up is particularly appetising with Russell Howard, Reggie Watts and Josh Widdicombe, to name just a few. Sadler’s Wells will be gracing the Waterfront stage wilth beautifully choreographed dance routines, and those who like to party late can enjoy DJ sets from Guilty Pleasures and Disco Shed among others.

Latitude Festival

Long gone are the festival days when you have to accept an overpriced greasy burger for dinner in between band sets. Speciality food trucks and culinary treats are available throughout the grounds from coffee vans to homemade ice-cream. This year, Latitude welcome a spa, Solas, an oasis of calm where you can book in a festival facial or relaxing foot spa. Manicures, pedicures and nail art are also available, so you can coordinate your nails with your festival outfits.

Latitude Festival

As I’ve been to Latitude before I can truly vouch for decent shower and loo facilities, but if you get really hot and sweaty you could always jump in the idyllic lake… or stay dry and enjoy a free boat ride instead.

Weekend and day tickets are available to buy for Latitude Festival 2016 here.

Wilderness Festival 2014, Cornbury Park

I spent the whole of Monday feeling gloomy and down, which I now realise was Wilderness withdrawal symptoms. It was my first time at this imaginative festival which celebrates food, music, literature, fashion, crafts and nature. In existence for a few years now this boutique event is steadily growing to meet demand, but despite the 29,999 other guests I did not feel cramped or crushed by crowds, in fact queues barely exist here. The secret? Everything is worth experiencing so there’s never a squash to try the best food or listen to the best music, the festival-goers are evenly spread amongst the tents and stages.

Wilderness takes places in Cornbury Park, near to Oxford and just 90 minutes drive from London. There is also an affordable and speedy train which delivers you there in just over an hour. We arrived late afternoon on Friday to set up our tent, though some had come to nab the best spots on Thursday. Wellies on and glitter applied, we set off to discover the wilderness.

This festival truly embraces the quirks of the countryside; stages are cleverly  placed at the foot of hills (to increase viewing possibilities) and the lake and valley are put to good use with swimmers splashing about throughout the weekend and parties being held amongst the unruly foliage.

I had jotted down a few acts I was keen to see and food outlets I wanted to try, but aside from that let myself be relaxed and ruled by chance. There are numerous free activities to take part in: I made a lovely hand stitched leather Mulberry bracelet, glazed a ceramic bowl, created a floral headdress with Accessorize and even carved my own wooden spoon in the Victorinox tent.

Food is extremely well represented at Wilderness Festival. Magnificent 10-course feasts are put on by the UK’s finest foodies: Angela Hartnett presented an Italian banquet whilst Moro held a dinner of sherry and Middle Eastern recipes. Other chefs, like the Saltyard Group’s Ben Tish, host cookery classes to teach particular techniques and styles of cooking. If you couldn’t afford these pricey options there were plenty of cheaper but equally flavoursome alternatives. We ate a scrumptious bacon butty at Hix and tried the revered donuts at St John. I excitedly tried to sample as many of the other vendors too; strong roasted coffee from Allpress was a blessing in the mornings, burgers from Bleecker Street were unmissable and pear and pink peppercorn ice-cream from Ginger’s Comfort Emporium provided the perfect dessert.

To drink, guests have a daunting choice. Laurent Perrier‘s whimsical Orangery had a selection of sparkling cocktails for a special treat whilst Zubrowka taught us about the history of the famous Polish spirit whilst mixing fruity cocktails for us to try.

Musical highlights included Gregory Porter‘s soulful set – his smooth voice paired beautifully with his virtuosic sax player’s runs. Joan as Policewoman gave a sterling performance with her devoted 3-piece band; I loved The Magic with a rising arpeggio sequence very similar to JT’s Cry me a River. She finished with a particularly heartfelt rendition of classic acapella with her team. It was very special to see artists new and old thrill the crowd; Saturday night saw Burt Bacharach majestically entertain us with a set list of renowned classics, of which Raindrops keep falling on my head was especially relevant. On Sunday night younger, more mainstream star Sam Smith sung with sparkling tone and unfaltering commitment even as the rain soaked the audience.

Wilderness is about so much more than the music, you turn every corner to find a new curious and creative surprise, whether it be trapeze artists tumbling through the air, Shakespeare enthusiasts reciting sonnets, a white-clad cricket match or simply a sunset yoga class to get involved in. You will leave Wilderness feeling inspired, more knowledgeable and enthused about life. The early bird ticket offer for 2015 is now available, join the sequined brigade and buy a ticket here.

More information and book ticket for Wilderness 2015 here.