Latitude Festival 2016

Unlike the poor Glasto crowd, Latitude 2016 attendees were blessed with brilliant British sunshine for the 2016 edition of the festival. Henham Park in Suffolk was looking its finest for the 11th year of Latitude, a festival which celebrates the best music, comedy, dance, theatre, film, cabaret, science, art and poetry.

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We lugged our tents, sleeping bags and provisions to the campsite, enviably passing the charming field of striped boutique tents. Thanks to my convenient pop-up tent, it took a matter of minutes to set up my little temporary home.

Latitude Festival 2016

It is impossible not to smile walking through the Latitude entrance gates, the cheerful neon pink sheep greet you as you walk over the bridge into a fairground of activities, food stalls and stages and tented arenas.

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French band Christine and the Queens performed on the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage on Friday, and was a real highlight for me. She mesmerised the enthusiastic audience with her unique dance routines and catchy pop tunes. Grimes performed a triumphant set on this stage too with her inimitable sound and impressive vocals.

Latitude Festival 2016

On the main stage headliners included The Maccabees, The National and New Order, who each illustrated the variety and range of their music with long 90 minute sets. The music didn’t cease till 3am and I had great fun dancing along to rave karaoke in the Cabaret tent.

Latitude Festival 2016

The comedy tent was always busy, despite the great weather, and was jolly and rumbling with laughter. On Saturday I watched Joe Lycett perform a wonderfully risqué set, walking amongst the audience and picking out people to victimise to rapturous applause.

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It is difficult to eat badly at Latitude with the huge variety of delicious cuisines dotted around the fields. I was delighted to discover Blixen were setting up a temporary restaurant serving indulgent brunch classics, filling lunch plates, dinner feasts, great coffee and cocktails. I popped over for an exotic juice, strong coffee and stack of waffles with fruit on the Sunday morning. It was as tasty as it looked, and definitely made me forget I was eating at a festival. Good and Proper Tea Co are one of my go-to breakfast cafes in London so I was glad to wake up in the morning with their fragrant brew and a cheesy marmite crumpet.

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Other foodie favourites at the festival included rich and creamy ‘Don Macaroni’ from Anna Mae’s truck, and the amazingly inventive Pan-n-Ice ice-creams, which I’m hoping will make an appearance in London soon.

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It is rare to find a festival with such a variety of acts and talents, Latitude caters to creative people of all ages and interests, a cultural weekend unlike any other.

More information on Latitude Festival 2016 here.

Thoroughly Modern Milly travelled to Latitude Festival with Abellio Greater Anglia trains, London Liverpool Street to Diss.

Abellio Greater Anglia offers Advanced Fares from just £9 one way. If you travel on the day for that last minute day out, you can still purchase a great value Off-Peak return ticket, and children aged between five and 15 also travel for just £2 (£2 tickets only available to purchase at the station). See for more information.

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.

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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.

Latitude Festival 2012

After a treacherous and frustrating journey and an unnecessary mission to collect tickets, we arrived inside the gates of Latitude Festival… all slightly frazzled from the time-consuming organisational fiasco. The weather was bleak but dry and we wandered across the grass in search of food and musical inspiration.

This was my third year at Latitude Festival, but my first time as a day guest… no camping to endure but inevitably a lot of good music missed. 2012’s line-up was, in my eyes, the best yet, with a score of ace acts up performing each and every day. Friday was the must see bill for me, with Janelle Monae strutting her stuff on the main stage and Bon Iver headlining, not forgetting a little set from new icon Lana del Rey.

The venue was teeming with people – in its seven years of existence the crowd of Latitudees has increased from 4,000 to 35,000 and nowadays it certainly feels like a squeeze. My festival advice to you: decide on a few acts you want to see get there 20 minutes early for a good spot and prepare to be squashed.

The day had its highs and lows. I had a particularly unpleasant experience at the female urinals: it just doesn’t seem fair to queue for half an hour for such an ordeal… after attempting and failing to use the designated funnel I had to rejoin the queue, this time for normal toilets. That’s the last time I make that mistake.

Starving from the journey we wolfed down stone-baked made to order, and rather delicious, pepperoni pizzas and set off for the main stage. Amadou and Mariam triumphed with a soulful and charismatic set, colourful in costume and jubilant in mood, the crowd danced joyfully in the mud.

Before returning to the Word tent for a nostalgic set from Dexys, I thought I should see what else was on offer. Don Paterson’s poetry was particularly touching though the Literary tent’s offerings were less inspiring. I had a great chat with the Emerald City girls… we bonded over our specially designed Tatty Devine necklaces and talked about fabulous Stylist magazine.

Thankfully Janelle Monae’s magnificent showcase made the tiring journey to Latitude entirely worth the hassle… the stage and band were dressed in elegant black and white and after a grand introduction from her teammates Janelle entered concealed beneath a black cloak. Aside from her obvious talent as a singer and dancer, this young performer certainly knows how to work the crowd. Her set consisted of popular tracks from her own repertoire, of which ‘Tightrope’ was my highlight, but also a few exemplary covers… including Jackson Five’s ‘I want you back’. She exhibited endless energy and a personality that you can’t help but fall in love with. Towards the end of the set she managed to coax the whole audience into sitting on the floor, only allowing us up to dance when she felt the anticipation had reached its peak! As if the performance hadn’t been exciting enough, for the final farewell Janelle lunged into the crowd for a brief crowd surf!

As expected Lana del Rey was rather a limp and lazy disappointment, although her performance here was marginally better than the flop at Lovebox… and she still managed to pack out the Word tent with her desperately loyal fans. Another round of food and it was back to the main stage for the final act, Bon Iver. I have always liked his music but this show exceeded my expectations, a spectacular light show accompanied his passionate and sincere music, it was incredibly atmospheric.

As we walked wearily out, we witnessed the magical scenes that appear as darkness falls at Latitude… Pagan ritualistic fire parades, actors and performers everywhere asserting their creativity and involving the guests in their fun. For a day trip from London, Latitude is a huge effort but to see an unforgettable star like Janelle Monae, I would definitely do it all over again.

Massive thanks to my dad for driving us all the way there and back.