Following the raucous and utterly trollied feel of T In The Park, the ‘brow’ of my summer of festivals made a giant leap upwards – not geographically, pedants! – to Latitude: the world’s finest in posh festivals.
It’s a resplendent site, is Henham Park; it has a lake, brightly-coloured sheep, knitting tents, modern art and poetry, cheese and wine for crying out loud – but not to fear, for what it’s also got is an excellent line-up and a brazen, excitable atmosphere.
The crowd is notably different at Latitude, for starters in its placid politeness. There’s silence in most zones of the audience while a band’s on, no matter the time of day – and the sound is incredible throughout the festival, loud and bassy where it demands and soft and reverby for the likes of The Leisure Society. And the highlights, as the setting and the crowd have set the scene for, are truly special. They’re to be found on the smaller stages, a neat walk across a lake from The National, Foals and Bright Eyes – who are all pretty spectacular – at Henham Park.
The intensely likeable Raghu Dixit Project (all the way from Bengaluru, southern India) are bold and entirely transfixing, with Raghu Dixit himself turning a sleepy 12pm crowd into a triumphant party. He’s now India’s biggest non-Bollywood artist, a former scientist who marries eastern and western folk tradition with some massive great hooks. There’s an electric violin and pogo-dancing in ‘Hey Bhangawan’ as the set proceeds, lying just underneath Dixit’s incredible vocal which browses a catalogue of styles without settling.
Another triumph is Glasser, a beautiful surprise – her 2010 album Ring suggests something colder and more glacial than her hypnotic performance provides. It’s minimal in how Cameron Mesirow silkily glides rather than does star-jumps through ‘Tremel’, but not the ice-box I’d imagined. It’s cooing and flowing and theoretical, but sweetly swoony too.
Dels is similarly excellent. ‘Trumalump’ is euphoric but there’s as much darkness in Dels’ blustery flow as there is fun. The way it’s disguised in a fearless verse-hook-verse-repeat structure is fascinating, as if the Ipswich rapper thought about how to release his tricks as he was compiling his set of super-clever songs. As the set goes on, the ill dissonance of ‘Droogs’ being in the same set as huge anthem ‘Shapeshift’ makes this Ipswich rapper a fascinating concept indeed. Anyone who uses the word “exfoliate” (on ‘Eating Clouds’) as a metaphor for ridding oneself of ‘the competition’ has got to be worth it.
Cocknbullkid comes alive on the Lake Stage, and Anita Blay is playing the sort of show that my dreams predicted – the songs are bold and bright, more exaggerated than they feel on her album Adulthood. Her self-referencing neuroses on ‘Asthma Attack’ fill the air, she’s aloof as a proper popstar should be and it feels like I’m at a proper-big concert. And boy, she can sing.
Thank ye, Latitude. And now for a mud-free bed…
Vodafone VIP is part of the VIP programme for customers, and Muso’s Guide is taking on official music blogger status at some of the summer’s hottest festivals. There are currently competitions running to win tickets to Latitude, T in the Park and Wireless, with more to come over the summer.
The Vodafone VIP experience extends further too – there’s a Vodafone VIP area across fashion, festivals and Formula 1 over the summer, a viewing platform giving customers shelter and brilliant views, a recharging truck capable of charging 2,000 phones at once and selected apps allowing festival-goers to see what’s on and where, locate their tent via GPS and plan schedules for their weekends.
Visit http://www.vodafone.co.uk/vip to find out more.