Just days remain before thousands of party people descend on Henham Park in Southwold for the 7th annual Latitude Festival and, as always, the line up looks set to impress.
Although the Latitude Festival is the perfect freestyle festie for those who like to stumble along and see what they happen upon, there are some festival gems in this year’s vast treasure chest that you really will not want to miss. Check out our PAAM volunteer recruitment 2012 Latitude Festival guide, preview, hints, tips and advice and make sure you catch the best of the bunch!
With a view of the lake and woods, the Obelisk Arena is as usual the main hub for the music magic this year. Kicking off the 2012 party on Friday is Justin Vernon’s double Grammy Award-winning creation Bon Iver. Haunting classics from the critically acclaimed 2008 album For Emma, Forever Ago, as well as from last’s year’s self-titled offering, will be eased out with soul and style.
Stepping it up on the first day of the festival are the darlings of modern British electronic music, Metronomy. Playing hits from cult classic albums Nights Out and The English Riviera, if this funky four-piece don’t get you bopping to their 70s-inspired pop songs, you might as well pack up and go home!
Saturday will see the multi-award winning Elbow take to the festival’s main stage. Playing from all their hit albums as well as build a rocket boys!, the poster boys of British alternative rock should be on any self-respecting to-see list. Performing veteran Richard Hawley, formerly of Pulp and The Longpigs, could also be a lively one for Saturday, while kooky and cool singer-songwriter Laura Marling is set to serenely strum her way through an engrossing and hypnotic set. The BRIT Award’s Best Female Artist of 2011 is fast becoming well known for her folky melodies and mature vocals.
But, of course, the last day of the festival is when the big guns come out, with Britpop legend Paul Weller leading the army of Sunday stars into battle. With his new Sonik Kicks album just released in March, the Jam star will no doubt be looking to get his fresh sounds around, but his four-decade long catalogue will ensure some golden oldies and modern classics too.
New kid on the block Ben Howard is an absolute must-see for Sunday. Already firmly secured as a household name thanks to word-of-mouth and modern technology, this folky rocker is set to be sensational. Another upcoming artist to look out for is Bat For Lashes, AKA Natasha Kahn. This Anglo-Pakistani indie-pop goddess has created quite a buzz since giving up her day job as a nursery nurse to concentrate on her Kate Bush-esk creations.
And if that’s not enough for the Obelisk Arena for one year, Rufus Wainwright, lovingly described as “the greatest songwriter on the planet” by none other than Sir Elton John, will also be appearing as a special guest. When and with whom? You’re guess is as good as ours!
The World Arena
With its eclectic line up of alternative leftfield music, the World Arena will be attracting the 2012 Latitude Festival cool kids. Reminiscent of 80s post-punk powerhouses Talking Heads and Joy Division, White Lies are the ones to watch on Friday. With their dark lyrics but uplifting beats, these brooding Ealing boys have gone from strength to strength since bagging the coveted Coldplay support slot in 2009.
Back with a new sound and a new album, The Horrors will serve up a good dose of arty rock n roll on Saturday. Winners of NME’s Best Album of the year, these guys promise showmanship and energy that will get you bouncing in your boots.
For a chilled Sunday wind-down, be sure to soak up the sensual sounds of Wild Beasts. Now on their third critically-acclaimed album Smother, this unique band will stir and romance you with their hipster melodies. A historic collective that must surely to grooved to by all is the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club featuring Omara Portuondo. Get your sexy Sunday salsa on to the tunes that ended the Cold War between Cuba and the West and enjoy a sparkling but sultry show oozing romance and exuberance.
The i Arena And The Lake Stage
Those with an ear for new talent should also swing past the i Arena and the Lake Stage if they can tear themselves away from this year’s heavyweight headliners. In its intimate setting in the woods, the i Arena will host the experimental Tune Yards and their special brand of weird and wonderful on Friday, while Guy Connelly will bring his electronic-indie mashup Clock Opera to the Lake Stage, where all acts are handpicked by Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens.
Back with their new hit album My Head is an Animal ,boisterous Icelandic indie rockers Of Monsters And Men will be gracing the i Arena on Saturday, while seven-piece Los Campesinos! will get fun and fucky at the Lake Stage. The little-known but highly-regarded The Crookes, with their 50s and 60s-inspired pop offerings, will also be showcasing their upbeat nostalgic sounds.
Sometimes compared to Bon Iver and Cat Power, Perfume Genius will no doubt bring an epic set to the i Arena on Sunday. Mike Hadreas, a songwriter from Seattle, has developed a truly unique and slightly surreal sound that will be a feast for the ears. Fresh out of Brooklyn city, We Are Augustines will also appear here on the last day of the festival.
Favourites of the late John Peel, Herman Dune have the coveted headlining slot on the Lake Stage on Sunday, promising the romantic toe-tappers they are best known for and a chance to catch tunes from new album Strange Moosic, which the duo has cited as a fresh start. Or take Clash magazine’s advice and see their ‘Ones to Watch’ for this year, Weird Dreams. This hooky guitar band has a effortlessly cool vibe and sound.
Always popular with the up-for-a-laugh Latitude crowd, the Comedy Arena will again get the eyes watering and the sides splitting this year. Global sell-out star Tim Minchin will be treating us to musical comedy with an edgy rock star twang on Friday, while Russell Kane, widely regarded as one of the best new British stand-ups, will also have you rolling in the aisles.
The Infinitive Monkey Cage will provide a giggle of the informed variety on Saturday, as the award-winning BBC Radio 4 comedy show debates the conflicting worlds of art and science with a handpicked panel. Al Murray will take his place beside presenters Brian Cox and Robin Ince, cosmologist Andrew Pontzen and others, in what promises to be a rational but ruckus battle of wits. Also look out for the opinionated and cheeky Andrew Maxwell, who takes no prisoners but leaves no stony faces.
Jack Dee is the no-introduction-needed act headlining the Comedy Arena on Sunday. The sombre assassin and British institution will show us why he is still the king of deadpan one-liners. For a nice slice of rocky chick wit, also catch up-and-coming comedy actress Kerry Godliman on Sunday. And back again with The Late Show are Latitude darlings Marcus Brigstocke and Andre Vincent. Their ever-popular political/comedy BBC Radio programme is like News Night on laughing gas.
Cabaret, Theatre and more…
Don’t miss the late night Duckie: A Hoe-down for Country(ish) types at the Caberte Arena on Saturday night. Visit the workshop to get kitted out with your US-style rosette and gingham headband and enjoy a good old-fashioned knees-up with country and western starlets, cowgirls and pantomime barnyard animals.
Late Night Gimp Fight will bring a battery of fast and offensive sketches and songs to the Cabaret Arena on Sunday. Winner of a Chortle Award last year, this deliciously dark act is directed by Steve Mormion of the renowned Soho Theatre. Sell-out show Spank! is also back with music comedy, stand-up and sketches from the likes of Zoe Lyons, Bob & Jim and Marcel Lucont.
The Theatre Arena will have your jaw dropping on both Friday and Saturday as fast and furious Australian circus act C!rca flips and flies onto the stage. The heart-stopping and innovative show will leave you breathlessly marvelling at the impossible skills of the acrobats and performers. Also check out National Theatre: NT Connections on Sunday for Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s rock-musical take on Alice in Wonderland.
Fresh from impressing crowds at the Diamond Jubilee Concert, pianist superstar Lang Lang will give an exclusive performance at the Waterfront Stage on Sunday, while Queen of Rockabilly Wanda Jackson, Grammy-nominated Canadian star Chilly Gonzales, and Mark Lamarr with his ever-popular God’s Jukebox will also grace the stage at the Film and Music Arena.
So whether you follow our hints and tips or patch together your own schedule for the 2012 Latitude Festival, prepare to be entertained!