So this year a couple of lucky Fringe Reviewers will be trekking over to Suffolk to tramp the grassy knolls of Henham Park for another Latitude Festival. As usual there are masses of top notch musicians and some lesser known bands to discover as well, plus a plethora of all the other sorts of arts known to man. We have picked out a top 10 of the arts offerings and top 10 music acts to help guide you in the melee of stuff!
Theatre and Arts picks
Latitude is always so much more than a music festival – in fact to my mind it is a jam packed arts festival first and if I catch a couple of bands late at night then so be it. With the poetry, cabaret, literature, film and theatre tents, you can happily wander from highbrow political discussion to avant garde French film, stopping on the way to watch a TV comedian popping out a few puns, before settling down to watch a really great play in their vastly improved theatre tent.
It’s hard to choose a top 10 for Latitude 2016, but here we go…
Margaret Thatcher Queen of Game Shows
I am delighted to see that the camped up Iron Lady is going to be gracing the cabaret stage at Latitude again this year. Having caught her truly hilarious and award winning show a few years ago at the festival, I can only imagine what delights await when she turns her hand to a game show!
Reasons to Be Cheerful – Graeae
I saw this show back in 2010, and it was bloody marvellous. A play by a brilliant theatre company, championing quality disability arts, which focuses on Ian Drury, who wove his own disability in the fabric of his music. Graeae prove that there is no need for any compromise on quality when making work with people who don’t usually get a chance to perform in mainstream theatre shows.
Paul Merton’s Impro Chums
I have wanted to see this show FOREVER. Paul Merton = comedy hero, Impro = hilarious and brilliant form of theatre. Result, something worth queuing for last thing on a Saturday night.
The Duke – Shon Dale-Jones
I have only ever seen Shon Dale-Jones in his affable and marvellous character of Hugh Hughes, most of those times being at Latitude. So therefore I am looking forward to sitting on the exceedingly uncomfortable floor of the Little House (please let them have chairs this year…) and witnessing his new creation.
This Machine – Christopher Brett Bailey
Brett-Bailey is an extraordinary performer – a motor mouth, whose show ‘This is How We Die’ ends with the most overwhelming and extraordinary sound assault I have ever witnessed in the theatre. This show is also about using guitar drones and sounds like it may well push the audience into new territory yet again.
Letters To Windsor House – Sh!t Theatre
This cabaret/ theatre duo put on some crazy fast pace work in my experience, and do not shy away from examining difficult and political issues. Their new show, which looks at the seamy underworld of rented accommodation and illegally opened mail, will no doubt feature silly songs, and important statements about life.
Friday Night Cabaret Tent
The late night cabaret line up on the Friday night looks set to delight, with one of my all time favourites Le Gateau Chocolat gracing the stage. This beautiful Nigerian bearded drag queen has a voice of satin and will make you cry and sing along all the same time. Christeene is also on the bill that night, which is a truly terrifying prospect, lets just hope this time she leaves behind her butt plug with the helium balloons attached to it!
Latitude favourites Forest Fringe are back and making their home in a series of tents and gazebos in the Faraway Forest. These love art producers are known for curating a wacky programme of installations and small performances during Latitude festival and Glen Neath and David Rosenberg’s Séance sounds very interesting, though 15 minutes in a dark shipping container may not be for the claustrophobic amongst us!
The Horne Section
The Literature tent looks like an interesting place, packed with authors I have never heard of, but who are bound to fascinate during a rainy (or sunny) half hour. On the Thursday night the Horne Section will be on there, which is a funny and light heated selection of skits and musical numbers, all led by the charming and affable Matthew Horne. Worth a look if you are at the festival that early!
The comedy tent is always packed with stars and is a great place to loll around laughing for a few hours, and will Bill Bailey heading up Sunday evening, it is bound to be a very silly place. This wild haired comedian will hopefully bring some of his musical genius to the comedy tent, mixing it with his fast talking comedy that I am gutted I will not get to see,
as I have to get home for work on Monday morning. Boohoo!!
Picked out by Alice Booth
As always, Latitude boasts an eclectic mix, but much of the gold is hidden away from the more middle-of-the-road main stage. Here are my picks if you want a slightly more interesting experience.
Let’s Eat Grandma. I first heard them on Mark Riley’s 6Music show. They sound about twelve, both when speaking/giggling and when singing in their strange Pinky-&-Perky voices. But they’ve got some pretty interesting sounds going on. Definitely worth watching where these two go next.
Bob Moses is great, but it looks like he’ll be on at the same time as: Courtney Barnett. She’s pretty big news now, and well-known, but I absolutely cannot imagine missing this. One of the most brilliant lyricists working today, and a true heir to Cobain’s elusive blend of pop catchiness blended with punk sensibility. Wonderful!
Later on, the big crowds will be either at current indie-squeeze Grimes or long-forgotten indie-ex The Maccabees, but I’ll be watching Loyle Carner at the unglamorous Lake Stage. Interesting, introspective, soulful take on UK hip-hop.
Pumarosa. Unfairly hidden away at the Sunrise Arena early in the day, but what a way to celebrate breakfast! I had the enormous pleasure of seeing these guys at The Great Escape, and they were amazing. Singer Isabel Munoz-Newsome has impressive stage presence. Energetic, upbeat, noisy, full of attitude, swagger and hands-in-the-air positivity. In my mind at least, destined for greatness!
I’ll then be going over to watch former Beta Band frontman Steve Mason’s melodic, jangly pop.
I was really sad that I missed Daughter when they played Brighton, so am looking forward to catching their thoughtful, dramatic, atmospheric offerings live.
I’d like to see Kurt Vile & The Violators at the 6Music stage, but for the headliners I’m not really interested in the main offerings, I fancy something a bit more energetic, so I think I might go to Tired Lion (like if Hole relaxed a bit), tucked away at the Alcove Stage
Oktoba was another surprise during The Great Escape, and will be a wonderfully chilled way to start the day. Will be even better if the sun shines!
Going a bit more mainstream, Michael Kiwanuka and Roots Manuva are both interesting, and Chet Faker is pretty big right now. Despite his mass appeal, I think he’s one of the more interesting acts on the main stage.
Hope to see you there! Let’s keep our fingers crossed for decent weather!
Picked out by Tom Beesley
We will be tweeting throughout the festival, and if you see anything good that you want to recommend, please tweet us! @fringereview
Reviews will go up after the festival of a selection of the best we’ve seen, and a round up of the things we happened upon will also be forthcoming, so watch this space!!
Click to read the Reviews from 2015
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