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11 Unmissable Acts at Latitude 2015

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Lurking in the depths of reed-ridden, pond-lined, forest-saturated Suffolk, Henham Park played host this to the tenth anniversary of Latitude. The festival thrives off of its variety, presenting not only the best in music, but comedy, cabaret, spoken word poetry, theatre and dance, with the likes of Sadler’s Wells performing on a floating waterfront stage and Shappi Khorsandi causing her audience to get abdominal muscles from laughing too much.

Latitude 2015

With the sun shining and temperatures pleasantly reaching 26 degrees, not even the slightest amount of mud was to be seen. Though we’re still ridding ourselves of the dust/

Bursting with talent and with pink sheep wandering around is undoubtedly worth a visit, but with so much going on which acts shone out this year?

Alt-J

The first of three headlining slots, before Portishead and Noel Gallagher on the following nights, saw Alt-J sweep onto the festival’s Obelisk Stage. The beauty of both their debut and sophomore album was brought to life as the trio created not only a spectacle for the ears, but for the eyes. The three proved as to why their most recent album, This Is All Yours, was nominated for a Grammy. Drifting from the exhilarant nature of 'Fitzpleasure' and 'Breezeblocks' into calming tracks perfect for the sunset, 'Lovely Day' and 'Nara', Alt-J blew away the tens of thousands displaying triangles with their hands in the air. The band also teamed up with ActionAid, selling custom designed t-shirts raising money to help rebuild Nepalese communities.

Owen Jones

The beauty of Latitude is how it offers so much more than just your typical big headliners. Before the festival fully kicked off on the Friday, left-wing author and all-round good person Owen Jones lead a debate on The Politics of Hope, discussing Labour’s defeat, the future of politics and how young people can be heard. We were lucky enough to speak to the lefty after his hour in the literary arena, interview to follow.

Ed Sheeran

A tenth anniversary for any festival wouldn’t be complete with a few surprises and Latitude definitely know how to pull off some big ones. In the middle of one of Henham Park’s forests, only a small crowd gathered for an intimate late night gig with global superstar, Ed Sheeran. Playing Stevie Wonder and Iggy Azalea covers interwoven with his own, smash-hit singles, Sheeran played to just 3,000 a week after selling out Wembley Arena three nights in a row. The ginger-haired Brit couldn’t get enough and joined Snow Patrol on an even smaller stage the following night, while Thom Yorke from Radiohead DJed in the party filled woods.

Years & Years

Happy new Years (& Years). A personal favourite and just two days after the trio’s debut album Communion went in at number one, Years & Years got a sweaty crowd in the BBC Radio 6 Stage, well, even sweatier. Complete sweetheart and lead singer, Olly, had a constant and genuine look of awe spread across his face while singing chart smashing 'King' and 'Shine' alongside album tracks 'Gold' and 'Worship'. You could tell how grateful they were to be on stage. Olly explained that the year before they played on the tiny Alcove Stage, a cocktail bar, at the festival, highlighting how the band really have blown up in the past year. Their presence and joy radiated into an already sunny tent, proving why their album went number one and how it should stay there.

Josef Salvat

Australian and severely underspoken Josef (with an f) Salvat joined a reputable audience in the festival’s Alcove Stage. There’s something about Salvat’s live performances that draw crowds in like the ants to apples we so stupidly left exposed in our midsummer drenched tent. Performing classics like S'hoot and Run' with to be released 'Punchline', Salvat is one to keep an eye on and so much more deserving of a larger stage. Honestly, keep your eyes peeled for this one. Last year, Years& Years performed on this intimate stage, to go onto playing the gargantuan BBC Radio 6 Music Stage. The dual EP welding musician, known best for his incredible cover of Rihanna’s Diamonds and touring with BANKS, displays the perfect balance of confidence and modest. “I don’t think much of love,” Salvat tells his audience before singing his ballads with anger and destination. Wow.

James Blake

“Don’t play Retrograde yet”, yells a rather drunken festival goer running alongside me in the transition between Josef Salvat and James Blake. I feel you girl, this clash was a blow to the system.  Winning over the masses on the Obelisk Stage before Portishead, the 26-year-old electronic pioneer from London deserved the headline support two albums later. The 2013 Mercury Prize winner trialled new tracks to be released in October.  Blake has since revealed that Kanye West and Bon Iver will appear on his new LP, Radio Silence. Oh my.

Portishead

In one of those festival year defining moments, Portishead dominated the mahoooooosive Obelisk Arena in the second of the festival’s headlining spots. Opening with 'Silence' from their latest album, the trio were back, bigger than ever to show how and why they changed the path of music forever. As legendary pioneers of the sound known as 'trip-hop' they caused “woah” moments with 'Threads' and 'Glory Box'. During their performance of 'Machine Gun',  a montage of footage from the recent anti-austerity marches merged with a rather demonic portrait of David Cameron with blue lasers coming through his eyes. To say that this festival is "left politics in the woods" would be a perfect description.

Lianne La Havas

What. A. Babe. Dressed in a white two-piece, flowing over her stunning figure, La Havas is nothing less than a real-life angel. Her smooth vocals and virtuosically painted lyrics, alongside an impressive performanceship title La Havas a true star. I admit, I didn’t really know many more than two of her songs before seeing her live, but since the festival, I’m surprised that Spotify hasn’t crashed or gone into a La Havas induced implosion. I’m hooked. There’s power and mood in her voice, but balanced perfectly with shade of calm, sophistication and excitement. Her set was one of the most memorable, with disposable cameras and polaroids being taken left, right and centre as the sun drenched sky pleaded Latitude’s perfection.

Rae Morris

Late in the final day’s evening, on the picturesque Lake Stage, curated by BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, saw Thumbelina resembling and incredibly humbling Rae Morris sing to those enjoying their last few chilled ciders, as the sun set in flares of oranges and pastel pinks. Morris’ performance is how you expect a festival to look, with the superfans with their arms in the air at the front and families further back on picnic benches miming along at her music.

 

latitude, you were truly one of the best audiences we've had. thank you over and over again.

A video posted by Rae Morris (@rae_morris) on

Marika Hackman

Hackman is like no other. A personified poem that’s blasphemous not to notice. Distortion and her break away from more mainstream forms of indie music (ironic) makes the songstress an impeccable act. Her eerie and mossy sound couldn’t be presented to the masses on a more perfect stage, lurking within the edge of a forest. It was like something from a fairy-tale. Her cobwebbed tracks, armed with her sultry tones liken her to a British, more poetic and better version of Lana Del Rey (plus we love her hair). Having previously supported Alt-J last year, it’d seem odd to not have Marika at the festival. In a previous interview with The National Student, Marika told me that she writes “about whatever’s going through my head and I sift through and to the dark stuff out which keeps me sane.”

La Roux

Proving that she’s more than just a two hit wonder, saw La Roux take the the BBC Radio 6 Stage following an energetic Years & Years set. Displaying sass and serving true La Roux energy caused tracks Cruel Sexuality and Tropical Chancer (which I misheard as Chopping Board Chancer) explode into the aural capacity of a packed out tent. La Roux brought a crowd of young and old, proving the versatility of her music.




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