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Latitude Festival Mon 20th Jul, 2009

I am not a massive fan of slumming it, massive groups of people, overpriced food, lack of sleep, camping, rain, and not sitting down.

For these reasons the idea of a music festival does not appeal to me. As a way of challenging myself, and having a wider range of experiences, i decided a few months ago to try and do as many festivals as possible this year.

I did Glastonbury a few weeks ago (drove in, gigged, turned around and came straight home) and have got Reading, Leeds and Greenman festivals all planned for August.

Last weekend was the turn of the Latitude festival. Latitude is a fairly new festival and located in Suffolk, near Southwold, in the middle of nowhere and as far away from home as any other place in the known universe.

Due to the location of Latitude, as far away from home as any other place in the known universe, I decided to camp. My previous experience of camping was last year during my walk, and this did not instill me with confidence. I am not a naturally "outdoorsy" person, if i cant have a bath with bubbles then i tend to not be interested.

I bought a new tent, the Vango Milano 2, and a torch, and some Jaffa cakes and Pringles (2 for £2.60) and felt ready for anything.

Latitude is amazing. Perfect, utopian, tranquil and smashing. Ok, so my perception of the festival may be coloured by the fact that two Campsite Angels put my tent up for me, but this doesn't change the fact that I had a great time.

Any festival that has ballet, comedy, Pet Shop Boys and book readings is ok by me.

On Thursday night I MC'd the Literary Tent, introducing authors reading sections from their books. This is not what i associate with a festival.

The highlight of this, and one of the highlights of my year so far, was Edwyn Collins and Grace Maxwell reading from their book Falling and Laughing. It is the story of Edwyn Collins, who was in a group called Orange Juice in the 80's and had a massive hit song "I Never Met A Girl Like You Before". About 4 years ago Edwyn had two massive strokes, nearly died and has spent the last few years recovering. Hearing Edwyn and Grace reading from the book, singing a new song he has written about the experience, and watching the audience rapt and crying was amazing.

On Friday i was down to be "spare" at the Comedy Tent. At Latitude the Comedy Tent is almost as popular as the music stages, thousands of people crammed into a big tent, with brilliant comics all day. "Spare" is the person who waits around in case one of the named acts can't turn up, or turns up late. "Spare" is the role that sits about all day, eating and chatting and drinking, and watching friends go on stage and ripping it in front of a massive, massive audience.

Luckily for me Lee Mack got caught in traffic and so little ol "spare" me got to do the gig, and then spent the rest of the day sitting around and eating. Perfect.


Dan Atkinson doing a brilliant 7 hour compering shift.

Tim Vine and the staggering Pen Behind the Ear.

Chatting to Mark Thomas about rambling.


Latitude Festival is great, even for those people who don't usually do Festivals. Trust me. Go next year, have a great time, get your tent put up and try and find the pink sheep.