EDitorial ± 21-Jul-2014

Latitude 2014

Bit of a cock-up on the holiday booking front last year, hence no Latitude, sad face. Usual family jostling and indecision this year before I alone bought a day ticket. The usual, please, mister. With a flake.

Not wishing to be responsible for the demise of any more polar bears, I tried to get a lift, couldn't, so offered one instead. Within an hour of putting the offer on BlaBlaCar I had three other bodies in the motor. Dad, have you ever met these people? It'll be fine, I said. And it was, of course. Quickly discovered on the crosstown pickup that they -- two blokes my age plus one daughter -- had been there for the Friday, camped in the rain, then driven back early Saturday morning. All before I swung by at 10:30am. There's dedication.

Easy sunlit journey, dropped 'em off at the guest (!) entrance then parked with the hoi polloi. Made careful note of the spot: 13 across, 20 rows back, or thereabouts. Failing that, look out for the red Peugeot 106.

Wristbandworthy and clutching my Clashfinder, I'm in and off to catch the ethereal Goldfrappy Vaults in the woods. Would happily have stayed but already late for Horse Party (seen previously supporting Dingus Khan at the John Peel Centre and again at Ipswich's very own Music In The Park) from BuryStEdmundsRockCity, as they would have it. Pro performance from the awesome threesome with Seymour going all Lego Rockband to the delight of the crowd. Premier coffee and coconut slice en route to the lovely Agnes Obel, a pianist with three string players producing a deep chest-throbbingly fine sound. We're playing instruments that shouldn't be at a festival, she said. Essence of Latitude right there.

From the sublime to the ridiculous, cutting from Agnes to Dingus (first seen at Latitude 2012) in the sweaty Alcove. Helluva half-hour, singing along and Ambulance-twirling and whistling, culminating in Ben (aka Mick Squalor) crowd-surfing. Intense spunky fun. More than deserving of a 6Music stage slot next year, please.

Caught the final number by the honey-voiced RagNBone Man before grabbing a burrito and legging it to Conor Oberst, once of Bright Eyes, pumping it out with some passion backed by Dawes the band. Change of pace to find a seat on the grass of the comedy tent for Miles Jupp, him of Rev and Balamory. Quite the story about the mum and the boy on the tube: but is Archie real?

I'd heard some fine words about Jungle. That 6Music supertent was buzzing for them. Not my cuppa, leaving as more and more were coming in. Bit of class at the Obelisk with those First Aid Kit girlies, harmonising and a-singin' like it was going out of fashion. Quality voices, quality Simon and Garfunkel cover.

Thought I'd go see the new show by the unpredictable Tim Key over in the forest. Hadn't expected to join a sizeable queue. In we trooped, all 600 of us, as our bearded hero threw playing cards, danced and chatted with a superfan. Fab.

Lastly but far from leastly: powered by Pieminster pastry, hotfooted it back to the main stage for tonight's headliner, local-ish boy Damon Albarn. Nearly all new material for the first hour. That lad can write a melody and work a crowd, to be sure. All good but not great before he disappeared at 10:30pm pre-encore. Some people, fearful of the coming storm, strode off. Those people missed out (though they stayed drier than those of us who remained). Back he came for a touching piano and trumpet End Of A Century. But there's one Blur song I can't do, he said, without the man who helped me write it. Everyone, please welcome Graham Coxon. What?! Cue the lightning. On came speccy himself to contribute to a moving Tender. Singing in the rain, we were. Straight into Gorillaz for Clint Eastwood, then couple of happy-happy new ones to finish. Absolutely fantastic half-hour.

Now 11pm and teeming. Ducked inside the poetry tent, as you do, with a bag of donuts, and eventually met up with my car-sharing buddies as Huw Stephens knocked out some surefire sounds. Tell you what: get a golfing umbrella and you've suddenly got lots of friends.

... and still missed Ghostpoet, Royskopp & Robin and Bombay Bicycle Club.