Southwold: Latitude Festival’s stage programmers share their top tips for a top festival
Want to get the most out of this year’s Latitude Festival but don’t know where to start? Entertaintainment writer Wayne Savage asked each stage’s programmers for their top picks.
Arts programmer Tania Harrison:
Strike! is a stunning combination of circus and physical theatre taking audiences into a Kafka-like world, to explore our desire to break free from bureaucracy and the constraints of work. It’s a new production directed by the very exciting director Keziah Serreau. She devised it in collaboration with five highly skilled physical performers. It uses intense physicality and humour, innovative aerial tricks and a deluge of cardboard boxes to blur the boundaries between circus and theatre.
The Letter Room presents Bonenkai. Another group of talented young performers, based in Newcastle, presenting their second show at Latitude. Club Bonenkai is an experiential piece of performance combining raucous live music, tap dancing and a distinct visual style to evoke the speakeasies and hedonistic parties of times gone by. A celebration of the act of forgetting, it will take audiences to a place where the nights are long and their troubles are far away.
Sadler’s Wells presents Ballet Revolución Direct, inset, from Cuba. Coming to Latitude as part of their 2014 European tour, the company was born as a gathering of some of the world’s most talented classical, hip hop and contemporary dancers. They perform to the infectious rhythm of Latin-America and to the number one hits from Usher, Shakira, Beyonce, J-Lo, Chris Brown and Enrique Iglesias to name just a few. Anyone who loves dance will be dazzled by the sheer skill and versatility of these phenomenal dancers in a show that unites ballet, contemporary and street dance.
Dirty Dancing The Classic Story on Stage. Every year Latitude’s Waterfront Stage plays host to some of the world’s best dancers and dance companies. This year it’s offering something a little bit extra. Seen by millions across the globe, this version will be an edited highlights, but it has everything that made the film so special - heart-pounding music, passionate romance and of course sensationally sexy dancing.
Massive Dad are a trio of sketch comedy performers who are one of the funniest acts I’ve seen in ages. New and utterly exciting, Stevie Martin, Liz Smith and Tessa Coates are finalists in the Best New Sketch Act 2014 competition which will be held in Edinburgh this August. Their Latitude appearance will see them perform a half-hour set of their best sketches to date and is a great opportunity to see performers I firmly believe are the stars of tomorrow.
Dane Baptiste, an original and provocative comedian whose razor sharp rants and slick musings on life’s irritations have made him an act to watch, you might already recognise him from TV spots such as Seann Walsh’s Late Night Comedy Spectacular. His appearance in Latitude’s Cabaret Arena is a chance to catch a performer who’s going places.
The Only Way is Downton. Lovers of spoofs, impression comedy and hit period drama will find much to love in Luke Kempner’s new show coming straight to Latitude from a West End Season in an extended version featuring exclusive new material. As celebrities start appearing at the Abbey, cultures clash and eras collide in a parody that sees stars from popular TV shows and other modern voices pitch in to save the Downton estate from financial ruin – again.
Salon London presents Kerry Daynes, Jo Hemmings and Tristan Gooley. I love Salon London. They’re an organisation that create events that challenge the way we look at seemingly ordinary things by re-evaluating them from an artistic, scientific and psychological perspective. This year they will be fixing their cool gaze on cool culture in Giving the Right Signals. Forensic psychologist Kerry will explain how we can spot any highly functioning psychopaths and narcissists in our lives by their behaviour. Natural navigator Tristan will help us guide the way through our lives by showing us how to use the land, stars and weather to find where we are. Meanwhile, celebrity dating coach Jos will be giving us the advice we need to ensure we’re only giving others the signals we want to.
Comedian Katherine Ryan returns with a brand new show Glam Role Model, in part about the murky world of glamour modelling. There are girls who get their breasts out in Canada, but the UK actually has a name for them. In the same way inuits have several words for snow, Katherine’s problem with glamour models isn’t necessarily what they do, but what they DON’T do - speak. Everyone deserves a voice.
Teeth of the Sea - The Last Man and CERN/1984 Discussion is a very special combination of film, live performance, debate and discussion being presented as part of this year’s theme Secrets And Lies and takes George Orwell’s nightmare vision of a surveillance state as its starting point.
From Telescreens to Big Brother, the world of Orwell’s 1984 sounds less like fiction every day. Continuing revelations about the vulnerability of internet security elicit references to this seminal work on a regular basis. On this 30th anniversary of the namesake year, Teeth of the Sea perform live their original, CineGlobe / LSFF commissioned, audio-visual musical interpretation of Orwell’s 1984, titled The Last Man.
On the 25th anniversary of the worldwide web, we discuss how close is our world to that of Orwell’s Nightmare? Stefan Lueders, cybersecurity officer from CERN and Michael Segal, editor in chief of the science and culture quartetrly Nautilus, discuss the technical and socio-cultural implications of our infinite connectedness in an age of internet surveillance.
Latitude music programmer Natasha Haddad:
Damien Jurado has been quietly building up one of the strongest catalogues on the indie scene for decades. Many of his best songs spin concise, literate tales of quiet, everyday despair. With detours into pop, world music, full-fledged electric indie rock and even found-sound experiments, Jurado assures us his body of work will continue to be impossible to accurately pin down.
Experimental Swedish band Goat have an amazing live performance reputation sure to spellbind audiences at Latitude. Their guitar riffs have been likened to Hendrix and their music is a melting pot of music genres, with an audio-visual live performance that owns the stage. Colourful and psychedelic, they’re only playing one festival this summer and it’s Latitude, so this is one set that’s is not to be missed.
Norwegian songstress Emilie Nicolas quickly graduated from being an unknown music student to one of Scandinavia’s hottest new talents via a viral cover of Dumbum Boys’ Pstereoo. Her melancholically inflected electro-pop is already making waves across UK music blogs and her forthcoming album promises to be very special.
Jungle are one of the most hotly-tipped new acts in the UK. Recently signed to XL Recordings, their recent run of singles Busy Earnin’, Platoon and The Heat have been universally acclaimed and racked up millions of views on YouTube. Based around a core musical duo known simply as J and T, who expand to a thrilling seven-piece live band, they make mesmeric, modern soul that’s unmistakably born in the UK but with true global appeal.
Berlin-based contemporary composer Nils Frahm has built a steady reputation for his intimate, poignant piano recordings. His latest record Spaces is an ode to the joy of live performance, expressing Frahm’s love for experimentation and answers the call from his fans for a record that truly reflects what they have witnessed during his concerts.
Baltimore three-piece Future Islands believe in true love, you can tell that because their songs speak through our lives. Over the last eight years the trio have maintained an admirable level of skill and pace, never slowing down for the corners. Their sound is at once beguiling and irresistible. It’s one part melancholic, one part euphoric; full of animated basslines, robust drum machines and questing keyboards, all set off by Sam’s remarkably distinct, soaring vocal.
Their new album Singles is a decidedly polished sounding album, glossy unapologetic pop and lustrous and abundant with tones of realism.
Kwabs has emerged at a time of immense creative fertility in British electronic soul and has grabbed the attention of some of the scene’s biggest talents with both Emeli Sande and Jessie Ware counting themselves as fans. When Kwabs sings, soul pours out.
Ry X is an Australian singer-songwriter and producer and a personal favourite of mine. He started writing music aged 16 after hearing Jeff Buckley’s Grace, the influence of which can still be heard in his haunting falsetto.
A traveller whose horizons are always international, His time is spent travelling and living in different destinations. These experiences are reflected in the ambience of his music. Festival-goers will get not one chance but two to see Ry X at this year’s festival. As well as his solo set, he will also perform with The Acid in the i Arena.
Under the name Lone, Matthew Cutler has released four albums and more than 100 tracks via R&S, Werk Discs and his own Magic Wire imprint. Over the last five years his work has incorporated many genres while maintaining its own distinctive sound of upbeat vibes, warm synths and hands-in-the-air moments.
When he’s not being crazily over productive he’s found time to produce for Azealia Banks, play shows worldwide and remix for the likes of Radiohead, Friendly Fires, Nathan Fake, TEED, Underworld, Steffi, Midland and more. Lone will be getting the party started at Latitude, headlining the In The Woods late night line-up tonight.
Brooklyn three-piece Parquet Courts have just released their hotly tipped third album Sunbathing Animal. The follow-up to the critically acclaimed Light Up Gold offers a uniquely tattered perspective on every day city life. Their frantic and gripping music is in the vanguard of a new scene of DIY music taking the US by storm.
Scottish hip-hop group Young Fathers took The Alcove Stage by storm in 2013 and are leaping up the bill with their return to headline the i Arena. Already compared to MIA and Massive Attack the trio draw on their African heritage for an original take on the hip-hop genre, they will bring a fresh vibe to the late night happenings deep within the woods at the festival.
Hozier was raised on the building blocks of popular music - rhythm and blues, soul, jazz and the deep dark stuff stretching from Chicago to the Delta. He joined his first band when he was 15, fronting a soul band with some older heads. After teaching himself to play guitar and piano, Hozier went to Trinity College to study music but dropped out to concentrate on the creative process full-time. His music, influenced as much by writers such as James Joyce as the blues of Billie Holliday, is already attracting the attention of tastemakers. His debut album is out in September, it’s a chance to see a new talent in action at a pivotal point in his development.
Children’s programmer Sharon Reuben:
The Book Nook welcomes the nation’s favourite monster, the Gruffalo, who is celebrating his 15th birthday with The Gruffalo Games.
Grab a needle and thread and make your own special edition Latitude Bobby Dazzler doll to take away with you.
The Fairyland Wildlife Hospital will be magical, teaching kids how to care for wildlife by giving them their own patient to look after, perhaps a baby badger with a thorn in its foot or a tiny bird that’s lost its voice.
Horace the Dinosaur is a giant, 35ft-long sea lizard. Fresh out of the Jurassic ocean and 165million-years-old. Brought to you by performing professors and dotty groom Jo, audiences are invited to help prepare him for the day before venturing inside his belly.
Culture Works East are so popular in the Teen Area they now have a brand new arts hub in the family campsite as well with workshops, silent disco, family film club, DJing for dads and much more.
Creative teenagers will be able to let their imagination run wild in the digital and creative workshop spaces, getting hands-on experience of the media and music industry and a chance to work alongside industry pros. Work will be available to take away and showcased across a range of regional and national platforms.
We’re very proud to welcome The National Theatre production of Cat In The Hat, based on the famous Dr Seuss books. .
Samantha Barnes is a local artist well known for her stunning pen and ink line drawings. She will be curating fantastic mums and sons’ and dads and daughters’ workshops.
Local astronomer Derek will be leading day-time fun and night-time star gazing sessions at the Latitude Astro-Lab.
Camp Greenpeace is back with A Walk On The Wild Side. Teens can climb to new heights on scramble nets or let themselves go on the zip line.
Back down to earth, they can bring out their inner Ray Mears by signing up with outdoor survival specialists. The CanoeMan will be running workshops where among other things you can learn to light a campfire without using matches then bake bread on it or build a shelter using natural materials.
Festival Sticker Art has been creating festival fun for 10 years, finding a good home for zillions of unwanted sticky labels. Help use them to make the freakiest garden.