Gallery: Latitude 2012 in pictures

WELLY-wearing festival-goers braced themselves for swamp-like conditions - but fortune favoured Latitude this weekend with occasional showers and muddy terrain failing to dampen spirits.

Music lovers instead soaked up a line-up of entertainment steeped in energy and cultural verve.

In the temporary absence of Glastonbury, this summer’s festival could be credibly deemed one of the biggest and most eagerly awaited events on the music calendar.

Anticipation for the seventh, and perhaps most varied assembly of bands, artists and performers, began to mount back in March, following the announcement of headliners Elbow, Bon Iver and Paul Weller.

Further additions to The Obelisk, Word Arena, i Stage and Lake Stage schedules made for a sprawling line-up including a masked ‘post-dubstep’ producer, a 13-piece Cuban rhythm ensemble and a superstar classical pianist.

A near-capacity crowd of more than 30,000 thronged Henham Park’s assorted stages and arenas to enjoy a programme of entertainment as eclectic as recent weather developments.

Many arrived as gates opened on Thursday for four days of multi-arts entertainment featuring more than 400 acts from the world of music, theatre, comedy, literature, cabaret, poetry, film, dance and fashion.

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Proceedings commenced with an appearance by the Aldeburgh Young Musicians Ensemble accompanied by visuals and installations on the Waterfront Stage. It led the way for an evening of performance, finished off by Dermot O’ Leary’s Indie Disco.

Friday’s bill kicked off with more local interest as Bungay poet Luke Wright brought some vitriolic verse in the form of his latest work, The Vile Ascent of Lucien Gore.

Headliner, and double Grammy Award winner, Bon Iver performed a flawless set to an enraptured audience. Formed in 2007 by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, their hauntingly scenic sound resonated perfectly with the Latitude faithful.

The climactic concert followed main stage stints from legendary Mali duo Amadou & Mariam, electro-indie darlings Metronomy, and the exquisitely talented and lively Janelle Mon�e. Elsewhere, the Word Arena positively teemed with trendy bands and enigmatic personalities, including back-to-back appearance by uniformly brilliant Destroyer, The Antlers, and The War on Drugs.

Kevin Rowland’s Dexys (they have dropped the Midnight Runners) did not disappoint, while polarising popstar Lana Del Rey had some of the curious crowd sporting raised eyebrows but left many captivated.

Twin Shadow and Kurt Vile gave their best in the i Arena and Tim Minchin provided music and mirth on the comedy stage, where the team from Radio 4’s ‘edutainment’ programme The Infinite Monkey Cage made a special live appearance on Saturday.

Again, the Word Arena offered the most exciting and diverse line-up, with mesmerising gigs from Sharon Van Etten and the intimate and understated Josh T. Pearson, heaps of fond nostalgia with Daryl Hall, of Hall & Oates fame, and a brilliantly chaotic slice of beats and bass from SBTRKT.

The brilliant Richard Hawley warmed up crowds before Latitude favourites Elbow returned to the main stage to round off Saturday with typical polish and poise. The set was made even more memorable by a firework display and a 25 foot stage jetty installed specially for frontman Guy Garvey.

Sunday’s schedule came equally varied in style and drew to a close with straight-faced stand-up from Jack Dee and simmering standards from the Modfather, Paul Weller. Once again, the Word Arena excelled in its offering of top alternative names like M83, Battles, St Vincent, Jonathan Wilson, Wild Beasts, and the sensational Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club.

An addition to this year’s event was the Tour de Latitude - an eco-friendly way to travel to the festival from three optional starting points and raise money for charity.

More than a hundred intrepid cyclists raised an initial �14,500 for charity, with proceeds going to Kenyan Orphan Project and Julie’s Bicycle, which encourages environmental sustainability in the arts and creative industries.

Click on the link at the top right of this article for previous Latitude reports and reviews.

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