Latitude is Suffolk’s biggest music festival. Taking place in the stunning Henham Park since 2006 it is now a firm favourite in the calendar for festival-goers internationally.
If you’re heading the Latitude this July read my guide to getting the most out of Suffolk’s headliner festival.
Ok, so you’ve probably thought of all the obvious things already: Hopefully by now you’ve got a tent etc sorted but there are some extra little things you’ll be thankful you remembered.
Prepare for all weather:
It’s looking as though we’re going to be bathed in sunshine for this year’s festival which is great, but when you’re away from home in the middle of a field it pays to be ready for any weather.
- Bring clothes you can layer – if it’s hot you can strip them off, if the temperature drops (especially at night) you can easily wrap up.
- Bring a lightweight rain coat or poncho – something you wouldn’t mind getting ruined – that way you’d never be caught out by a surprise downpour.
- Boots! You may think that those strappy sandals will look just perfect with your festival outfit but trust me; there’s A LOT of walking to be done, over uneven ground too. This year I’ll be rocking my trusty walking boots and not giving a flying fox if they look silly with a floaty skirt because, honestly, at Latitude anything goes. I’d much rather keep blisters at bay so I can enjoy the entire weekend limp-free!
- Sun protection– Whether you’re a fair-skinned festival fairy or otherwise you’ll be outside pretty much all day so you’ll need some decent sun cream. Something small and portable is great to save a long walk back to your tent when it’s time to top up.
- Camping stove – If you have a serious caffeine habit a morning coffee is never more necessary than when you’ve had a heavy night. Bring along a small camping stove (permitted in the campsites but not in the arena) and supplies so that you’re never too far from a restorative hot drink.
- Food and drink – Bottled water is a must – there are points around to refill so make sure you stay hydrated. It is also permitted to bring in ‘non-excessive’ amounts of alcohol into the campsites. This as well as some non-perishable food can be a life-saver if festival funds are starting to run low.
- Dry shampoo – This magical stuff has so many uses, not just to clean or style hair. Spray it into shoes which are wet or smelly, use it to prevent chafing or even as an emergency deodorant.
- Wet wipes, hand sanitizer and toilet paper – for obvious reasons!
You’re in the middle of nowhere and you’re likely to get separated from your friends at some point so you want to make sure you’re contactable. Equally you’re having the time of your life and want to capture and share the memories. You need a fully charged phone but using the charging points in the arena can be an expensive way to do it.
Save your beer-money and bring along a portable charging pack. You can charge on the go for free and keep in touch with your instagram followers or friends for the whole weekend. Solar powered versions are also available to make sure you never run out of battery.
Bring the family
Latitude prides itself on being one of the most child and family-friendly festivals to go to. There are several different areas for families and children, whatever their age, with hundreds of activities to choose from.
The dedicated campsite for families is close to the carpark and other child-friendly areas to save little legs. Families can enjoy a schedule of events and workshops, many of the them free of charge. Parents can also rent a ‘child chariot’ to transport sleepy little ones and ensure they can carry on enjoying the festival after bed-time.
They even play host to local schools on the Friday, laying on workshops and actvities for each class. It’s a great way to introduce children to the festival and make sure they’re learning plenty in the process. It’s a great day out with the children enjoying a packed schedule of crafts, music, performance and writing from award-winning and aspirational hosts. Followed up with some street food and a dance in the arenas before catching the coach back home.
Plan plan plan!
There’s a lot to be said for going with the flow and just seeing what’s happening, in fact it’s a great way to expand your horizons and discover new performers. However nothing is greater than the disappointment of finding you have missed a favourite because you simply hadn’t realised they were onstage.
There are bound to be clashes and you definitely won’t have time to see it all but planning in some absolute must-sees is essential to avoid disappointment.
Take a look at the lineup in advance, earmark some favourites and maybe look into some unfamiliar acts which catch your eye. If you don’t want to fork out on a programme you can even link their line up page to your facebook account and receive notifications and alerts for acts you have favourited. Or, even better, download the Latitude app and create your perfect festival schedule.
To get the app, simply visit your device’s app store and search for ‘Latitude Festival’, or click the links below.
Step away from the mainstream
The great thing about festivals, and Latitude in particular, is that it is so diverse. Yes you can take a pew at the Obelisk Arena and watch some great chart-topping bands. You can also take a walk into the woods and find a shed blaring out jungle music, or watch the recording of Gardener’s Question Time or even catch a ballet show. There’ something for everyone. And some things you didn’t know you needed in your life but that are absolute gold!
The Speakeasy, Alcove, Caberet and Solas areas are just some of the stages for new or off-piste artists to do their thing.
My most anticipated for this year include:
- Amusical – Friday in the Caberet Theatre
- Disco Yoga – Friday on the Waterfront
- Dr John Cooper Clarke – Sunday in the Speakeasy
- Adam Buxton’s Bug X – Sundayin the Music and Film Arena
- Buttoned Down Disco
- Disco Shed
Check out the full line-up here.
Have some down time
Whether you’re a spring chicken or a seasoned festival-goer it will likley be a full-on weekend. Festivals come with a certain amount of physical and mental exertion: Dancing, partying ‘til the early hours and copious amounts of alcohol can soon leave you feeling a little worse for wear.
Remember to take some time out to rest and refresh before heading back into the fray. There are many relaxing spaces around the arena so you won’t need to go far for a bit of R&R.
Wander into the woods and find art installations, talks and chilled DJ sets. Pull up a sofa, enjoy a G&T and unwind until you’re ready to start over again.
Try the activities
Popular with festival-goers wanting to cool off, lake swimming is back at Latitude this year. Simply turn up and swim up until 8pm. Or why not book a 1:1 coaching session or a 2km escorted lake adventure?
Solas: Treatments and Holistic Sessions
The Solas Area allows weary folk to relax and rejuvinate, offering a wide range of holistic workshops and treatments. Book yourself in for anything from massage, crystal therapy or Reiki treatments. A range of activities such as yoga, pilates or dance classes are also a great way to experience something new this festival season.
This year especially you should make sure to try some of the different food on offer at Latitude. Street Feast, organisers of some of London’s greatest street food markets have put together a line-up of mouth-watering street food vendors to sample.
Check out who’s in attendance here.
Have a Fantastic Festival!
However you do it; you’re almost guaranteed to have an exceptional time at Latitude. So go, explore and make some incredible memories!
Oh, and don’t forget to instagram the brightly coloured sheep! I mean, can you even say you’ve been to Latitude if you haven’t?
Originally published for Sampling Suffolk Blog