Who To Watch at Latitude Festival

Henham Park is gearing up to open its sites before a flood of music fans descend on Sunday in high anticipation of this year’s Latitude festival. The three day festival, running for three days from this Friday, has attracted its usual eclectic mix of acts including the high profile Elbow and Laura Marling plus Paul Weller whose recent return to form is a source of much excitement. For those looking to really make the most of the festival, however, the best acts are often found lower down the bill or away from the main stage. Here are a few acts to keep your eyes on:

The Word Arena has a number of interesting acts, the most high profile of whom is Lana Del Rey who is sandwiched, interestingly enough, in between Dexys (formerly Midnight Runners) and perhaps the most interesting band performing on the stage over the weekend, Yeasayer. With the success of their singles Ambling Alp and O.N.E., the Brooklyn based band are bringing their afro tinged “Middle Eastern-psych-snap-gospel” back to the UK in advance of their third album Fragrant World which is due for release in August 2012. Previously labelled the “most blogged artist of the year” by Hype Machine, the genre-hopping band will be looking to recreate their anthemic, energetic music to an expectant and potentially mud drenched, wellies clad audience.

St Vincent is an act who has similarly been attracting much critical appraise yet is scheduled to perform unexpectedly low down the Word Arena billing below the Buena Vista Social Club, M83 and Battles on the last day of Latitude. The erstwhile Annie Clark, who has previously opened for everyone from Arcade Fire through to Andrew Bird, is a multi-instrumentalist who has been drawing incredible responses from audiences who has seen the way she has revolutionised guitar playing and become one of the most distinctive guitarists of her generation.

Sheffield duo Slow Club, playing the i Arena, are a fantastic band who have been kicking around for a small while without ever fully making the breakthrough they deserve. Perhaps even more spine-tingling live than they are on record, their Christmas single “Christmas TV” is always something of a show stopper; it is difficult to suggest this won’t be the case again at Latitude. Highlights on the Lake Stage also include an array of up and comers but the biggest highlights here are more bands who have never gained the exposure their music warrants and they are the high octane Los Campesions and the earnest yet slightly askew Herman Dune. The Crookes, another Sheffield band, represent another fantastic C68 inspired band but the mournful crooning of George Waite helps them stand out from their contemporaries.

On the main stage the perennially under rated acts are Glen Hansard (of the Frames and star of charming Irish film One) and yet another representative from Sheffield Richard Hawley. Both deal in sincere and emotive ballads whose lilting music is sure to swell the hearts of all in attendance. For those, however, looking for a break from music or just a quick laugh then the live performance of The Infinite Monkey Cage featuring Brian Cos, Robin Ince and Al Murray is recommended. As hysterical as it is illuminating on podcast, the live show will seek to be similarly as challenging and funny as its studio self.

About the Author: Kieron Casey is a fashion writer and blogger who is looking forward to taking some time off to get his wellies on and immerse himself in the festival experience.

Photo by Paulbence