The reconnaissance branch of the Uncut team arrived at Latitude Festival yesterday and realised almost immediately that we were not alone in wanting to hit Henham Park Estate early this year. Thousands of music fans poured into the site a day early to set up camp and drink in the atmosphere before the serious business of deciding what to see on the packed line-up!
But there was plenty going on to kick things off. After finding our temporary stead, a homely place I have christened El Rancho, we made our way though the campsite to the main arena and headed towards the lake. Beautiful light installations made spheres and strokes across the water illuminating the neon sheep, who had been given a fancy dye job for the occasion.
Floating on the Lake was an enormous, shimmering bubble and what appeared to be a man climbing up a rope inside accompanied by the unmistakable sound of, well, a man dragging a microphone along a rope. A booming voice from above introduced the performance as The Water Cycle with the promising words “all of the music you hear tonight will be played live and then transformed into the sound of water by Dave’s computer”. Nice one, Dave. As the bubble started to move across the water, the suspended flautist began an avant garde jazz odyssey. You know I think it might have been Will Ferrell in there.
The literary and poetry tents were well in action by the time we made it across the bridge. There was an outdoor film showing of Alfred Hitchcock‘s The Lodger and later a silent movie scored with music by a live orchestra. Uncut’s impressive striped circus tent was erect and having the final touches added to the sound stage, which is set to support the likes of Julian Cope and Martha Wainwright.
I headed into the woods and stumbled upon a performance which had gathered an attentive audience in the ferns around the clearing. It was a new play by Dirty Protest, a young theatre company from Wales. Like Goldie Lookin Chain performing Macbeth, it was all lusting, envy and revenge, and it featured the best line ever, “Yew keep eating all the bread, YEW PRICK!”.
Finally I caved in and followed the bassline that had been calling my name… The Knack‘s My Sharona and found the secret indie disco in the middle of the forest. I immediately met a huge Welsh contingent, including the Sleeveface DJs and The Vinyl Vendettas, both of whom will be playing over the weekend. The party was still going when I headed back to El Rancho, Nirvana, Blondie and tonight’s headliners, Franz Ferdinand playing out behind me. Bring on the music!
Five tracks I confidently predict you will hear this weekend:
Heart Of Glass, Blondie
Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana
Take Me Out, Franz Ferdinand
Ready For The Floor, Hot Chip
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker, The Ramones
WORDS: NAT DAVIES
PIC CREDIT: FARAH ISHAQ