Yup, it's that time of year again... When those festival goers amongst us with exceptional taste head out to the Suffolk countryside, ready to enjoy three days of the best music, poetry, literature, film, cabaret and comedy this country - and beyond - has to offer.
And this year's Latitude Festival, due to take place from Thursday 17th to Sunday 2oth July - as impossible a feat as it may sound - promises to be even better than last time around. Regular Wasteland readers (Hello? Hello...?) will recall that I reviewed the festival for the organisers last year, as part of a team writing reviews, round-ups, features and interviews that were posted on the festival's website throughout the weekend. Back then we were treated to the likes of CSS, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Patrick Wolf, Bat for Lashes and Canadian alt-rock giants Arcade Fire on the music bill, as well as top comedians including Bill Bailey, Russell Howard and Michael McIntyre, not to mention excellent writers and literary performers including Simon Armitage, John Hegley, Roger McGough and the indefatigable compere skills of stand-up poet Luke Wright. It was an excellent weekend thanks to the performers above and a whole load more, as well as Latitude's ethos of good quality food, drink and facilities and a relaxing, fun environment (including those trademark multi-coloured sheep). Those who want a taster of what was on offer, then, should head to the old site and check out the articles here.
But this year... well, there's familiar faces and a whole load more. You'd be forgiven for thinking that in reviewing the festival I might have a vested interest in promoting it, but having been to a good number of the major festivals in this country, Latitude was - honestly - a breath of fresh air last year. So much on offer and so much of it totally unmissable. Unlike many festivals where the headliners are almost always the highlight of the weekend (i.e. you get exactly what you pay for), Latitude's highlights came in all shapes and sizes (i.e. I never thought I'd enjoy a bizarre five-piece guitar cabaret outfit called the Bikini Beach Band launching into a chilled, Beach Boys-esque cover of grunge classic 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' as much as Arcade Fire finishing their set with the brilliant 'Rebellion (Lies)').
So this time around there's the likes of Franz Ferdinand, The Mars Volta, Foals, Sigur Ros, Elbow, Seasick Steve and Interpol on the music side of things, Ros Noble, Bill Bailey, Omid Djalili, Frankie Boyle and Stewart Lee among the comedians, and Carol Ann Duffy, Tim Turnbull, Daljit Nagra, Iain Banks and Irvine Welsh performing on the literary and stand-up poetry arenas. No wonder I'm really looking forward to reviewing it again. Do keep your eyes peeled for articles as they go up throughout the weekend on the festival's new website. And enjoy the festival if you managed to get tickets before they sold out!