Monday, 22 July 2019

"Come Together As One..." Latitude 2019


The journey didn't go to plan.  Our normal cross country route was blighted by roadworks and we even got stuck behind a JCB cutting the verges on the diversion route.  The Purple Princess was DJ, a bit of Underworld, a bit of Primal Scream.  There was some light rain at the car park and as usual we were mugged by the Hari Krishna's.  The big push through passport control/ticket exchange was as exhausting as I expected.  List of jobs to do;
1 Find a space 
2 Put the tent up.  
3 Collapse in a heap.
4 Make a brew.
5 Chill out.

Tick all five so we sat and imbibed whilst watching the spectacle of a growing campsite.  It's the usual mix of people but as time passed the average age of our neighbours plummeted.  We'd pitched up roughly where we always do without taking changes into account.  Just a few days before the event Festival Republic announced that 'Family Camping' had been extended to swallow up 'Yellow Camping' meaning all the Lunateens were camping around us.  
I like watching the campsite grow, especially people struggling with tents which always amuses me, a passing shower added to the hilarity.  Each social group has it's own pecking order, spotting the princesses doesn't take long, the rest are usually sheep.  As usual there were very many teens too drunk too soon.  Loads of people with a phone in their hand, loads more spouting words but only actually saying "look at me!"  These are not our people.
Image may contain: one or more people, sky, outdoor and nature
At some point in the early evening we took a slow stroll down to the arenas, as we do every year just to reacquaint  ourselves with Henham Park, though it is barely necessary.  I bought a pint of bitter but it was just brown lager, I shouldn't have expected anything else from something named 'Otter'.  The burger I fueled up with was actually pretty bloody good.  Having done a lap and found all was well and the pink sheep were in situ, we heard some music was coming out of 'Solas' (pronounced soo luss, apparently).  This was made by Junior Brother who was like angry 'Father Dougal'.  A few tunes later we'd had enough so wandered out again and encountered 'The Elder', the drums entranced us so we joined the cult of the Yeti and followed his parade, these are our people..

A while later another random motion took us into a little theatre showing a Bowie film, we'd missed most of it but still enjoyed a bit of Ziggy.  No late night, keep miles in the legs, back to the tent.  The campsite is fucking rammed, the toilets are a fucking disgrace, ironically positioned right beside the 'Seat of luxury' bogs for which you have to pay extra money.  So pay 'Crap tax' or shit in squalor?

Campsite voices

"Applewood and Chorizo! It's so peng!"

"Grace can I use your glitter?"

"Well I haven't had a proper relationship in like, two years..."

"I love you really",  "At least I'm not constipated", "I hate you!"

"I need a wee..."


When the tent gets warm we wake up, when the tent gets hot I just have to get up.  Great, there's a tear in the fly sheet FFS!  Someone pissed and falling over no doubt.  It's OK, I have duct tape.  The human zoo is awake, chilling out in clusters.  Festival adventures are being dissected from every viewpoint thus securing them into legend to be reported to those not lucky/wealthy enough to attend.  These people will listen in boredom.

We don't get out early, picking a path through the guy ropes requires more intricate steps than any I'll make on the dance floor.  We took a pit stop en route, thankfully the toilets had improved.  We wandered; Anna Calvi was playing on the main stage, the two songs we heard were OK.  Jonathan Wilson in the big tent, Nah.  Foxing at the Sunrise arena was much more like our thing and we chilled out amongst the tall trees of Endor.

Dinner was Vietnamese Noodles and very nice too.  Back up to the Obelisk where we saw Khruangbin playing psychedelic guitary stuff which would have been just the job on a sunny afternoon but another shower got us moving again, back towards the tent.  We're swimming against the tide of humanity going the other way.  These people are young, wealthy and middle class.  This festival is a rite of passage for every public school child in the south of England.  These are not our people.

After a siesta we dodged showers and got back to the Obelisk and near the front of a big crowd just in time for Loyle Carner.  What can I say?  Momentous,emotional, brilliant.  His voice is clear, his words are intelligent, he is humble and grateful. Has there ever been British hip hop on the main stage before?  He will come back and headline sometime.  The Princess and I loved it as did the packed crowd of youngsters that surrounded us.  They shouted the words but do they hear them?  These are not our people but Loyle is.

Hardly time to draw breath, over to the big tent for Primal Scream, oh yes!  Minutes crawl by...  Here they are!  Bobby in a shocking pink suit!  They started with 'Movin on up!' and ripped through an hour of hits that didn't let us off the hook.  One tiny niggle is my favourite songs are Screamadelic which don't sound quite as good live without a massive production.  The show finished with everyone singing 'Come together as one'  And we did, these are our people!  
Image may contain: one or more people, crowd, concert and night
We grabbed some donuts then found ourselves stuck in another flow of people which took us back up the hill towards the campsite.  Here we found the toilets had given up the ghost, this after running out of water earlier in the day, the campsite facilities are not coping!

Campsite voices

"Keith Allen, that's Lily Allen's Dad!"

"Why you taking her side for fuck sake?",  "I'm not taking anyone's side, I just want people to get along!"

"I was literally lost, like, only ten metres from here"

"I've never met anyone like her, she's so kind..."

"You were like two twins in the womb"

"I'm desperate for a wee!"


There was rain overnight but sunshine and showers through the day.  Rain is okay at night and in the morning, it quietens the campsite.  I had to brave the toilets to take a dump but thankfully they were working again.

We spent the afternoon in the comedy arena, starting with Kiri Pritchard-Mclean who is busty and welsh, as is her humour.  Made us laugh though.  A heavy shower brought people rushing into the tent without a care for anyone sitting there.  It almost got out of hand, the princess was fallen on.  When the rain stopped loads just fucked off again.  Wankers.  These are not our people.  Rosie Jones was actually much better than she comes across on TV, her delivery really works live.  Finally Mark Watson who we've seen twice before, both times he was brilliant and I couldn't believe he'd be that good again.  I was wrong.  He's a natural comedian and best in front of an audience.

On the way back we ate duck wrap from the 'Duck Truck', it was excellent, the best food I've had at a festival in years.

After a siesta the world went strange and we bounced against gravity on our way back to the arenas, destination Obelisk where we arrived just in time for Stereophonics who I've left drift by over the years.  They played a good professional set, every one a hit.  Most I liked, a couple I didn't but there were also a couple I really liked.  Yes they get the thumbs up from me, a load better than Snow Patrol who they replaced at short notice.  This was a very safe Latitude booking and these are not our people.

After a short turnaround the main stage was bouncing again, this time Underworld bringing the nineties back with an hour of big light show, massive sound, pounding beats, smiley faces and everyone dancing in a field.  It's party time, a euphoric crowd for dance legends.  These are our people, don't let it stop!

After that we wandered around, trying to find some music that suited our moods, we found success at the Sunrise arena where Kate Miller got us with some trancey stuff and Beneath hit us with drum and bass, we hung on to our people until our legs could take no more and the gum chewers were replaced by beer drinkers.  The camp site was riotous but hilarious and you can tune it out when you choose.  We got to bed around 0400.  We did get some sleep.

Campsite voices

"She's seen too much of Charlie at college..."

"When I was at high school I almost dropped my bag.  I screamed!"

"This is like, Britney in her prime..."

"Got to see a man about a dog", "Pills or by the gram?"

"Everything hurts.  Even my vagina hurts!"

"I'm going for a piss"


Low on energy due to last nights exertions but a hot tent got us up earlier than we would have liked.  We wanted to see Milton Jones in the comedy tent and actually got to the arena in time to see Ashley Storie who was very Glaswegian and quite funny.  Milton Jones came on, spat silly/clever one liners at us for an hour.  His act is the same but most of the jokes are fresh and he's always funny.  Steve Bugeja sent me to sleep and Lou Sanders wasn't funny enough to make us forget that our arses ached so we moved.
Image may contain: sky, grass, tree, outdoor and nature
We lay down in the sun at the Obelisk where Pale Waves made some entertaining music but I don't see them as future headliners.  Next up was Cat Power = wailing woman so we legged it and had fish and chips for dinner.  Twice before I've had festival fish and chips that was barely edible but it was third time lucky.  The people from Whitby done well.  We also treated ourselves to a 99 for afters.

The campsite looks like a shanty town inhabited by apes, which in a way it is only these apes are fucking retarded even by simian standards.  At the end of the festival this lot actually look like they've been throwing shit at each other.  Make up and designer labels don't hide festival scars.  Civilisation breaks down quickly, Lord of the Flies.  At least there are a few gaps where some have packed up early.  These are not our people.

We were knackered so crashed out for longer than planned, in fact the Princess was crashed out for good with a headache.  I tucked her in and made a last trip down to the arenas in time to see Slaves, two piece shouty punk that I was really enjoying...  These might be my people... Then there was an unscheduled interlude as a couple of people needed medical attention.  The band handled it brilliantly but as the delay lengthened I cut my losses and headed back, it just wasn't the same without my dancing partner.  My route took me through the back of the Obelisk arena where Lana Del Ray seemed like she hadn't improved much if at all since 2012 I think?

Back to the tent for a brew.  The Princess is crashed out, we won't be taking one last stroll around to say goodbye to our playground.  Time to lay down and listen to the drama unfolding all around me, the Lunateens want to go out with a bang.  They are not our people, I will tune them out eventually.

Campsite voices

"You're such a drama queen when you've been drinking"

"They'll think we're just a bunch of weed smoking white boys", "But that's what we are", "Shut up!"

"He reckons Smithy could take me in a fight.  I'm not having that..."

"Nick sucked off a lady boy..."

"Been for a shit, it didn't go well..."

"I feel perfectly normal, except I think I've pissed myself."


Another hot tent morning means we are awake early again.  I have to take a shit, it won't wait until I get home.  For the first time this weekend I can walk in a straight line to the toilet, which to be fair hasn't been in too bad a state, I haven't had too many refusals.

Festival Republic have cocked up this year, red camping was too packed and the facilities did not cope at times.  Over crowding led to tension and on at least one occasion, violence.  I can't ever remember seeing (or actually, like so many things, hearing) this at the festival before. At the price of a weekend ticket at least we should be able to expect drinking water and working toilets.  Next year we'll have to rethink where we camp.
Also in the year of Greta Thunberg, Extinction Rebellion, and plastic frenzy it was disheartening to see the amount of shit left behind by the next generation.  Are they ignorant or are their parents morons?  

What we did next was have yet another brew, eat some breakfast then decamp, before trudging back with a rucksack and loaded barrow through July heat for another fifty one weeks of shit sucking normality offset with flushing toilets, showers and comfortable beds.

Campsite voices

"Ket for breakfast!"

"Don't ever let me drink like that again", "You say that every year..."

"I'm still a big fan of the Wiggles"

"Brian!  Stop being a cunt!"

"Wilf had a wank in a portaloo"

"You were literally throwing up and shitting at the same time"

"Just piss through the fence"


  1. Excellent writing. It so made me glad I was watching sheep dogs

    PS When Whitby can't do decent fish and chips the world will have ended.

    1. Cheers Dave. There were sheep...

    2. Controversial pink sheep. FFS!

    3. They should be more bothered by the flight of panic when the sheep saw the Yeti :)