So the lovely people at BBC Radio 6 Music, who are playing a huge part in organising Latitude Festival 2013 (with their own stage to prove it), invited us down to the festival launch event last night - and boy, oh boy does it look exciting.
Top of the bill stand Kraftwerk, fresh out of their Tate Modern audiovisual spectacular, who will be performing the best bits from this in another 3D spectacular in the Obelisk Arena on Saturday night – warmed up into a rave by Hot Chip and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, naturally. And for those who don’t appreciate German electro-pioneers and their renowned ‘support acts’, how does Bloc party, Foals, Maccabees, Steve Mason (who did a lovely set and commendable political rant at the launch), Cat Power, Local Natives, Beach House, alt-J, Modest Mouse, Yo La Tengo, I Am Kloot and more (a new minimalist electronic band) sound?
Of course, I would love to sit here and chat about the brilliant comedy, theatre and dance, spoken word, literary and cabaret that Latitude has to offer this year, but we’re a music website people and it’s Latitude’s job to be all ‘Oooh but we’re not JUST about music’. Indeed, talking to Latitude’s main man, Festival Republic Managing Director, Melvin Benn, it’s clear why Latitude stands out on the festival scene. Whilst he points out to us that Reading and Leeds remain his favourite ‘core’ and ‘absolute’ music festivals, throughout the night he can’t help but rave about Latitude’s uniqueness as an all-embracing festival. Last year’s unusual booking of Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang is a perfect example of this – which Benn tells me epitomises his desire to ‘do something new’ with Latitude.
After speaking with Benn and considering the genuine quality of 2013’s lineup, it is clear that Latitude is a festival which thrives on a unique identity – something which other festivals and live music venues alike need to do too (rather than emulate) in order to ensure exclusive live rights to bands who are increasingly touring as their main form of income in the world of piracy. Whether this prevailing phenomenon in the live music scene will benefit it or send it on a path in which certain generations and classes are priced out of live music remains to be seen. But for now, Latitude tickets look awfully tempting to most eyes and also point towards a brighter future based on deeper collaborations between broadcasters and festival organisers that go beyond mere coverage.
Full line-up here.