Latitude 2018 – Part One: The Festival.

Dear Blog,

Last months I had the most amazing 5 days volunteering at Latitude Festival. As I volunteered as well as went to my first ever festival, I’ve decided to split this blog into two; One part dedicated the festival itself and the second part dedicated to my volunteering experience with Hotbox Events. Enjoy!

As my long time followers will be aware of, 2018 marks a year of change for me. A year of saying more ‘Yes’ and less ‘No’ and so far, I have pushed myself in ways I never thought possible. As a teetotaler and overall introvert, the festival scene has never really been very appealing but when the advert to volunteer popped up on my Facebook all the way back in February, I thought “Meh, why not” and I am so glad I did.

Latitude, located only 45 minutes from me in Norwich, is known as a more chilled, family friendly, kind of festival with something to entertain everyone. With this in mind, it felt like a safe bet.

I arrived at the campsite on the 11th July, a day before the festival was opened to the public so I could be briefed on my shifts and site rules ect… There wasn’t much to do that day as the world cup dominated most of the afternoon. The following day however, the festival Village opened and staff members were allowed exclusive access the arena area of the festival. I took this opportunity to take a bunch of Snapchat videos and compiled them into a handy little snap shot of my day. It was great to see all the stalls and stages free before becoming rammed with festival goers in the coming days. I managed to get quite a few freebies too! Including a t-shirt, drinks and several wristbands. I was very happy. It was a great little V.I.P experience. unfortunately, during June and July, Britain experiance one of its longest and hottest dry spells, leaving the ground very dusty and the grass had turned to straw so the entire festival sort of felt like it was being held in a barn. I would be lovely to see what it looked like before.

There were five different stages; Two main music stages (the BBC Music tent and Obelisk), The Comedy stage, The Lake view and The Water front which were mainly for the lesser known bands and alternative entertainment. There were also other little stages scattered around in various places.

It is a tradition of Latitudes to spray paint their sheep pink. I’m not entirely sure why but I have been told they don’t mind and it washes off as soon as it rains. So please don’t be alarmed if you see them in the below video.

 

The festival opened up to the public on friday and it was already really busy. I remember looking at the crowds thinking “There is no way more people can arrive?!” but of course with the headline act playing on saturday evening, it was going to get a lot more intense. The great thing about the more well-known acts playing at the weekend was that most of Fridays entertainment was from up and coming singer/comedians. Some of the best jokes were from entertainers who were still finding their feet in show business. I was truly amazing to be able to witness this person who, no doubt about it, will become a successful comedian, spread their wings on what is probably their biggest stage to date. These performances were also the lease crowded so you got the enjoy the experience from a reasonable distance. One of my favourite highlights from Latitude.

A lot of the stalls had begun to open up on the Friday and anything that was offering freebies, I was there (I love my freebies). Hair brand Aussie were offering some free dry shampoo samples and fresh juices if you took a photo in their bathtub. As you can see in my video below, I gladly took part. I was a fan of Aussie before the festival so free dry shampoo sounded amazing, especially given how much dust was in the air from our lack of rain. The juice however… Perhaps a little too much on the healthy side for my liking. It was beetroot, carrot and ginger. I think I’ll give that a miss next time.

 

I was on duty for most of Saturday but once my shift had finished, I was able to rush over to see Harry Hill at the Comedy tent. That was an interesting experience. unfortunately, I found his act to be rather dry especially as his closer was to get members of the audience to lick a piece of styrofoam and stick them altogether. Yes, it really was that weird. It became apparent that Harry works better with a script and TV studio.

I discovered my favourite stall after watching Harry Hill; Festival Postcards. A little stall that sold festival themed postcards (what gave that away) and a little post box so you could send them, while at the festival. I can not emphasise how excited I was to discover such a stall existed. A long running tradition of Gemma’s and mine is send each other postcards so this inexpensive shop was a little hidden treasure.

The Killers were Latitudes big headline act and what an act they were. I managed to get reasonably close to the front of the stage and my view was brilliant. Brandon Flowers has such a fantastic stage presence, genuinely looking happy to be there and entertain us all. About half way through their set, The Killers noticed two signs in the audience asking to play the drums. Picking one, the gentleman (I can’t remember his name. Micheal? Micky? I’m sure it began with an M) took to the stage and aced ‘For Reasons Unknown’. The whole crowd was cheering this guys name. It must have been an amazing feeling. Now, I don’t know if this bit was staged or not but I like to think it was a genuine act if kindness. The guys face of pure nerves and concentration seemed far too real.

 

I didn’t have much free time on Sunday (my last day) as my shift began midafternoon. There wasn’t much on in the morning so I made myself at home in one of the handy hammocks that were scattered across the festival grounds. It was so oddly peaceful. You would never expect to be able to swing happily in a hammock beside a river during a festival. It’s one of the many aspects that make Latitude so unique.

I manged to watch the Chortle Student Comedy finalists. They were a funny bunch of university students who had all entertain the Chortle contest while in the middle of their degree’s. I have a lot of respect for anyone who can take on something like this while studying as doing my degree alone, took all my time and energy. There were six finalists, all given a 7 minute window to blow us away with their jokes. Most successeded. It was an enjoyable experience.

 

As you can see, my videos get progressively shorter the busier Latitude and I became.

All in all, this was an absolutely amazing experience. There really aren’t many things in life that I would give a 10/10 review but this has come very VERY close. I’ll say a 9.9/10 (I don’t believe anything can be perfect). As my first ever festival, Latitude was a very fun, relaxed place to be. I felt safe, comfortable and just genuinely on a high all week-long. I hope next year is just as good.

 

I have not be paid to promote anything or anyone featured in the article. All opinions are my own. 

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