Total Guitar headed across the country to Henham Park, Suffolk to review Latitude festival 2010. Sunday's bands included Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Mumford & Sons and Vampire Weekend.
Following what was a brief (but ultimately uncalled-for) downpour on Saturday morning, Sunday was a completely different matter and in a sunny disposition, TG staggered from the campsite to the Arena in order to catch Spectrals.
We saw these guys supporting Frankie & The Heartstrings at the 100 Club back in June and were impressed by their Cribs-gone-surfing approach to indie music. We reckon they won't be everyone's cup of tea, but if they keep writing blissful tunes like 'Leave Me Be' that could all change.
After Spectrals, it was straight to the Obelisk Arena to setup (read: go to the bar) ahead of Mumford & Sons arrival. On bafflingly early in the day and, annoyingly, at the same time as The Big Pink, their set was a good example of the poor scheduling of this year's festival. The fact that they drew almost as big a crowd as headliners Vampire Weekend, cemented this in TG's mind. Still, they played a fantastic set, even unveiling a new song, which evidenced their new Americana direction.
Later, this year's most likely to "pull an Animal Collective" word-of-mouth hit, Yeasayer,played a rapturous set in the Word Arena, Anand Wilder's delay-soaked guitar sound allowing them to get their hooks in any of those still to make their mind up.
Back at the Obelisk Arena in early evening Rodrigo Y Gabriela proved the perfect warm-up for the night's festivities. TG thought that, given this was the second time we had witnessed the Mexican's mind-boggling acoustic skills, we wouldn't be as floored. We were wrong of course and by the end of the set, voices were hoarse and hands sore from cheering.
Dashing to the Word Arena to catch some of Sigur Ros' mentalist frontman Jónsi's set also proved to be an excellent decision. The waiflike Icelandic singer stuck primarily to eery-vocal duties, but occasionally could be seen strumming an acoustic guitar or two. Drawing from his second solo album, 'Go', TG was surprised by how much we enjoyed his new brand of (slightly camp) atmospheric pop.
Finally it was back to the Obelisk Arena to catch final headliners Vampire Weekend. You would have thought the responsibility of their first festival headline slot (with only two albums' material to draw from) might have weighed heavily on VW's shoulders, but if it did, they didn't show it. Taking to the stage 20 minutes late (their equipment was delayed coming in from Portugal) frontman Ezra Koenig was in excellent spirits, coaxing the audience into more movement that they'd seen all weekend and impressing TG with his chromatic runs and afrobeat guitar style.
All in all Latitude 2010 was a success and, despite some bizarre scheduling, it featured the best musical line-up yet seen. However, the extra capacity nearly ruined the festival as atmosphere was sacrificed for footfall and, after all, it's the atmosphere that makes Latitude fans return. TG reckons they'll have to pull something fairly special out of the hat in 2011 to encourage them back.