The festival circuit is awash with events pertaining to be perfect for families, and most are pretty good at what they do. Three years ago Sam Hillier, then aged eight, reviewed Camp Bestival and did a smashing job. He hasn’t been to a festival since, and when the chance to go to Latitude came along he seemed the perfect person to go.
His brother Albert, now seven, is now old enough to record his thoughts. Between them and their parents Amy and James, they’ve got the skinny on what went down in Suffolk at the weekend…
Albert. Aged Seven
My best things were making a wooden sword which I waited ages to do, getting a puppet of a seal which is really soft and strokey and swimming in the lake with Daddy. Although you couldn’t see the bottom because the water was brown. Latitude is a fun place with lots of nice food to eat. I loved the waffles and I kept a gobstopper in my sock to suck for the whole of Sunday.
We slept in a brown tent and I could find it because there was a red stripy tent with fairy lights on it near to us. Me and daddy saw a man called Nick Helm who talked about the Ibis hotel a lot and said the F Word about 20 times in 5 minutes, which I don’t think would have impressed his mum, although everyone seemed to laugh at him. Seasick Steve was sick and he had a really long, furry beard. I love the 'Summertime Boy' song.
Sam. Aged 11
Latitude festival was amazing! With a wide range of things to do, things to eat and, of course things to see and listen to.
After a short trek to the campsite, carrying heavy bags, we set up our tents and then, bursting with excitement, set off to explore.Through the woods we walked, (well Albert and I ran, everyone else walked) towards the music playing in the background. Suddenly, before us was a sight to behold. Across the lake, a massive big top tent (the BBC 6Music arena) surrounded by hundreds of food stalls, and thousands, yes THOUSANDS, of people milling around eating and drinking and just doing what they do.
If you walked on further you got to the main stage (the Obelisk Arena), which towered over the everyone.
The food & drink options were vast! From hamburgers and pulled-pork burgers to foot-long hot dogs and macaroni cheese, from paella and curry to fajitas and fish and chips, and from waffles and pancakes to doughnuts and chocolate, and from fizzy-drinks to milkshakes. But do you know what the best bit is? There is even much, much more food than that. I reckon you would have to be there for weeks to eat it all.
Best of all though, there were so many bands on. My favourite was the Vaccines. They rocked it. I stood on the rail at the back and could see everything. It was definitely my favourite gig ever, and I thought their guitarist (Freddie) was the best guitarist of the weekend. They are all cool though, and I spent the rest of the weekend humming the boss baseline in ‘Dream Lover’
I also liked Wolf Alice, Years & Years, and Seasick Steve. They were really entertaining, played great music and I took loads of pictures to put up on Instagram. There was some stuff I didn’t like, though. Some of the loos were stinky (though my uncle reckoned they were much better than any festival he’d ever been to), the bags we carried to set up the tent were quite heavy and there wasn’t always salt at the chip van. Other stuff I liked was the drunk man I saw falling on his friends, and the Kids Area in the woods with a kind of adventure rope walkway was brilliant. I think Latitude was AWESOME!
Mum. Younger than Dad
Sam was finishing Junior School on the Friday, so we had to leave Saturday morning. This meant that we arrived after most people, but we squeezed our tent into a pretty full field and our new neighbours either didn’t mind or pretended they didn’t mind! There were lots of people around to direct and give information, and the walk from the car to the camping was close enough to allow two trips without losing a whole afternoon.
Within half a day I felt like I knew where everything was and we managed to do the rounds. Sunday morning we went to watch 946, a Knee High adaptation by Michael Morpugo. To be honest, it was pretty long but the kids lasted it all which I took as a good sign. Music-wise I was happy to go with the flow and watch bands that everyone else liked. Seeing The Manics do ‘A Design For Life’ was a nice reminder of years gone by, mind!
It was lovely to watch our firstborn, Sam, getting stuck in, poring over the programme and choosing which stage to visit next. We’ve been to festivals with him before, but it was the first time he’s ever really engaged with the line-up.
He was okay to go off on his own once we’d established a meeting point and time, and this is one of the most memorable things about Latitude. It really feels safe. There were loads of groups of young-ish teenagers around who presumably came with their parents, but were free to roam. They were probably misbehaving, but with so many staff and security around it felt like as good a place as any for this to happen!
The littlest, Albert, was less interested in the music but kept amused whittling, crafting, playing in the kids area and swimming in the lake. Once he was in bed, I was happy to stay at the tent listening to the festival from a distance. On the Sunday Noel Gallagher was playing and though I enjoyed it from my porch, Sam said, “Yeah I could hear him from my tent, and it helped me drop off to sleep. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.”
Dad. Aged 41
Amy and I have been to festivals with the kids on a number of occasions. We stopped a few years back because they took light years to drive to and upon arriving, dragging screaming toddlers along with tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, kettles, nappies and boxes of Rice Crispies became more like a military operation than a relaxing weekend away. Now the kids are a bit older it seemed like the perfect time to dip our toes back in.
A festival with so much to consume and four of you to consume it means there’s always someone who wants a milkshake, or a wee, or to go to another stage, or to get a Tuborg lager (who like some sort of swaggering bully had somehow managed to jostle out every other beer from the playground). After the first day though we had settled in and twigged on that we didn’t need to see, drink and eat it all…
Sam had a particularly eye opening time. He loved the music and upon getting back to London has not stopped playing his bass and piano. He's nailed the hook from The Vaccines’ ‘Dream Lover’ straight away.
On Sunday we were lucky enough to stumble across Eddie Argos (of Art Brut), who gave a very warm and engaging talk in the poetry tent in which he commanded his audience to all go and form a band as soon as they got home. He’ll be pleased to hear that there’s an 11 year old in our house who is determined to do that… and a 41 year old who is also eyeing his battered Yamaha acoustic with similarly nostalgic notions.