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Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 12:56 UK
Review: A BBC Blast reporter at Latitude Festival 2010

By Benedict Kent
BBC Introducing Blast reporter

Benedict Kent, BBC Blast reporter
Benedict shows off his wristband and backstage pass

I got the job as Blast reporter at BBC Suffolk three weeks ago and, to my barely suppressed delight, was told that my first job would be going to the Latitude Festival.

Despite my love for live music, I must confess that I had never been to a music festival before!

I had heard of the vibrancy of Latitude and the line up looked more contemporary compared to last year when the headliners included the Pet Shop Boys and Grace Jones.

I was very excited to see personal favourites The National, Yeasayer and Ipswich band The Cads, whose drummer I knew from school.

Security, toilets and crowds

Arriving on Friday afternoon, I quickly noticed the weight of security. There were thorough checks at every stage of entrance.

The stewards were always friendly - a very different breed from your usual club bouncers.

Having heard many dark rumours about the grime of festival toilets, especially one about a girl who fell in a cesspit somewhere or other, I found the facilities were not nearly as bad as I expected.

Painted sheep at the Latitude Festival
Latitude's multi-coloured sheep pen by the lake

For the majority of the weekend I survived on cold baked beans and tuna.

This isn't the best diet, but it did save a lot of money with festival food being unsurprisingly expensive, but not dissimilar in price to your average high street outlet.

I was slightly disappointed with the sheer weight of people crammed into the site.

The capacity increased to 35,000 this year, while the physical size of the site has remained the same since the first edition in 2006 when around 12,000 turned up.

In contrast to the personal, 'boutique' atmosphere that I had heard about, the festival did feel extremely crowded sometimes.

It was particularly frustrating when I attempted to access the literature and poetry tents only to finds queues outside for the more popular acts.

However, the sheer range of things to see, hear and do completely blew my expectations.

On top of the incredible music on offer, there was also a bountiful array of drama, poetry, art and literature.

When I did manage to get into the poetry tent, I was particularly impressed by the fiery Kate Tempest as she performed a 13 minute feat of rap/song/spoken word.

Jonsi at the Latitude Festival
Jonsi with the BBC Suffolk Introducing team behind the Lake Stage

Volcanic performance

The gig of the weekend was definitely Jónsi in the Word Arena. As a long-term fan of Iceland's Sigur Rós, I wasn't sure how his solo project would go down.

However, this performance was nothing less than stunning. His beautifully strange falsetto vocals, combined with ferocious drumming and emotional piano-led crescendos created a soundscape that was simply other-worldly.

Backstage I was helping Richard and Graeme prepare for their BBC Suffolk Introducing outside broadcast on Sunday afternoon.

Providing research for, and sitting-in on, their interview with Jónsi was quite special and meeting Winston and Ben from Mumford & Sons was pretty darn cool.

Looking back on it, even chivvying BBC Introducing's national supremo Huw Stephens along to an interview was rather amusing.

It was fascinating to watch a radio programme being put together.

The running order suddenly changed to fit in audio from the press conference about the rapes that had taken place.

The boys also had to cope manfully with a couple of power failures while they were on-air.

Latitude was such a vibrant festival that I would recommend it to anyone, especially those who appreciate passionate music, excellent art and picturesque settings.

While I had a worker's pass, I think it would be worth the £155 weekend ticket fee, and that says a lot coming from a student!

Latitude Festival 2010
The capacity of Latitude increased by 5,000 to 35,000 in 2010




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