17 August 2014


I guess America does have a lot of music festivals - but they seem to me, at least, to be a particularly British thing to do. To go, for several days, to a huge campsite, and sleep in tents only feet away from other people sleeping in tents... it's something I never did in the States.

I tried, once, in Australia, and failed miserably.

But British people love a festival. I know several who will spend hundreds of pounds, on a single festival ticket EVERY YEAR to go to Glastonbury - which, remember, is 5 days long. Your food, drink, travel there and back...  are not included in the ticket price.

This year, I was invited to go to Latitude Festival as an In The Dark Radio performer.

In The Dark Radio is a collective of radio enthusiasts (you know, people like me!) who run listening events. I've been running it in Manchester for a few months, now - it's a great way to make other people geek out on radio.

Jonti and I approached it as a sort-of-cheap holiday. I had to do some hours at the In the Dark hut, he had to buy an actual ticket, but other than that, I definitely recommend Latitude.

We organised a car-share to get there with some strangers. That could have gone poorly, I suppose, but we got lucky. Annette & Sonu are people we'd actually like to be friends with.

We got our lovely new tent up the first afternoon.

The sky over Henham Park, in Suffolk. Latitude is in one of the many beautiful parts of England.

The In the Dark Radio hut was built by an artist collective called Morning.

You are not supposed to squat on the swings like this guy did. You are supposed to swing gently and listen hard to the excellent radio we play into the hut.

I'm sure I do not need to tell you why this is adorable. I'm also sure that you, too, despair at the Oxford Online Dictionary's decision to include 'adorbs' as a word.
It rained a bit on Friday night, but by the time we were festivalling again, the rain had drained away.At some point on Saturday, Jonti and I needed some time alone together, not with 35,000 other festival go-ers, and we headed back to the tent just to get some quiet alone-time. When you are willing to lay in a boiling hot, bright, humid tent in the middle of the day, you are in serious need of quiet alone-time.
On Saturday night, though, there was an enormous storm. Because we had a lovely new tent (see above), the storm was intense, but it was not in tents. LOL.We had scheduled a late night 'adults-only' radio session on Saturday night - Nina, the director of In the Dark, had it on her laptop & iPhone. As we all showed up at the hut, shivering and soaked through, we tried to plug in Nina's iPhone. It was water-damaged and wouldn't work. We tried to plug in her laptop. It didn't really want to work. Finally, we got the night playing, but our hut was just filled with drunk people sheltering from the storm. They didn't want to hear it. We wanted to get back to our tents, get dry & get into bed.We stopped the event early. Thank goodness. I trudged back through the mud and rain, hoping the tent was dry, and not entirely sure that I would sign up for a festival again, to be honest. But apart from the storm on Saturday night, we were lucky with the weather. 
And we got to see and do some very fun things. One of our favourite bands, Future Islands, played, and we got right up to the front row. Hozier & Haushka, both bands we hadn't heard and fell in love with... We saw the Royal Shakespeare Company do Revolt, She Said, Revolt, which was powerful and incredible.We saw Arthur Smith do his comedy/storytelling bit with Leonard Cohen songs, and it was truly wonderful. Until the bit at the end where a grown man came hopping out of back stage with a mask on and nothing else. Until that bit, I was very charmed by this show... And Jon Ronson gave a quirky Jon Ronson-style talk.As we were packing up the tent on Monday morning, I thought, yeah, I'd probably do it again. Bring on Glastonbury!--Side note: This time next week, I'll be visiting you Atlanta lot. Get ready! I can't wait to see y'all! I can't wait for you to meet Jonti!