Latitude festival 2012 – Big bee review

Phil Byrne

20 July 2012

Bon Iver’s Stalactites, multi-coloured sheep, a floating piano, painted faces and blistered feet. Last weekend was Latitude 2012.

"It’s more than just a music festival…” shouted the banners around the Suffolk grounds of Latitude 2012. “How so?” I thought, as I adjusted my antennae and wafted in vain at the black bugs making love to my stripy fur…

Yep, my ticket into Suffolk’s answer to Glastonbury came in the form of a giant bee costume. Well, at least it was for a good cause. The Bee Cause.

So here’s the best, not the rest, from a man-sized bee’s perspective.

1. Tim Minchin, Comedy Tent

If David Bowie were a comedian, he’d be Tim Minchin. The audience were hungry – and he delivered, serving up the cheesiest puns you’ll ever hear – “E-damn you” Tim.

2. Bat for Lashes, Obelisk Arena

Natasha Khan cast a spell to defrost the coldest of hearts or at least dry out a fair few wet barnets. Listen out for new song Laura. I had to drag myself away to make Jack Dee’s set.

3. Alabama Shakes, Obelisk Arena

A friend in France emailed about one of the best concerts she’s ever been to. Luckily that very band were playing Latitude the next day. Weighty gospel-infused rock. You just gotta sing.

4. Mark Lamarr's God's Jukebox: Wanda Jackson, Film and Music Arena

When someone recounts time spent with Elvis Presley as nonchalantly as reading out a menu – and laughs off a horse-sized throat injection like bad tasting cough medicine – you know you’re watching something very special.

5. John Hegley, Poetry Arena

Comic. Poet. Story-telling genius. And, in his own words, a potato.

So forget the in-tent swimming pool that had replaced my sleeping bag, the three-hour stroll to get inside and the eau de toilette. I won’t, but you feel free.

I also won’t forget the hundreds of postcards people signed asking David Cameron to save our bees.

Was I still seriously pondering that slogan? Some things are just too obvious, right? Don’t let our bees disappear.

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