Saturday came and went in a whirlwind of sounds, colours, laughter and more. Featuring mesmerising performances from Paolo Nutini, Fern Brady, Young Fathers, Kai Bosch and more, day three of Latitude Festival was an unforgettable celebration of music, talent, comedy, arts, and so much more. And we already can’t wait to do it all over again today – but first, read on for our highlights recap.
The 20-year-old musician Kai Bosch entered the BBC Sounds Stage on Saturday as its multitalented opener. Immediately jumping into a delicate mix of popular tracks and yet-to-be-released songs, he took the listeners along a journey of his intricate musical world, all created under the veil of darkness and infused with a soft yet intense emotional depth. Hailing from a small town in Cornwall, the young artist moved to the grand city of Berlin just as he turned 17 and has been making waves in the industry ever since then – and we definitely feel like his set at Latitude was only one magnificent stop on the artist’s fantastical path ahead.
This rising star of the comedy scene and self-described “sexual Swiss army knife” burst on to the Comedy Arena stage brimming with bouncy energy, skipping about and barely able to repress her own laughter. Her set – half stand-up, half musical comedy – pinballs from silly wordplay to impassioned cries for solidarity with the transgender community. Songs included a pun-tastic ode about gluten intolerance and a playfully derisive takedown of the hysteria surrounding so-called “woke” culture. Gray’s performance ended on a gloriously triumphant note with ‘Better Than You’ (harking back to her infamous performance on Friday Night Live), mirthfully sticking up two fingers to her critics, which earned her a standing ovation from the cheering crowd.
SCHOOLS CLIMATE ASSEMBLY
The Schools Climate Assembly united prominent figures in climate activism to make their voices heard in the face of the climate crisis. Presented by Chris Packham, Hamza Yassin and Jayde Adams, SCA joined forces at this year’s Latitude to envision and discuss the possibilities of and ways we can get to a more hopeful and optimistic future for 2050. Touching upon themes of politics, the need to vote, Brexit, ways of how every single person can help make a positive change and offering things and ideas we all can do in order to secure a better future for the unified world, the event served as a rallying point to initiate a call for change and demand action.
Fern Brady’s Saturday set drew in the largest crowd of the day at the Comedy Arena, and had the audience in stitches with her ice-cool, bone-dry wit. The set is largely focused on her rapidly approaching middle age (having just hit the ripe old age of 37) and the ensuing neuroses, ranging from jokes about the admin side of dating and relationships to an extended pitch-black routine about an imagined future of locked-in syndrome. Brady is whip-smart with a plethora of wonderfully caustic material, shunning platitudes regarding her relatively recent autism diagnosis, instead viewing it as a weapon with which she can send a crowd into fits of laughter with her trademark cutting observations.
THE MARY WALLOPERS
As the weather took a turn for the worse, festivalgoers found themselves in search of shelter, coming across some of Latitude’s hidden gems in doing so. One such act was the Mary Wallopers, who took to the Sunrise Arena in the early evening to face a crowd of soaking wet punters. What followed was an hour of pure anarchic revelry, with the Dundalk seven-piece injecting a number of folk classics with a spark of gloriously irreverent energy. Their raucous set was fuelled by a fiercely anti-establishment sentiment, with an infallible spirit that wasn’t dampened once by the downpour outside the Sunrise Arena tent. The Mary Wallopers’ boundless energy certainly provided a perfect respite from the inclement weather.
Young Fathers are a group unlike any other. Members Alloysious Massaquoi, Graham ‘G’ Hastings and Kayus Bankole blend hip hop, soul, post-punk and noise to create a sonic melting pot that sent the crowd into a jubilant frenzy. It’s near impossible to ascribe any single genre to their sound, but the BBC Sounds headliners defy all definitions and categorisations – and that’s what makes their music so intoxicating. The iconic blue and red big top was transformed into a powder keg of pulsating energy, with hits such as ‘Get Up’ and ‘Shame’ igniting an inferno of tumultuous movement. Thousands of festivalgoers found themselves completely swept up in the euphoric mass, making for easily one of the most memorable performances of the festival.
Paolo Nutini made a momentous return to Latitude, stepping back onto the Obelisk Arena’s stage once more after his fabled 2011 headline slot, which was named Performance of the Year at the UK Festival Awards. The popular singer-songwriter masterfully balanced the new and the old in his almost two-hour-long set, avoiding turning it into a greatest hits show and artfully restyling his older tracks differently and infusing them with fresh life while introducing the new tracks with a modern and heartfelt approach. Featuring stunningly soft and almost psychedelic visuals, his wonderful band and supported by the excited chants and clapping of his enamoured crowd, Nutini’s headline show was one that we will be thinking about for a long time to come.
We can’t believe the final day of the festival is finally upon us – be sure to check back this time tomorrow for our final highlights reel of Latitude 2023!
by Laura Weingrill and Alison Hall