Five reasons why the Latitude Festival 2015 is ideal for students

Student politics, the environment, and an abundance of food are just a few reasons to head to Latitude this week as it celebrates its tenth birthday

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The Independent Online

Latitude will celebrate a landmark birthday when it kicks off on 16 July.

In its ten years, the festival – where acts play in candle-lit woodland arenas – has helped to launch the careers of Ben Howard, Rudimental and Bombay Bicycle Club.

Winning ‘Best Family Festival’ at the UK Festival Awards in 2013, Latitude has shot to fame in recent years for its family-friendly atmosphere. It is popular with students too; it’s slightly cheaper than the likes of Reading, (£213 for a weekend ticket) and Glastonbury (£230), and has a line-up to match many students’ political, musical and artistic interests.

In-charge of recruiting the acts that storm the festival’s innovative arts scene is arts Curator Tania Harrison, who first pitched Latitude as a ‘different kind of festival’ to Festival Republic director Melvin Benn back in 2006.

Choosing mind over matter, Harrison and her fellow organisers take pride in audience interest. “People shouldn’t underestimate a festival audience,” she told The Telegraph in 2013. After all, it is her job to “find out what they will like” and to “give them a bit more.”

And more they have certainly given us – this year, music headliners alt-j, Portishead and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will play alongside just under 600 acts from countless genres set to draw crowds across 23 venues.

As part of the birthday celebrations, organisers are also opening the park’s stunning lake to swimmers. In case you needed another reason to take the plunge, here are five reasons why Latitude’s growing student scene could soon catch up with Glastonbury:

Student politics is on the menu

The Literary Arena will deliver a series of political talks this year, including a debate chaired by Guardian columnist and ‘Chavs’ author Owen Jones on Thursday 16 July.

Mr Jones will speak alongside award-winning journalist Suzanne Moore and Labour Councillor Georgia Gould to discuss austerity, inequality and the future of the Left in the UK following Labour’s ‘devastating’ defeat in the General Election in May.

On Friday 17 July, ‘Political Animals: Class, Identity and Politics in the 21st Century’, will feature political broadcaster Andrew Marr and social anthropologist and author Kate Fox. Go along to find out how the Internet has affected our modern community.

The environment is a priority

Often billed ‘children of the future’, carbon-conscious students shouldn’t fret about the environmental impact of Latitude. Organisers strive to treat the festival’s parkland home in the best possible way, and have made sure every food item – including its packaging – is biodegradable.

Every time you purchase a bite to eat from a sponsored catering outlet, you will be given trays, plates and bowls made from BioPak products, so breathe easy knowing it can be easily be turned into compost at an in-vessel composting plant in nearby Parham.

For those hoping to save cash, stoves and barbecues are a great option for students as they reduce the price of group dining. Organisers recommend bringing the Green Heat base camp cookers and fuels or Fuel4, a renewable bio-ethanol fuel for cooking outdoors. Both can be found in camping shops or online at low prices.

And wherever you see a landfill bin, two recyclable ones will join it – one for plastic bottles and aluminium cans, and another for all food scraps, bowls, plates and cutlery. 

All tastes are catered for

Meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike – Latitude has something for everyone.

Inside the festival’s village and just outside the arenas, hungry students can snack on anything from salad to tapas, burgers, doughnuts, wraps, fruit and yoghurt at the park’s hand-picked catering facilities. All cuisines are provided for, including Caribbean, Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Indian and Chinese. You could - if you wanted to, of course – challenge yourself to eat the produce of a different country every day of the festival (do at your own risk).

Cheaper options are widely available at the perpetually stocked Village Shop, an outlet that sources food locally to help Suffolk’s economy and reduce environmental harm.

It’s artsy in all the right places

Hundreds of poets and authors will perform spoken word, poetry slams, read sections of stories and engage in question and answer sessions with spectators in Latitude’s Literary Arena this year.

Students and other festival-goers can enjoy performances by the National Youth Theatre and witness Ian Winwood quiz folk singer Frank Turner on his new book, ‘The Road Beneath My Feet,’ released in March 2015. Catch “urban wordsmith” George the Poet on Friday 17 July on the Film and Music Stage, and visit the Faraway Forest for beat-boxing workshops, talks and art installations.

It fosters young talent

Tipped to showcase the most ‘exciting music stars of tomorrow’ by the festival’s organisers, the iArena – snuggled under the stars in a canopy of trees – will celebrate young talent.

Sponsored by the i newspaper, this woodland stage will play host to festival staple Clark and DJ duo The 2 Bears, as well as singer-songwriters like Londoners Izzy Bizu and Duke Garwood.

The Chortle Student Comedy Awards will give festival-goers a chance to meet the UK’s funniest students on Friday 17 July. The prestigious awards brought us Simon Bird, of The Inbetweeners, plus Chris Ramsey and Tom Rosenthal. You may have seen them already, as the judges are just back from a nation-wide university tour.