ALTERNATIVE STAGE ANNOUNCED TODAY
Following the announcement last week that the UK’s first socially distanced live music arena would be launching on Tyneside, its organisers have today confirmed a barnstorming opening line-up. Virgin Money Unity Arena will officially launch at Newcastle Racecourse, Gosforth Park, on Friday 14th August and Saturday 15th August THIS YEAR. Two Door Cinema Club will be the first heavweight headliner to … Read more
ALTERNATIVE STAGE ANNOUNCED TODAY
Today, Friday 17th June, the UK’s finest multi-arts festival Latitude is delighted to announce further names joining the Comedy Arena line up at this year’s event, which takes place from Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th July 2016 in the stunning grounds of Henham Park, Suffolk.
Latitude is thrilled to announce that one of Britain’s most celebrated comedians Bill Bailey will headline at Latitude this year. Known for the astounding musical knowledge that saw him become a panel show staple on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, as well as starring in Channel 4’s sitcom Black Books – Bill Bailey is an internationally acclaimed stand-up comedian, renowned for his trademark intelligence and wit. Bailey will be delighting Latitude audiences with his uproariously funny blend of show-stopping musical comedy as his famous Limboland world tour makes a stop at Henham Park next month.
Also performing this year will be Silver Sony Award winner Milton Jones. The pun-loving comedian is best known for delivering “beautiful one-liners so skilfully sculpted, you don’t know whether to laugh or put them on your mantelpiece” Guardian. Milton Jones is regularly on Mock the Week (BBC2), has appeared on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow (BBC1), Live at the Apollo (BBC1) and has headlined Dave’s One Night Stand (DAVE).
Katherine Ryan will be entertaining audiences with her acerbic, razor sharp critique of pop culture. Originally from Canada, Katherine is a stand-up who has taken the UK television and live comedy scene by storm as a team leader on comedy roast show Safeword and a presenter on Heir, alongside being a regular fixture on panel shows, including appearances in Mock the Week, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Have I Got News For You.
Creator, writer and actor of the multi-award-winning The League of Gentlemen, Reece Shearsmith, and comedian, actor and presenter Rufus Hound will be the special guests for Robin Ince & Josie Long’s Festival Shambles: a very special take on their hit podcast, Book Shambles. Previous guests and topics have included quantum physics with Charlotte Church, Charlie Chaplin and Eddie Izzard, and what to read when you’re in outer space with astronaut Chris Hadfield.
With over 12 million YouTube hits to his name, Piff the Magic Dragon has performed to hundreds of thousands in Shakespeare’s Globe, the O2, London and Sydney Opera House. Along with his Chihuahua, Mr. Piffles, Piff’s mixture of magic tricks and deadpan comedy has received high critical acclaim from the likes of Sir Ian McKellan, who called him “the hit of the party” and a “hugely entertaining hour of grumpy magic” from Time Out.
Also performing this year is Radio 4 stalwart and one of Britain’s finest comedian’s Marcus Brigstocke, who will host Prince Fest, a performance in tribute to an artist who changed the world. Join Marcus and special guests for an evening of conversation and celebration, culminating in a fittingly eclectic, flamboyant finale.
Hot on the heels of his new BBC 3 sitcom Sunny D, Dane Baptiste has had incredible success with his stand up shows Citizen Dane and Reasonable Doubts, and is already being hailed as one of the most exciting acts to break through in years.
American comic and New York Times bestselling author of I Can Barely Take Care of Myself, Jen Kirkman will also be performing, following the release of her Netflix comedy special I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine) – which was named one of the top ten stand-up specials of 2015 by The Atlantic and Time Out New York.
Further acts include musical comedy duo Jonny & The Baptists who will be delivering their seemingly light-hearted yet satirical take on right-wing politics and media hysteria; Jonathan Pie will bring a cutting parody of broadcast journalism, performing as a UK News reporter with brutally honest views on the world of politics; plus technophobe Jimmy McGhie, who has just finished a string of sell out shows during his second tour of Asia, following a welcomed return to Edinburgh Fringe.
Award-winning comedian and warm-up for The Graham Norton Show Joe Bor will be performing as Jasper Cromwell Jones, a hapless climber who retells the story of a treacherous climb, including a video cameo by TV favourite Jack Whitehall. The hugely talented Lou Sanders will be performing this year, having been featured in The Times ‘Witty Women To Watch 2014’, along with hopeless romantic comedic poet Micky P Kerr, the unpredictable risk-taking Luke McQueen, and Joey Page, who has been named by Chortle as “one of comedy’s most unique and exciting new talents”.
Finally, Thom Foole’s Shed Party will be delighting the Latitude crowd this year, providing an evening of clowning, comedy, storytelling, mischief and party games in the Shed of Stories, hosted by absurd character comedy acts, cabaret performances and DJ’s.
This is the 9th Wychwood festival to take place, which is a tragedy for me as it means I have missed 8 years of this fun filled, family friendly, yet modest event, that gently launches you into the summer festival period. Set in the grounds of Cheltenham race course and overlooked by the Cotswold Hills, this venue is used to horseplay of a four-legged nature, but with neigh a nag in sight, Prestbury Park comes alive with a wide spectrum of characters.
The first days sound track set the pace for what would shape up to be quite the eclectic mix. Early evening The Beat proved how they secured their rightful place high up the Ska tree. With Rankin Roger & Son getting the crowd stomping to the ever popular Ska beats. Toploader followed with their breezy, sing a long songs, that keep the crowd on a high. Friday night headliners Soul II Soul with their blend of R&B, Soul and Electronica, surprised many who thought them a one song band (Back to life). With each song played you couldn’t help regret not paying more attention 25 years ago. But better late than never!! They exit the stage, leaving the crowd craving for more.
Saturday sees the music shift to a broader range. Unfortunately the delectable Kate Nash pulls out poorly. The Wedding Present are a crowd pleaser as they work through some of their phenomenal body of work. A French twist next from festival favourites The Caravan Palace, who’s zany Gypsy Jazz, Electro swing, is a sight and sound to behold, a big band wall of music fronted by the mesmerising stage presence that is Zoé Colotis a must see. The night’s headliners are 80’s Electro New Wave sensation The Human League and with a catalogue of hits, the crowd were on their feet from the opening “Mirror Man” to the ever popular “Don’t You Want Me” ending another great night with “Together in Electric Dreams”. The set and backdrop pay homage to the futuristic approach of the 80’s, that seem just as futuristic and relevant today, Little wonder so many artists since, have voiced this Flamboyant and eccentric group as an influence.
Sunday becomes a field of laughter with the humorous yet skilful take on classical and popular songs by the Ukele Orchestra of Great Britain. Smiles a plenty but with admiration from this musically talented troop. The laughter continues as Bill Bailey and his side splitting comedy take over. Nobody being prepared for the music, jokes and insanity of this middle-aged madman. This massive force could have easily have been the finale for the main stage, but the organisers decided to bring the evening to a close by treating an appreciative crowd to the Dub Powerhouse that is Dreadzone. This reggae tinged set was the perfect end to a fabulous weekend, having the crowd bounce and groove out the evening.
A couple of standout performances on the smaller but no lesser stages included Becky Rose, with her one gal, synth based beats and Craig Charles funk and soul show, where the crowd were whipped up in to a frenzy to match that of the energetic, multi-talented showman.
When the main attractions have finished and the majority of the crowd have turned in for the night, one stage is determined to party on regardless. As I approach the big top tent with strobes escaping from the entrance I can’t help but think that there is something missing? Upon entry I am handed a pair of wireless headphones and as I walk on through to a sea of crazy revellers it is apparent that I have entered a nut house. This is the silent disco, a room full of clubbers and two DJ’s but no music through the loud speakers. I put the headphones on and find myself instantly condemned to the madhouse as I flick between the two DJ’s and adjust my dancing style accordingly.
Music for all genres means that young or old you will at some point find your dancing shoes and at the very least discover new and exciting sounds. There are over 100 workshops to choose from, complimented with cuisine from the four corners of the world.
A lasting memory of the festival will be that of a man releasing another wave of bubbles they glisten like the northern lights as they pass over the light filled stage. Wychwood really captures the essence of what a festival is about with a great energy and atmosphere.