Camp Bestival Shropshire 2023 – REVIEWED!


Arriving at Weston Park to get our wristbands is an exciting affair, after last year’s excellent debut we’ve been looking forward to getting back here ever since. The sun is shining (for now) and we’ve got a car packed to the brim with kid-snacks and rainbow clothing, bring on Camp Bestival!

I should note, for the first time EVER in my many years of attending festivals, we are staying in a fancy Bell-Tent in Boutique Camping. It feels absolutely surreal to be able to see our tent from the car, to have a manned reception, and some extremely fancy proper toilets and showers nearby. The tent itself has off-the floor proper beds with duvets and pillows, as well as power outlets for charging our phones. I could not be more appreciative of the luxury, but do have to say that last year’s regular camping experience here was still one of the nicest I’ve experienced. So whilst I will talk a lot about how great our Boutique camping time is this weekend – rest assured that any version of camping here is going to be a good time.

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Counting Thursday as a scoping-out the site day and for settling the kids into their new surroundings, we decide to head into the arena for some food and a look at the new set-up. The most immediate thing to note is that this year, absolutely everything has been mashed into one big space. Gone are the nebulous separate fields and areas, it all seems a bit jumbled together. Yes ultimately it is easier to navigate and travel around, but I am reserving judgement on how it works until the music starts tomorrow.

For now, we opt for pizza for the kids, and my favourite returning food – Bayou Kitchen’s cajun shrimp bowl, whilst we sit in the field having a look at everything. After eating we take stroll around to the main stage merchandise tent to peruse this year’s offerings and end up basically wanting to buy one of everything. The new ‘Sustainable’ range is really nice and quite subtle in it’s design, but there are also some louder fun things like the bright towelling-robes which are perfect for hitting the wild swimming or even the morning showers. I really liked the new patches and opted to get a set of three for £15, the kids loved the plushie Love-Bot of course, and it was cool to see new Roller Disco tees too – I am still rocking my OG Bestival Roller Disco one from 2011.

I’ve said it many a time before, but there’s nothing quite like a Bestival when dusk hits. The twinkling lights come on and give me that instant rush that is unique to Bestival brand events, that there is fun to be found in every corner of this event, and that I am going to stumble into something wonderful at every turn. We decide to take a little tour around the area leading up to the Park Pool. Whilst most of it isn’t open yet, we spot a few things we’d like to try over the weekend and then head into the Weston Woods to see what the offerings are there.

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Now this is going to be a bit of a moan. The wooded areas of Bestival sites, are often the most exciting bit of the festival. Usually they are bathed in beautiful lights, covered in bunting, decorations, fun sculptures. Usually they are home to many fun activities or places to cosy up and chat. Last year the woods around the top of the site (which aren’t in use at all this year) allowed you to walk along a long stretch of lake and watch the paddleboarders and wild swimmers having a lovely time, Cirque Bijou had a beautiful canopied stage in the trees, the circus tent was nestled in there with activities, as was the Tie-Dye workshop and many other fun things on the winding paths that ultimately led to Weston’s giant adventure playpark and the tiny Train experience.

This is, so diminished from that gorgeous experience we had last year, that I was genuinely sad. This set of woods is one very short straight path with a small tent area for the sensory garden, and further up the Orchestra of Objects. Yes some of the things previously housed in the woods are now situated in the main arena but it has absolutely taken away some of their magic, and the joy of finding hidden things on your travels. It is very hard to describe if you haven’t been to a previous Bestival event, but most of my love for them comes from swapping between small cosy experiences to the great big ones of the main stage acts, and this really feels like they’ve axed a lot of those things with this site layout.

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We head over to Caravanserai to be greeted with more of the same. It has been expanded into a whole area that you now just walk into without going through a hidden doorway into an enclosed area. Yes you can now take a trolley or pushchair into there, but it has lost so much of the magic I can’t fathom the reason. Last year people just pulled their trolleys up to the side and went in on foot, and sure a better space for trolleys would have been good, but there were security controlling the flow and footfall, and it was a beautiful area with that otherworldly feel… like you’d run away with the circus. This just… isn’t it. The caravans are spread widely around a huge area so it honestly barely feels like they have relevance, the theming of a close knit caravan corral has absolutely gotten lost in the explosion, and while there are more covered areas to sit under in the middle, it means that there is no central melee of people dancing, meeting, and drinking together.

Feeling a little deflated we head back to the campsite to try and get ourselves a decent sleep before the first full day tomorrow. Getting into a proper bed at a festival is as delightful as you can imagine.


We had so nearly gotten away with a summer of minimal-rain festivals, but here it is, the great British summer curse. Despite a biblical downpour this morning, the lake seems to be teeming with wild swimmers regardless – from what I can see. We walk through the Slow Motion area which is a bit smaller than last year’s great big separate field which felt nice and calmly removed from everything else. This is stuck onto the side of Boutique camping and is very… overlooked. It’s a bit weird actually that you could stick your head out of your tent and watch people getting ice-baths and hot tubbing. The Yoga and Sleep Retreat areas are tucked around the corner in a bit more of a hidden spot but it is also downhill and quite slippy now that the rain has created a mud-slide.

Over the scary raft bridge we wave to some kayakers, but you can’t really stop to enjoy looking at the lake because this is definitely just a thoroughfare and is a bit tricky to navigate with trolleys, however we pop out on the other side to find lots of fun things to do in the Craft Village. There’s a great looking leathercraft workshop, a place where you can make wooden axes and swords, and a basket weaving area – all run by Spinney Hollow, a non-profit woodland project that operates in Winchester.

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Across the field we give some circus skills a go, with hula hooping (which I am extremely poor at), diablo and wooden stilts. The stilts go exactly how you imagine in the rain, and there are children falling at you left right and centre, but it is very fun all the same. Next door the Woodland Tribe fort build is soggily underway but our littles are a bit too small and chaotic to be set free with hammers this year so we toddle off in search of something else more their speed.

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Heading back into the woods they give The Orchestra of Objects a good old bash, an area filled with interesting instruments made from industrial junk, for children to smash around and make noise with… or for adults with childish sensibilities to attempt to play Black Sabbath on. No regrets.

Over at the carousel stage in Caravanserai, we catch a bit of Funke and The Two Tone Baby, which sounds like a lot of people, but is actually just one man playing a lot of instruments. The beats are funky, the cocktail bar has opened for business, and the lampshade-decorated tent is bumping – this is the distilled feeling of Caravanserai I craved. I just wish it translated to the whole area, and not just while I’m directly inside the carousel.

Funke and the Two Tone Baby
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We take a short walk over to see Cirque Bijou’s aerial show, an act based on birds and conservation performed by incredibly skilled artists in feathered costumes, hanging from high ropes. Following their fabulous performance, we tried to join in on the bird-mask making workshop, but it was absolute carnage so we opted to get our craft items to-go. This was actually really nice of them to let us do that, as it meant the kids had an in-tent activity to do one morning!

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Ducking into the Big Top, we catch a bit of the very funny and brilliant Horrible Histories (90’s kids represent), before heading over to the main stage for Bestival legends, The Cuban Brothers. What can I say about Los Hermanos Cubanos that I haven’t already said over the years? They are an institution, not to be missed, equal parts filth and fun. We might be shouting “Kenny The Pasta” instead these days, but they’re still out there breakdancing, getting semi-naked and being naughty, just the way it should be. Out in the crowd we spot Mike’s family dancing along, his daughters visibly cringing but loving the show, and it’s just really nice to see the spirit of Camp Bestival extending to even the families of performers. Everyone is there, having a good time together – despite the ‘wardrobe malfunction’ and threat of sexy favours.

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Next up on the main stage is the bafflingly weird Confidence Man. The duo hit the stage in what I can only describe as black silk zoot suits with some kind of inner frame which allows them to move in extremely creepy ways. Their unique electro-pop sound is somewhat overshadowed by the fact that they are just absolutely bizarre, but this places them right in the ‘perfect for Bestival’ zone in my opinion. The Venga-goths change into a glowing cone bra and epaulettes combo as the rain starts up again, and the crowd seem to be loving them.

Confidence Man
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In the Big Top, Badly Drawn Boy is adorably awkward and charming, with the soft sounds of ‘The Shining’ which he dedicates to “…everyone who has had a crap time lately… is that all of us?”. About a Boy movie song hit ‘Something To Talk About’ has everyone in the tent singing along, and Damon tells us “My kids are here, I think it’s my youngest’s first time seeing me perform” – again, it is so telling of this festival’s ethos and vibe, that artists can bring their families with them to enjoy it. I also particularly liked his cover of Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’ morphing into ‘Silent Sigh’, a truly gorgeous moment of peace and calm amidst the bustle of the festival.

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After a pit stop to run around on the Love-Bot (our omnipotent and terrifying ruler) runway, and then having a go on the new Earth-Bot slide, we get ourselves over to the main stage again for Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Sophie is rocking the most Bestival appropriate outfit of the weekend, resplendent in swishy orange and yellow fringe and a pink sparkly flapper bodysuit, she looks more than a little like one of the Firey’s from Labyrinth – you know, the ones who take their own heads off. I’m into it, and would like to wear that outfit myself. Unfortunately the rain is rolling in heavy at this point and a lot of people are running for shelter.

“I don’t know about you but I’ve been checking the weather for this so much… but actually, it’s kind of amazing isn’t it… you’ve just got to give in and go for it, dance in the rain, get wet…” she says, presumably heading back to a hotel after this… everyone sleeping in a tent tonight is less enthusiastic about the situation I assure you. Regardless, it’s a banging set of nostalgic hits for those of us of a certain age – well played Bestival – like ‘Take Me Home’, a medley of ‘Lady (Hear Me Tonight’ Groovejet ‘If This Ain’t Love’ and ‘Sing It Back’, and her 2001 hit ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’.

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Rudimental are the Friday night headliner of dreams, giving us absolutely everything we need to get rowdy. Incredible vocals, bouncy beats and a frenetic light show that has every single body in the arena jumping – especially now the rain has dissipated. ‘Dancing Is Healing’ really encapsulates the feeling at Camp Bestival tonight, and we love the Natalie Imbruglia ‘Torn’ cover too. “Where my old school ravers at? Get some little people up on shoulders!” is the call from DJ Locksmith that creates a scene, there are suddenly hundreds of kids on shoulders with glowsticks, going like they were born in a club. These kids sure know how to party, and that my friends, is parenting done right.

‘Feel The Love’ and ‘Waiting All Night’ are absolutely worth waiting all night for, even if the rain has begun again and is pouring down our necks, they never disappoint and this has been a cracking night one, leaving the stage with “Bestival, you are amazing, and we are Rudimental!”.

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Starting Saturday with a bang, we head over to The Mum Club Brunch Takeover at The Literary Institute tent, for cocktails, glitter and meeting people. With a 10am start time the drinks are suitably breakfast-y with Mimosas, Bloody Marys and much needed Espresso Martinis on offer. Having not eaten actual breakfast this may be considered foolish but we had a very nice time and chatted to heaps of lovely people there, including co-founder of The Mum Club – Lauren Webber. We talked a bit about the ethos and beginnings of The Mum Club and how they are re-creating the ‘village’ for isolated mums everywhere, and reaching out with help advice and support to those in need.

Following this is an activity session run by Festival of the Girl, a collective who aim to provide fun education for families about stereotyping, patriarchal structures and systems which hold girls back in life. The event was really aimed at ages 7+ but they made everyone feel welcome, including our almost 4 year olds, for some gender-pay gap training (with coloured plastic balls) and language stereotype challenging (with fierce unicorn colouring and mission statements). It’s really nice to see these type of events being included in the CB line-up, supportive and uplifting programmes which you may never hear of or come across otherwise.

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Due to extreme post-cocktail munchies, we head over to The Feast Collective – which has had a total overhaul. Gone is the lovely giant tent with bierkeller style seating down the middle, and multiple eateries inside. Instead there is a Farmer’s Kitchen, which is selling various cheeses and meats. There are seats outside yes, and some more food trucks, but it has lost a little of that cosy factor, especially when the weather is so changeable. However, the new bigger food stage for Bocaloco grills and bbq demos is brilliant – and not just because they’re giving out freebies. We hang out and listen to a talk about the delicious properties of jackfruit, whilst chomping down on a poke-bowl which is absolutely delightful.

Over on the main stage Mr. Tumble is singing ‘Let’s Go Fly A Kite’ from Mary Poppins, which is one of my least favourite songs to hear after my kid adopted it for 4 solid months earlier this year. The show is very colourful though, and there are squillions of kids on shoulders having the time of their lives. Mine was asleep and missed the whole lot, including the follow up of Dick & Dom, who are top humans but not great DJ’s. I’m also mad at them for A. Rickrolling us, and B. mixing it with Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. Alert the authorities.

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When the small being awoke, we took ourselves over to have a go on The World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle which is as you can imagine, fucking huge. Now, they have done a good job here of separating kids into two categories for bouncing… there’s a big kids line, and a small kids line, and they alternate turns to minimise collision risk of disproportionate size whilst bouncing. The numbers however, are at chaos levels and the cohorts are set free to colonize the castle as they please. Hoards of children flying at each other in a WWE style rumble is exactly as terrifying and funny as I expected.

I may never recover from the side-splitting laughter I experienced watching one child quite literally fly over the head of another, only to land in almost a headstand against a turret of the castle. We escape with our lives thankfully, and head over to see what the Fancy Dress Parade is all about. This year’s Wild theme is almost 99% just people wearing crap leopard print items of clothing. Shropshire has not yet hit the highs of fancy dress effort that the Dorset original has, we need more effort next year please. Regardless, the competition and parade are already over-subscribed and they haven’t brought enough Rosettes so there are inevitably some crying kids around. There are however some excellent entries and everyone is having a lovely time watching them strut their stuff on the stage.

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Opting to find stuff to do since we can’t partake in the parade, we head over to the Soft Play tent, ours are just within the age range and head in to escape the heat of the afternoon. There are toys everywhere, ball-pit, stackable blocks and ride-on cars. There is luxury to be found in having a jolly good sit-down while they play, and there were even craft activities being led in one corner. Captain Barnacle’s Pirate Show is another strange wonder to have stumbled in on, the bit where he pretended to take his own eyeball out was of particular concern to my child, but we enjoyed the part where he showed us all of his party pants (less lewd than it sounds, more lewd than the children realised).

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Elvana are another stand-out returner from last year, this time Elvis is dressed in a white jumpsuit with a sparkly orange cape, and they’re throwing down some absolute tunes whilst two young Elvi (? Elvises?) in the front row dance around joyfully. “Sometimes we like to sing an Elvis song and start a circle pit… ok ok we’ll do the World’s first Elvis conga instead” they laugh before heading into a grungy cover of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, but we love watching everyone get rowdy for ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ the most.

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Sarah Cox brings giant inflatable Rubiks cubes and a huge party to the stage, but the arena is stacked for spaceman Sam Ryder who looks like his Nanna has been on top form with the crochet-hook again. Lavender and acid green flames lick baggy knitted basketball shorts and a cardigan, it’s certainly a lewk, and I like it. Of course he plays his Eurovision hit ‘Space Man’ but honestly the true star is his cover of Paramore’s ‘Misery Business’ what a bop.

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Over in the Big Top, Caity baser is heating things up having toned down absolutely none of her sweary songs (I approve wholeheartedly) and the tent is absolutely rammed full of people, while in Caravanserai we see Cirque Bijou doing an excellent set of juggling and acro skills to the background sounds of reggae coming from the carousel stage. Groove Armada are playing an epic DJ set on the main stage, but we are loving some downtime with Des O’Connor (no not that one) the piano man at The Bandstand. The dusk is warm, all these gorgeously golden-lit faces are joining in the chorus of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ and Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams’, it is truly the beautiful point of being here. The community and camaraderie, the soul of Bestivals’ past has made it into this iteration and I’m so glad.

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Off in search of food we go, on our way to the main stage for tonight’s headline act – The Human League. Entering the very Tron-esque stage set-up, they immediately launch into some absolute classics like ‘Don’t You Want Me’ and gain the appreciation of the home crowd when frontman Philip Oakey says “…what a great location. Not that I’m biased but I’m from the Midlands… Leicester actually”. Singers Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley are both right in that sultry/mysterious pop diva zone to watch, and their voices soar across the arena over the 80’s synth waves. You can’t help but be drawn in by it all, even if you aren’t a particular fan.

Finishing up with Oakey’s own ‘Electric Dreams’ which very well could be the Camp Bestival theme song, is one of the hugest sing-alongs I’ve ever witnessed. The Human League were a truly fantastic headline choice this weekend.

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It may be early, but kicking things off is national treasure and stone-cold legend Mr. Motivator for some morning main stage aerobics. 30 years in the game celebrations today too, the man has barely aged and can still rock an incredible neon outfit like no other. I wish he had merchandise for sale, 10/10 would purchase. Following on from this a decent crowd turnout to watch the Lionesses unfortunately lose their WC final game, but I think it’s really cool that that this was shown and prioritised as an event here – the times they are a’changing.

In some kind of unhinged sleep-deprived parenting choice (led by the whims of an almost-four-year-old of course) we decide to queue up to give Roller Disco a go at Bollywood. I do have a few axes to grind here though, it must be said. Bollywood has always been a giant rave tent of delight. Big enough to get your dance on, decorated and entered via a lovely colourful tower flanked with Elephants and such, beats all day long. Once when the roller disco came to IOW Bestival, it was tucked in the corner of said tent but the dancefloor remained.

This year, it has all gone a bit Pete Tong in my opinion. There is only the roller disco floor… which later on in the day is taken over as Bollywood for dancing. This means that the area itself is tiny in comparison to previous iterations of Bollywood and there is a very diminished number of people who can get into it when it’s being used as a dancefloor. It also means that when being used as a roller disco, the skate check and seats for putting on your skates are outside in the elements instead of under cover. It having rained this morning meant that ALL of us suffered soaked and muddy socks on the now sodden mats that had been put down, AND that it was absolutely deadly trying to get onto the disco floor itself, AND that wet muddy skates were about to be utilised on the disco floor. I have absolutely no clue why wasn’t thought of and managed a bit better to be honest, it made for two diminished events instead of the great addition I thought roller disco could have been.

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In the end we made it onto the floor for some extremely chaotic laps, run to the sound of Disney hits such as the very apt Frozen song ‘Let It Go’ which of course was aimed at everyone holding on to the railings for grim death. It was actually very fun, until one of our party fell down the muddy slippy steps on their way out and got gouged by a sticking up peg/bit of metal… can’t help but think the mashing together of roller disco and Bollywood was a budgetary concern instead of a comfort one.

Off we go to look into some other places instead, the nearby Dressing Up Tent is full of people looking for sparkly outfits and glitter face paint, Cirque Bijou are doing an amazing trapeze show and the drums are rolling in the African Activities workshop. We poke our heads into the Tie-Dye tent which looks fantastic once again, and watch a Dinosaur riding the mini ramp at Tic-Tac Skate School. Tic Tac also had a design-a-deck competition, which might be high on our list to do next year I think.

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We drop into The Feast Collective to grab fruit platters with spicy salt (trust me, it’s a must do) and feel quite smug about the children eating something other than chips and pizza this weekend, whilst watching the retro funfair swing boats go impossibly high. In the Big Top Hip Hop Karaoke is one of the best things I’ve witnessed all weekend, we have to teach these kids about the old school somehow. With that it’s off to the Adventure Play Park up above the camp grounds. Unfortunately here is where I have my second massive gripe of the day.

Firstly, having separated the arena from these woods, it means there is nothing fun to do on the way to the play park and it is a huge undertaking to get there instead of a pleasant walk through the forest. Last year there was beautiful lighting in the trees, art and sculptures everywhere, places to sit, things for kids to do etc. this year it is barricaded off except for the route through, which is truly a disappointment. I petition CB to reconnect this area next year, please please please.

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The adventure play park itself is awesome, with varying sizes of equipment aimed at different ages of children, and a really cute miniature railway which you can buy a ticket to ride on. Our kiddos absolutely LOVED all of this… until… one of them needed to go to the toilet. WHY OH WHY were there no toilets there this year? I do not understand why you would allow people to walk that far, to a completely remote location, for children, and not include at least one toilet. This is a huge oversight on behalf of the festival, and if you want to know if a child shits in the woods? They certainly do at Camp Bestival because there is no choice. Last year there was a small bank of adult sized, and kid sized composting loos available as well as a few portaloo stop points throughout the forest. We asked the people running the railway and they said they had had so many people angrily asking them where the facilities were for the area, apparently they had also requested some but been denied by the organisers.

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After another hike back to the arena we head over to see 80’s legends T’Pau, with Carol Decker yelling “It feels good to be home” who grew up in Shropshire. It’s mostly a crowd sitting in the sunshine to be honest, but they provide a very pleasant lazy Sunday vibe. East 17 are delayed and miss their Big Top slot, but are filled in for by the awesome East Angles Brass Band playing some very funky pop covers. Rob Da Bank is taking a DJ slot over on the roller disco, and Aussie DJ Hot Dub Time Machine is getting the main stage up and dancing with ‘Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie’ shouting “No-one is too cool for ABBA!”.

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In the Big Top comedian Dylan Moran is living up to his Bernard Black persona complaining about the lights, the sound and the photographers within two minutes of being on stage. He’s right though, due to the smooshing together of everything in one big arena, the sound bleed from other stages and fairground rides is thoroughly awful. Even standing in the tent from about midway, it is almost impossible to hear him which means a lot of people are leaving after only a few lines of his set.

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Ella Henderson has gathered one of the biggest crowds of the weekend, especially drawing in the teenage contingent who are all singing along to ‘Crazy What Love Can Do’. She has a gorgeous voice and just radiates happiness on stage. East 17 finally make it to the Big Top for their Christmas Party, to the squeals of middle aged women all around the tent. Of course there are dance moves, of course there is ‘Stay Another Day’ but I can’t pretend it’s my jam at all.

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Melanie C is on the main stage rocking her signature sporty look and confidently owning the stage. Did you know she’s had 11 UK number 1 hits? I didn’t, very impressive. Her voice is great, there’s a kid out front with “I wanna be a spice girl when I grow up” sign and everyone is loving it.

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Now… In a moment of madness or pure comedic juxtaposition, someone has booked Napalm Death. I could not believe my eyes when I read it on the schedule months ago, but yes here they are. Barney and co from Meriden, the grindcore monsters of death metal, are at Camp Bestival. The festival of colour, light and harmony. In fairness, you’ll struggle to find a band whose ethics and political commentary align more with those of Bestival – socialism, anarchy, flipping the status quo, doing better for the planet and those around you. I suppose they’re actually a perfect fit…

So when they explode onto the stage with all the subtlety of a stampeding horde of wildebeest, and Barney’s frenetic movements around stage are revealed to the CB crowd in all their glory I expect rejection. What I actually see is a circle pit. A real life circle pit at Camp Bestival – I am shook to my very core. “We are a local band for local people” Barney jokes before waxing lyrical on how ‘Illegal migrants’ is a ridiculous term and damning the government for their policies, to rapturous applause. We also see Rob Da Bank sneaking into the Big Top to join the fun and brawl of it all. One Dad with two teenage daughters is probably in the bad books though, having walked into the tent and heard about two bars of the next song, one daughter bursts into tears and they have to leave. Poor little sausage.

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Barney is in full flow yelling about religious persecution and recent laws across the world being “…an assault on women’s basic rights of bodily autonomy” as well as “the smear on Trans people’s imperative to just live their lives”. Is it too much to wish that they had done a collaboration with Festival Of The Girl this weekend? Crowd surfers, the worlds’ shortest song, and a final cover of Dead Kennedys’ ‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off’ is the rallying cry we all need. What a truly truly fucking fantastic energetic set. Whoever booked them gains my undying love.

In a complete change of pace, our final headliner of the weekend is indie rock powerhouse Primal Scream. Hitting the stage in a sparkly silver suit, frontman Bobby Gillespie oozes that elusive air of unbothered coolness, before he completely lets go to sing ‘Movin’ On Up’ alongside thousands of voices in the crowd. It’s clear this is final-night behaviour, every single parent out there is having a good old boogie much to their children’s delight or chagrin, and I adore it.

‘Come Together’ is fantastic, ‘Country Girl’ and ‘Rocks’ have everyone moving with them, there are kids handing out glowsticks, bubbles, happy faces everywhere you turn, and we have an enormous bucket of churros. Oh Camp Bestival, I do love you.

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After a mini raft of fireworks, pulling up to the FOH in a sequinned kimono, Rob Da Bank thanks everyone for coming to this year’s event, before announcing that The Red Devils will be doing a night parachute drop above us right now. Now look, it’s all very impressive and fun, but don’t know if I can get on board with someone who says to themself “yeah, I’ll just pop myself out of a plane at night and hurtle towards the ground before hoping my parachute opens… oh, and then you know what, it might be a bit dark so I’ll also set myself on fire so everyone can see me”. I’d have liked to have seen them during the day, but apparently wind conditions wouldn’t allow – maybe next year.

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Oh and yes, we missed the iconic Kate Winslet reading bedtime stories in her pyjamas and we will FOREVER BE MAD ABOUT IT. Peace out Camp Bestival, you’re the real MVP… but please fix the jumble sale of a site – we want our separate areas back.

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Shrewsbury Fields Forever Festival 2013 details

Comprising of some of the very best contemporary artists and alternative cool break through acts, Shrewsbury Fields Forever is a fusion of music, artistic expression with a sprinkling of community stuff and comedy.

Taking place over the friday evening, Saturday and Sunday the festival being only a stones throw away from the town centre will feature multiple arenas of music showcasing a wealth of top big International artists combined with the best Up-coming acts and local talent to provide a superb choice of live Indie, rock, alternative, electronic dance and popular music. Being so close to the town centre, Shrewsbury Fields Forever is only a few minutes walk away from all the local transport links and hotels, but of course the option to camp over is always there for those who want to do the complete festival experience.

Combined to this all the fun of the fair will be had, with an array of performing arts, fun fair, audio / visual artistic entertainment found within a community entertainments village, In which nominated charities alongside sponsoring businesses will be providing some extra on-site entertainment and games to help fund raise for a worthy cause.

Maximo Park

13TH, 14TH AND 15TH SEPTEMBER 2013 @ The west mid / Shropshire showground, Berwickk Road, Shrewsbury, SY1 2PF.

Just £18 – £69 for a whole weekend with camping.

APPROX 100 ACTS – those announced so far are:

*Saturday main stage:*

Maximo Park
The 1975
The Sunshine Underground
Masters In France
Pixle Fix
We were Frontiers
Snapped Ankles
BOTB winner

*Saturday dance tent:*

Roni Size with Dynamite MC
SHY FX with Stamina
B.Traits (Radio 1) with MC
Rockwell with Mantmast
K90 Classics
Double XL
DJ competition winner A

*Saturday Experience tent with Spunkys, SubKutz and Reloaded*

Darren Styles and MC Storm
Sc@r and Mc Energy
Jay Robinson
Johnny Flash
Emerson da Silva
Shaun Price
DanZ – Dad
Adam B
DJ Toddie D
Red & Trickett

*Saturday Silent Disco*

Call Me T
Bare roots
True & False
Andy Phillips
Dirty Lookin Mobile disco
Sammy J
DJ Housescratt

Followed by the not so silent Traffic takeover with:

Taylor J

*Saturday Boat Party 'Fuzzy Logic'*

Digital Mafia
+ guests

*Saturday VIP hospitality

Quartz DJs
Cheadle & Hubby
Lily Green
2 Second Story
Nicole Phillips
Keren Macmillan

*Friday Dance tent*

Sister Bliss Faithless DJ set
Plump DJs
Gemma Furbank
Kate Naylor

*Friday local heroes live stage*

The Taste
MK Zero
The Lucidity
Socail Confusion
The Cosmic Rays
Thin Vision

*Friday Liquid D'N'B tent with Perception*

Jay Dubz
Tim Ryan (Fantazia)
+ Guests

*Sunday Jestival comedy tent*

Dylan Moran (Shaun of the Dead, Channel 4's Black Books)
Sanderson Jones
Carl Donnelly
Brett Goldstein (Channel 4's Derek)
Johnny Candon
Alexis Dubus
Chris Washington
Wendy Wason
+more tba

*Sunday Acoustic stage*

James Walsh STARSAILOR solo acoustic set
Andy O'Brien (The Clocktower) with
Matt (The Twang) and
Alistair (Ocean Colour Scene)
Micky Greaney Band
The Ronaldos
The Making acoustic
Remedy Soundz
UK Open Mic champion
UK Open Mic SFFF choice
Lily Juniper

*Sunday house / oldskool tent*

K Klass live
Sonny Wharton
Sparky Dog
Karlos Cheadle
Mark Smallwood
Jon Harvey
Mike Archer
Russ Edwards
Dj competition winnner B
+ More TBA

This will be combined with Comedy tent, fun fairs, boat party, chill out zones, art and crafts, stalls, licensed bar, charity stuff, optional camping, entertainment etc etc!

Check out the Website, Facebook Page or Twitter for the latest info:

Larmer Tree announce stellar Comedy lineup

Once again, Larmer Tree has unveiled some of the best and brightest comedy acts confirmed to perform in the ARC Comedy Club at this year's festival. Laughing yourself silly at the comedy on offer has always been an integral, not to mention hugely popular, part of the Larmer Tree experience – and that is certain to continue with this year’s line-up!

2013 will continue with a great line up over four nights. Julia Safe, Larmer Tree's Co-Director and comedy programmer said: "We are very excited to have such a fantastic line-up this year and have a unique mix of well-known names and impressive emerging talent."

Heading up the comedy line-up and headlining at The ARC Comedy Club on Thursday is the wonderful Dylan Moran. Perrier winner Moran is a talented comedic actor and writer, finding fame for his BAFTA winning Channel 4 sitcom Black Books, and a film career including the hit UK comedies Shaun of the Dead and Run, Fat Boy Run. One of the best stand-ups of his generation, he has been referred to as 'The Oscar Wilde of Comedy' – a reference to the unkempt wordsmith's interesting take on everything from “vegetarians, middle-aged decline, Van Morrison and Tesco."

Saturday night will see the Nation’s favourite impressionist Alistair McGowan return to his stand-up roots. Best known for The Big Impression on BBC 1, he started his stand-up career at London's Comedy Store in the early nineties and went on to provide voices for Spitting Image. McGowan’s public profile has increased in many ways since then with appearances in Bleak House and Skins, stints as an author, playwright and journalist and appearances on TV shows such as Have I Got News for You,  Live At The Apollo and A Question of Sport.

The comedy talent is international this year with the third headliner Rich Hall, master of absurd irony, bringing his Hoedown show to Larmer Tree for the first time on Sunday night. A regular on shows such as QI and Have I Got News For You?, Hall’s Hoedown is a mixture of music, comedy, liquor and ‘spent dreams’ – Larmer Tree cannot wait to see him in action!

Topping off the headliners, performing on Friday night, are the fast paced sketch comedians Idiots of Ants.  The four-piece formed in 2007 and one the highlights of their career was performing at the prestigious Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal alongside legends such as Bill Cosby, Jimmy Carr, Ross Noble and John Cleese (who even appeared in one of their sketches!)  They are favourites on YouTube where their Facebook in Real Life and Wii Breakfast sketches are two of the most viewed comedy clips of all time.

Other performers to make sure you mark in the programme include Chortle 2013 Best Club Comic and Best Show Award winner Tony Law who brings his sense of the absurd to Larmer Tree on Friday, following his sell-out UK tour. Saturday night will see Doc Brown on stage. Rapper, actor, musician and authority on the hip hop scene, Doc Brown is a name to watch. He is hugely talented – he recently supported Ricky Gervais around the world, appeared on The InbetweenersRev and Miranda and has worked with Mark Ronson, Lily Allen and the Kaiser Chiefs. His inspired show is a "seamless mix of truly inspired hip hop and stand up."

Rounding off the exiting comedy line-up for 2013 are: Ray Peacock, Patrick Monahan, The Noise Next Door, Jarlath Regan, Kieran Boyd, Mark Cooper-Jones, Paul Currie, Tommy Rowson and Matt Richardson

There is also cracking comedic entertainment for children at the Comedy Club 4 Kids – held at The Social during the day, Larmer Tree have the best comedians performing brilliant comedy without the rude bits! What more could you possibly ask for?!

As always, comedy is just one part of the varied and eclectic programme of performances at Larmer Tree. Headline performances from Van Morrison, Dexys, Seasick Steve, Imelda May and Bellowhead are confirmed, together with some enduring Larmer Tree favourites such as the carnival, workshops and events such as the ever popular Marc Kermode's Film Club, which has Time and Time Travel as the theme this yearLarmer Tree’s favourite film critic presents a selection of his much-loved films in The Playground, where he will introduce many of them, providing some fascinating insights into the films and their makers.

2013 Comedy Line-up to Include:

Dylan Moran, Alistair McGowan, Rich Hall’s Hoedown, Idiots of Ants, Tony Law, Doc Brown, Ray Peacock, Patrick Monahan, The Noise Next Door, Jarlath Regan, Kieran Boyd, Mark Cooper-Jones, Paul Currie, Tommy Rowson, Matt Richardson, Comedy Club 4 Kids.

2013 Music Line-up to Include:

Van Morrison, Dexys, Seasick Steve, Imelda May, Bellowhead, Richard Thompson Electric Trio, KT Tunstall, The Beat, Johnny Flynn & the Sussex Wit, The Bombay Royale, Gentleman’s Dub Club, Clinton Fearon, Sam Lee & Friends, Lau, Larkin Poe, Molotov Jukebox, Treetop Flyers, The Ben Waters Band, Blair Dunlop, Curtis Eller, Grupo Lokito, Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for Kids, Megson, Moscow Drug Club, The Severed Limb, Marc O’Reilly, Keston Cobblers Club, Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou, By the Rivers, Three Cane Whale, The Kilcawley Family, Cowbell, Phil King We Used to Make Things, Nuala Honan, Thomas Ford, Ruth Theodore, Fran Smith, Maniere des Bohemiens, Disco’s Out (Murder’s In), Pachango, Tinderbox, The Woodland Creatures, Chris Woods, Pronghorn, Stone Donkey Pilots, Head North!, Flats & Sharps and Still Moving DJs.

Bloc Party, Kraftwerk 3-D & Foals to headline Latitude Festival



































































First to headline Latitude’s magnificent Obelisk Arena on the Friday will be Bloc Party, whose recent triumphant return to form has been welcomed by fans and critics alike. On Saturday evening German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk will take to the stage, this performance will be a rare chance for festival goers to witness one of the most influential bands of all time performing their highly celebrated 3-D concert. Oxford quintet Foals have proven themselves to be one of the UK’s most dynamic and accomplished bands of recent times, further supported by their Ivor Novello and Mercury Music Prize nominations and NME Award Best Song gongs. Known for creative precision, Foals are preparing a closing show to be remembered for years to come.

Bloc Party

Yannis from Foals comments on their headline appearance: “Latitude is always exciting, because they offer a very tasteful selection of acts. For our band, it’s an honour to headline alongside someone of the calibre of Kraftwerk – they can do whatever they like, they’re unique and you know they’re going to put on an incredible show. Bloc Party will be fantastic headliners too.”

Other special appearances across the music stages include exclusive UK festival performances from the heroes of the Tex-Mex sound Calexico, the sonically adventurous sister act, CocoRosie,  and the only 2013 UK live show from dancefloor favourites Hot Chip and Mark Lanegan Band. Joining them with Latitude exclusive performances will be band of the moment, Rhye, whose slinky, sensual R&B pop is currently bewitching tastemakers, the transfixing The Tallest Man on Earth, one of 2013’s most intriguing and sort after electronic acts Sohn, Brooklyn garage-maestros Yeah Yeah Yeahs and ever-evolving indie legends Yo La Tengo. In addition to these exclusives will be unmissable sets from Grammy-nominated Malian musician Bassekou Kouyate, Brighton indie darlings and NME Award Best Album winners The Maccabees, 2013 Brit nominee Jessie Ware, cult-status chanteuse Cat Power and electronic auteur James Blake.

Latitude is thrilled to announce an exciting new partnership with BBC Radio 6 Music, naming the second stage as the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage. This year the stage will host even more exciting musical treats including headline sets from Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House in a UK festival exclusive; Portland’s greatest musical exports, indie-rock stalwarts Modest Mouse; and Mercury Prize-winning Alt-J, whose performance on The Lake Stage in 2012 was a festival highlight. Other acts set to play on the coveted stage include math-rock maestros Everything Everything, the girl currently on everyone’s lips, soul singer Laura Mvula, plus visually theatrical Swedish synth-pop duo IAMAMIWHOAMI and garage-rock perfection from White Denim both with UK festival exclusive performances; along with adventurous folk artistry from Villagers and much, much more.

The Maccabees

Latitude is the event of the summer to see the very best in new music. If leftfield music is your thing, then the i Arena is the spot. Tucked away in Latitude’s beautiful woodland area, this year the stage will provide a magically intimate setting for the headliners; gloriously chaotic rock ‘n' roll of Japandroids, warped-electro hipsters Purity Ring and psychedelic husband and wife outfit Moon DuoThe Lake Stage, curated by Huw Stephens, has played host to numerous ‘next big things’ and this year is no exception with headline performances coming from the master of beautiful folk balladry  Benjamin Francis Leftwich, London indie-pop quartet Veronica Falls and hotly tipped Manchester foursome The 1975. Other must see sets include art-noise masters Bo Ningen and Australian rave revivalists Jagwar Ma.

Melvin Benn, Founder and Creator of Latitude, comments: “As it enters the eighth edition, Latitude is now firmly established as the most artistically ambitious event in the UK summer calendar, with a line-up that goes from strength to strength each year. We’re delighted to welcome the forefathers of electronic music, Kraftwerk, to Latitude with their 3-D show who, along with Bloc Party and Foals, will headline an incredibly strong music programme that already includes some of 2013’s hottest acts. As always, however, music is just part of the experience, and our eleven arts arenas will play host to a selection of comedians, theatre companies, poets, writers and other performers that really do make Latitude much more than a music festival.”

In addition to the music bill, Latitude offers an unrivalled selection of innovative arts programming, with a line-up that reads like a virtual walk through the culture pages of a Sunday newspaper. Eleven dedicated arts arenas, stages and spaces will offer performances from a spectacular mix of artists across comedy, film, dance, theatre, literature, poetry and cabaret.

Daniel Kitson will bring six performances spread over four different shows to Latitude 2013. Kitson (Writer, Performer, Keen Home Cook) will be appearing across Latitude’s arts arenas throughout the weekend like a self-important, pie fingering, genre straddling behemoth. In the Theatre Arena he will present two performances of his current tour show After the Beginning. Before the End. The same venue will also play host to the first previews of a brand new theatrical work. Meanwhile, the Poetry Arena will see Kitson joining forces with big balled mega legend musician Gavin Osborn for a one off performance of Lucinda Ding and the Monstrous Thing, a forty five minute adventure poem ballad thing from the long-time collaborators. Finally, the Film & Music Arena will host the first ever public screening of It's Always Right Now, Until It's Later, a concert film of the show by the same name recorded last summer in Manchester and followed here by a Q&A session with Kitson and the film maker, Ewan Jones Morris.

Latitude’s Comedy line-up will once again play host to all manner of big-name comics. Heading up the stellar comedy line-up will be offbeat Irish stand-up Dylan Moran, best known for co-writing and starring in Black Books, which has twice won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Situation Comedy, Brighton’s finest motor-mouth Seann Walsh, the multi-talented poet, film maker and comic Tim Key and South London tearaway and man of the moment Lee Nelson with his qwaliteeee jokes, games and banter. Also appearing will be one of the best up-and-coming acts on the UK circuit, Josh Widdicombe andcomedian, author, sports pundit and husband Mark Watson and the award-winning Marcus Brigstocke’s new show Policy Unit will be making a stand in Henham Park. Bringing Latitude a preview of his new Edinburgh show will be musically minded comedian Charlie Baker, the jazz ‘n’ jokes fusion of The Horne Section. Also flying in from the US is the comic talk-show host, who turns righteous anger into breathlessly funny jokes, Jamie Kilstein. Fans of TV comedy will be pleased to seeKerry Godliman, who recently took a leading role in Ricky Gervais’ Derek and star of Let’s Dance for Comic Relief, the Canadian comic Katherine Ryan. BBC Radio 1 DJ and hot young comedian Tom Deacon will bring his combination of looks, lines and charm, as will Ed Gamble, the celebrated young comic and one half of hit podcasters and BBC Radio 4 Extra presenters Peacock and Gamble.

Also on hand to tickle festival-goers fancies over the weekend will be Marcel Lucont the laconic Frenchman with dry wit, bawdy chansons and exquisite sex poetry; critically acclaimed comedienne and TV starlet Sara Pascoe and winner of Dave’s Leicester Comedy Award, hotly-tipped comedian extraordinaire, Romesh Ranganathan.

Performance artist Bryony Kimmings will challenge opinions with her eagerly anticipated new show, Catherine Bennett, Latitude favourites Idiots of Ants will bring their madcap sketch show and The Sunday Assembly will hold an all-singing, all-dancing godless congregation. The hits will continue throughout the weekend, giving festival-goers the chance to see sell-out shows like Luisa Omielan’s hilarious meditation on celebrity culture What Would Beyonce Do?. Daran Johnson, Alistair Roberts and Liam Williams bring their infamous sketch show Sheeps and Austentatious come to Latitude with An Improvised Novel, a full-length comedy play. Holly Burn appears with The H Club, Suffolk's least exclusive private members club, as does the 2012 Best Newcomer winner at the Edinburgh Fosters Comedy Awards, Daniel Simonsen and Lucy Beaumont winner of the BBC New Comedy Award in 2012. A selection of the country’s most promising up and coming comics, selected by theChortle Student Comedy Awards will be on hand to tickle festival goers and over in Pandora’s Playground the infamously intimate Monster Comedy Shed will provide festival goers with one of the smallest and hilarious gigs of their lives.

Other comedy performers so far include: James AcasterJoel DommettBrett Goldstein, Elis James, The Noise Next Door, Hennessy & Friends, Tiffany Stevenson, Loretta Maine, Ed Aczel, Holly Walsh, Vikki Stone, McNeil and Pamphilon, Alfie Brown, Sam Fletcher, Pat Cahill, Mae Martin, Rich & Andy, Ben Target, Andrew Ryan, Nish Kumar, Chris Kendall, David Trent, Jenny Fawcett, John Robins, Suzy Bennett, Aisling Bea, Rob BeckettJoe Lycett and Matt Rees.

The Theatre Arena will serve up a whole host of dramatic performances including the National Theatre Wales’ and Neon Neon Praxis Make Perfect. An exciting and unique collaboration, set to blur the boundaries between pop gig and theatre performance. On the stunning Waterfront Stage Sadler’s Wells present the first full length dance show ever to be taken to a festival from award-winning flamenco dancer, and Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate Rocío Molina, who has quickly established herself as one of the most important choreographers and performers at the forefront of flamenco.  Rocío Molina’s performance marks Sadler’s Wells’ sixth visit to Latitude. Daniel Kitson will present two performances of his current tour show After the Beginning. Before the End. The fields of Henham Park will premiere the Royal Exchange Theatre’s There Has Possibly Been An Incident, Ockham’s Razor will bring the thrill of the circus to Pandora’s Playground and The National Youth Theatre will showcase their new version of Little Red Riding Hood with not one, but two separate endings, exploring the themes and fears of the fairy tale, while BAC will present Made In China’s new play Gym Party. Forest Fringe will deliver immersive theatre to Latitude, with the twist being that the festival goers both create and participate in the show, making dreams come true.

Elsewhere the award-winning theatre group Clean Break will present two new plays by Alice Birch and Sonya Hale, Hours til Midnight and Many Moons, dealing with women’s experience of the criminal justice system and performed by graduates of the company’s theatre in education programme. The Wrong Crowd reinvent one of Slavic folklore’s most extraordinary characters, the child-eating hag-witch Baba YagaPEEP will present Sexlife, as well as a premiere of a new play also by Kefi Chadwick, while DryWrite brings together writer and performer Phoebe Waller-Bridger and director Vicky Jones for a new production of five short plays, Good. Clean. Fun. In a special Latitude commission exploring the festival’s theme of What Defines Me? Curious Directive will debut The Yellow Path, a new play that mixes the Chinese Zodiac with stargazing. 

The Pleasance will preview some of the best work appearing at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In the fabulous Faraway Forest, theatrical fun will be provided by Fuel Theatre, which will present the surprising, delightful and intriguing While You Wait sound project and a specially written tribute to Doctor Who comes from And Remember…We Care as the hit TV show celebrates its golden anniversary. Dance East will be at Latitude with their hit dance workshops, Wales’ foremost fringe theatre company Dirty Protest will bring their guerrilla approach to performance to Latitude’s Outdoor Theatre with Plays In A Bag, a series of new commissions to Welsh playwrights that must be carried everywhere… in a bag. Daniel Bye will stop by to deliver his whistle-stop tour of bizarre facts and impassioned argument The Price of Everything, and Boo Dwyer will transplant the punk spirit of late 70’s New York to Wolverhampton in Dye Young/Stay Pretty.

Following on from success of their 2012 collaboration Latitude has once again joined forces with Lyric Hammersmith,Greenwich + Docklands International Festival and Watford Palace Theatre to present a visual and physical outdoor theatre extravaganza of exciting new talent. Together four companies have been commissioned to present four new shows. The specially selected companies have been chosen for their innovation and artistic creativity in an outdoor space. For 2013, Latitude, the Lyric, GDIF and Watford Palace Theatre will present work from RashDash, Tangled Feet, Pin The Tale and Pins & Needle. Each company will perform at the commissioning festivals and spaces over the summer.

Latitude is extremely proud to present an amazing programme of renowned artists for 2013. David Shrigley, whose instantly recognisable naive style has elevated him into the world of fine art, will be making a very rare appearance and presenting from his work How Are You Feeling? One of the most influential comic book writers of all time, the man behind Watchmenand V for VendettaAlan Moore will be discussing the making of his short film, Jimmy’s End along with director Mitch Jenkins allowing Latitude goers to get into the minds of the creators. One of the world’s leading fashion photographers,Tim Walker, will be taking to the stage for a rare and intimate ‘in conversation’ appearance. The National Gallery invites the audience to immerse themselves in great art by Renaissance master Titian, the mobile cinema offers a National Gallery festival experience celebrating Diana and Callisto, a painting recently acquired for the nation. In The Faraway ForestLondon based artist David Shillinglaw will be painting a mural based on this year’s Neuroscience vs Sex theme where festival goers will be free to submit suggestions for words or phrases to be included in the final painting. 

An exciting mix of film screenings and special multi-media live music performances will also be on offer. Appearing across the festival over the weekend will be Daniel Kitson in the Film & Music Arena to host the first ever public screening of It's Always Right Now, Until It's Later, a concert film of the show by the same name recorded last summer in Manchester and followed by a Q&A session with Kitson and the film maker, Ewan Jones Morris. Comic booker writer, artist and Rough Trade signed musician Jeffrey Lewis & The Rain will appear and The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) will, in association withBowiefest, present a celebration of David Bowie’s breakthrough year of 1973 in a programme of screenings, talks and live performances from some very special guests. Also appearing will be radical performance community church Reverend Billy & The Church Of Stop Shopping, revered Texan instrumental collective Snarky Puppy, tipped by the likes of The Guardianand The Independent, and experimental music duo Crook and Flail (Fog’s Andrew Broder and Adam Drucker of Subtle/Themselves/cLOUDEAD). The Latitude audience can prepare to be transported across 40 years of Bowie, from Spaceboy to Superstar, by Ed Blaney's Ultimate Bowie and Gavin Osborn will be on hand to entertain festival-goers with his wry musical comedy. Total Film magazine will be hosting a series of premieres, Q&A’s and more over the festival weekend.

The hugely popular Poetry Arena features the very best in poetry and this year is no exception with readings from the British Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy; the spectacular British performance poet Murray Lachlan Young, The Scots Makar, Scottish Poet Laureate Liz Lochhead and Sonic Youth songwriter and poet Thurston Moore. Daniel Kitson with Gavin Osborn will perform My Adventure Poem and The Queen’s Gold Medal winner Don Paterson will also be taking to the stage.Michael Rosenformerly the UK’s first Children’s Laureate and one of the nation’s best loved children’s poets will be appearing, as will co-curator of the Poetry Arena Luke Wright. This is just the beginning; there will be a whole host of exciting names including Ross Sutherland with an Edinburgh preview, The Islander, a 'lo-fo musical' about memory, first-loves and growing up and Tim Clare, John Osborne, Poejazzi, Apples and Snakes, Dead Poets, Katie Bonna, Mike Garry, Byron Vincent, Intensi-T, Tim Turnbull, Caroline Bird, Hollie McNish, William Letford, Steve Roggenbuck.

The Literary line-up will play host to a unique selection of the nation’s most dynamic names.  The legendary Germaine Greerwill be presenting a discussion on The Disappearing Woman and Jonathan Cainer will show exactly why he remains one of the world’s most popular astrologers, expect to be riveted. Joining them will be Jeremy Dyson, best known as the co-creator of the BAFTA award-winning comedy series The League of Gentlemen, creating a ghostly atmosphere and reading from his new collection of stories The Haunted Book.  WordTheatre will reveal a star studded line-up of well-known actors reading short stories and bringing his well-loved Book Club, Robin Ince will be giving it a saucy twist for 2013. Salon London,the cultural showcase that brings together some of the finest minds from the worlds of science and the arts will be there to entrance audiences with fresh perspectives and interdisciplinary discussion. There to blend highbrow thought with fun will be the artistic collective and thrower of unforgettably intelligent parties, events and masquerade balls The Last Tuesday Society.

Other authors taking the stage include Tracey Thorn with her sensational autobiography Bedsit Disco Queen, award-winning journalist and novelist Will Storr will explore why today’s heretics just don’t believe the facts and Duran Duran’sJohn Taylor will appear to discuss his candid autobiography In the Pleasure Groove. Also on Latitude’s literary line-up will beMatt Haig, author of five novels including the bestselling The Last Family in England and his latest, The Radleys, voted the winner of Channel 4's TV Book Club in 2011 and broadcaster and journalist Dawn O’Porter, who will be speaking about her gritty comical novel Paper Aeroplanes. For an academic perspective on the What Defines Me? theme, the writer and Chair of Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin Professor Ian Robertson will join the literary bill to talk about his book, The Winner Effect, which explores how worldly power affects the chemistry and structure of our brains.  

Lovers of literary comedy can also look forward to a special appearance from BBC Radio 4’s Before They Were Famous, a spoof documentary which delves into the archives to present the early works of literary greats, brought to life at Latitude. The scientifically tinged fun will continue with the show that mixes sparkling wit with fascinating facts Festival of the Spoken Nerd with Helen Arney and Blue Peter’s science expert Steve Mould. Toby Litt will also chair a graphic novel discussion fromSelfMadeHero between Glyn DillonJoff Winterhart and Corban Wilkin.

Latitude’s Cabaret and Live Art line-up will offer up a feast of delights for lovers of the alternative arts, with a menu that runs from raucous fun to thought-provoking and daring performance. Carnesky’s Tarot Drome will be specially recreated in new form leading Latitude’s decadent Saturday night extravaganza. Leading London comedy and variety club Boom Tish Cabaret will curate their own programme of small but beautifully formed performance and the irreverent, fabulous and multi-talented Boogaloo Stu asks the audience to record a pop song, make a badge or play a parlour game. Fancy Chance will be hanging around in a red light booth that walks and hanging by her hair and Flabbergast Theatre will bring their sell-out Smash Boris and Sergey’s Vaudevillian Adventure to the Literary Salon, featuring bunraku puppetry, character comedy and improvisation of the highest calibre.

Swing Patrol will host the Sunday tea dance while live artist and connoisseur of antique pornography, Ophelia Bitz, will bring her celebrated project ArtWank, which contrasts vintage smut with modern toss. Feminist performance group Eggs Collective make their Latitude debut with a razor sharp, show of a girl’s big night out. Absurdist artist, filmmaker and performer Richard Dedomenici will perform his new show Cause and Effect, while Brian Lobel brings a digital slant withPurge, a brutal game of friendship management which explores what being a ‘friend’ means for members of the Facebook generation.

Following the success of last year’s Pagan to Occupy theme, the arts programming this year at Latitude will tackle another idea that defines our times in 2013 as it explores Neuroscience vs. Sex: What Defines Me? in association with The Wellcome Trust. Recent advancements in neuroscience are transforming the study of the brain and nervous system from a branch of biology into a wellspring of stories to explain the people we are and the societies we form. As such, neuroscience now grips contemporary artists, writers, performers and thinkers in a way we have not seen since developments in psychoanalysis shook up creative and intellectual life in the 1950’s. Alongside neuroscience, Latitude will also explore the subject of sex, looking at the central roles that sex, gender and sexual orientation play in creating our individual and collective identities. See the wonder and feel the atmosphere of Amsterdam come to life in The Faraway Forest!

Tania Harrison, Programmer of the Arts Arenas commented: “The most exciting part about creating a programme for Latitude is that it is a playground of possibility. Sometimes it feels like eleven stages packed with artists and performance is too much, too many things and ideas to get your head round and other times I think, hell, that’s not nearly enough! It’s pretty exciting this year with neuroscientists, thinkers and speakers adding to the creative mix at Latitude.  There’s something stimulating for everyone from the fascinating to the roll around funny. I hope you like it.”

The first confirmed Late Night DJs are Guilty Pleasures for Friday night, an unashamedly glorious all-singing, all-dancing renouncement of pop music and an antidote to modern day clubbing fatigue created by Sean Rowley; Buttoned Down Disco, the largest indie dance party in the UK, coming to Latitude from Koko to rock the Saturday night, armed with ace music and glitter cannons! Trans-party collective Sink The Pink will be channelling some trendy East London realness at Latitude this year and Pandora’s Playground wouldn’t be the same without the Disco Shed pumping out big tunes until the small hours.

For 2013 The Lavish Big Screen presents the theme Revolution – Musical and visual anarchy, art mayhem and experimentation. This year at the Big Screen Lavish present an exciting selection of contemporary artists’ film and video plus live appearances by Phil Hartnoll (Orbital) and the legendary Don Letts (Big Audio Dynamite) and Harry K (Simply Dredd).

Late Junction, BBC Radio 3’s late night celebration of musical curiosities from across time and space returns to Latitude for a third year running. Filling the woods with captivating sounds, previous line-ups have featured music as diverse as Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, song collector and Mercury Prize nominee Sam Lee and the tape music of minimalist composer Steve Reich. For 2013, Late Junction presenter Max Reinhardt hosts another hand-picked collection of diverse, wild music in the intimate setting of The Lavish Lounge, with highlights to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Including Newcastle’s skewed troubadour,Richard Dawson, and from Brazil, post-tropicalia polyphonic populists, Graveola.

Latitude’s recent Best Family Festival Award is testament to the huge array of family-friendly activities available for children and parents alike. Arranged around the banks of the central Latitude lake is the incredibly enticing Children's Arena, where children are entertained all day and into the night with everything from pond dipping and face painting to helterskelter rides and theatre workshops. A real hive of activity, it’s the place where children never want to leave and parents wish they could stay!  The Inbetweeners’ Teen Area is for those kids who may just be a little too old for the Children's Arena, but still want to get involved. Teenagers can enjoy taking part in music, media and technology workshops, wildlife survival skills and assault courses suspended in the trees. Families can also choose to stay in the Family Campsite where like-minded people, early morning activities and easy access to the Children's Arena are guaranteed. 

Sharon Reuben, Children’s Arena Booker said: “A riot of creativity, colour and curiosities, the Children’s Arena aims to be the best and doesn’t disappoint! With a backpack full of great ideas, we’re ready to entertain the most energetic kids. We also welcome back The Inbetweeners Teen Area, featuring the wild treetop and bushcraft activities of our friends at Greenpeace, alongside a packed programme of activities and workshops with music and media professionals, hosted by Cultureworks and Access to Music.”

Latitude and Marks & Spencer are excited to once again offer an adventurous way of travelling to the festival in 2013, with the second Tour de Latitude!  This initiative will help participants reduce their carbon footprint by cycling their way to the festival in Suffolk, whilst raising vital funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, helping them in their life-saving work supporting seriously ill children and their families from across the UK. Everyone taking part will also have their ticket upgraded at the finish point with access to the Guest campsite and facilities throughout the festival, and Tour de Latitude will transfer bikes back to the start points and provide participants with coach travel  back to where their adventure started.