While just one of a whole host of festivals that East London psyche-funk cadets The Purple Lights are playing this summer in support of their debut single ‘Warning’, Latitude was evidently going to be one of the summer’s highlights. Knowing that the band always like to stick around and enjoy a festival to the full, we asked Akeba Fridye and Rob Fincham to share their thoughts on this year’s bash. No sheep were harmed during the making of this festival diary – but it was a close shave….

FRIDAY

Rob:

“Awakening to some seriously sunny weather spirits were high in The Purple Lights wagon! I restrung my guitar ready for the show and after cooking some rock star fuel of beans and veggie Sausages we were ready to head on out and experience a bit of the festival.”

Akeba:

“I decided to hire a car and drive to the festival, as I had a few things to attend to back in London. I had set off early in the afternoon and took with me Rhodri, a very close friend of the band. We got to the festival around 5pm and met up with Rob who had just finished signing autographs for some young primary school children.”

Rob:

“During the day we floated around experiencing the arts and wonderments of The Faraway Forest and The Woods. We were attracted over to the main stage by the world music sounds of Junun feat Shye Ben Tzur & The Rajasthan Express. Then we then bagged ourselves a lift to the Alcove stage hosted and run by Keith Allen, where we were playing later, as it was about time to get ourselves in the mood for rocking out.

The gig was monumental and the audience had so much energy. We had some competition from The Maccabees but the crowd was there and in full force for our set. I wished we could have gone on all night and will remember that gig until I grow old and develop amnesia. Our new single ‘Warning’ went down a storm and was the chief instigator for a particularly sweaty mosh. Keith Allen’s tent was beautifully decorated and you really have to take your hat off to him and his team for the effort that they put into this year’s show.

Unfortunately our set also clashed with the Slaves set, which I had hoped to catch. I heard from other festivalgoers that they SMASHED It!! I’ll have to catch them further down the line.”

Akeba:

“I go from the campsite to the Alcove Stage, capturing videos endlessly on my personal camera. Keith Allen bumps into me remembering who I am before I even begin to trail through names in my head of who this man could be. Suddenly I remember his smile and relate it to a picture I had seen of him not too long ago - I am usually used to greeting a fair few people who I cannot for the life of me remember their name but always remember a feature of theirs, this being a case in point. We spoke briefly on how things are, what the running of the night would entail, where everything was and if I needed anything. Rationale, a young soul singer, had taken the stage just before us and raised the roof. A tough act to follow considering the tent was rammed and the audience absolutely loved him. It was a no brainer why they did, as his vocals were on point, his backing band was tight as anything and he gave a passionate performance - very uplifting to be watching from the side of the stage.

The show set up was more professional than we have experienced in quite a while, as smooth as anything and we even had time to waltz around backstage. We received a very warm, heartfelt response from the audience. Keith gave a very generous speech and thanks us immensely for being a part of his entertainment. Backstage Keith and I spoke briefly as he complimented me highly on my drumming skills and hopefully we impressed because he mentioned he had future shows for us down the line.

After our slot the next band up were the locals Dingus Khan. They had a very supportive audience chanting songs, ready and rearing to go before the band had even begun setting up. They even had security guards put in place on all sides of the stage so there wasn’t a stage invasion. Brilliant! Their sound was very rugged but very energetic, they put on a good show and kept the audience intrigued throughout; definitely a lot to learn there for us.

We all, as a camp, partied for a bit but the long drive, plus performing and barely any sleep the night before took its toll on me and I decided to hit the hay around 2am.”



SATURDAY

Rob:

“The lucky thing about playing on the Friday is that we then had two days of enjoying the festival without any commitment apart from that of partying on! Most of the morning was spent relaxing and taking in the rays that we had been gifted with. Needless to say I managed to get a rather lovely vest tan that has been the laughing point of a great many people over the weekend.”

Akeba:

“Deciding to take a walk around the festival while everyone else in the camp recovered from last night’s antics, I found myself attracted to the large audience gathering at the illustrious BBC6 Music stage. The crowd were gathering for Rat Boy, a very interesting act, young but definitely got the crowd pumping as if they’d been performing for quite some time. Their sound is best described as indie rock, making me think how popular the indie scene still is, and although there may be an array of young bands who all look and sound similar, there are the few like this who will evidently make a name for themselves.

In the afternoon we boogied our way over to catch most of Squeeze’s set on the main stage. We were lucky enough to play with them at Bearded Theory and it was a pleasure to watch them again at Latitude. After that we took in some chilled vibes from Daughter, which suited the Saturday vibe immensely. The National headlined Saturday evening, who I had never caught live and they are quite a band. I love their blend of instrumentation and really put on one hell of a show that takes you to a very special place."

Rob:

"The rest of the evening was spent bopping to David Rodigan and his journey through reggae. We’re both lovers of the reggae and so lost ourselves in the music and great company. I also have a memory of wanting to take one of the multi coloured sheep back to the bandwagon as a mascot but one of the slightly disgruntled security guards disagreed with my brilliant idea.”

SUNDAY

Rob:

“Sunday morning we decided to take a trip to the beach which is very close by to the Latitude site. After a very cold but refreshing swim we hopped back and returned to Latitude with some good old fish and chips in hand. Back at camp a few chaps were starting to feel the burn of a couple of days on the party and so I managed to sneak them over to the lake which you were able to swim this year. Although they were slightly reticent about the temperature there’s nothing like a sharp push from The Purple Lights to help you in!

The day was spent hanging by the main stage and bumbling around enjoying all the décor that they festival had worked so hard to create. Matched by the glorious weather we reflected on how lucky we were to have had such a great weekend in such a great environment. My favourite act of the day had to be The Lumineers who played many of their best hits. Watching a girl dancing in the sunshine to their music gave messages of freedom, love and a carefree environment which I think I’ll have to write a song about in the run up to our next festival, Secret Garden.

The main attraction of the evening was the almighty CC Smugglers who headlined the BBC Introducing stage in the woods. It was a serious hoedown and the crowd gave them a most wonderful welcome. Having just driven from the Czech Republic, getting straight out of the tour bus and onstage, you really have to admire their dedication. I caught Richie’s (lead singer) eye while dancing in the crowd and he was kind enough to give us a shout out as he had caught The Purple Lights show once before. After their gig we were able to persuade a couple of the chaps to stick around for a dance and a few drinks, which we always try to do when we get to see them play, as they do know how to boogie.

We ran a competition for a weekend ticket and while hanging out with our competition winner Alan Griffiths we decided to check out Keith's stage. When we nipped in we met with Keith and had a chat and a drink. Alan turned to Keith and suddenly remembered a night way back in 1992 when they first met at Glastonbury festival and had a wild night out. They hadn't seen each other since and Neither Keith or Alan could believe the reunion from so long ago - quite a coincidence that he was our competition winner! “