Critical Overview: Dream Wife and Other Artists Perform at Latitude Festival 2021
Dream Wife’s guitarist, Alice Go, shared that the band had many dreams and nightmares about their first performance since January 2020. Despite her and her bandmates’ concerns about their ability to perform after having eaten so much food, they successfully performed a raucous set at Latitude Festival 2021. The festival is one of the UK’s pilot schemes, part of the government’s plan to safely reintroduce live events during the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival featured 40,000 COVID-tested and maskless fans from all over the UK, enjoying music, comedy, drama, and entertainment.
Audience Liberation amid COVID-19 Pandemic
The festival-goers’ enthusiastic energy was palpable throughout the event, including during Lynks’ opening set, where the first song immediately triggered a mosh pit. The artists themselves also found the atmosphere euphoric and affirming, such as Wolf Alice’s Theo Ellis and pop singer Maisie Peters. However, they were also aware of the precarious situation facing the live music industry due to the ongoing pandemic and its steep rise in COVID-19 cases in the UK.
Performing Amidst COVID-19 Precautions
Some artists, such as Fontaines DC, Alfie Templeman, and Arlo Parks, had to pull out of the event due to positive COVID-19 tests. Musicians who performed at the festival, including Dream Wife’s Bella Podpadec, stayed in bubbles to protect future performances. Camilla and Jessica Staveley-Taylor of The Staves expressed the pressure of their upcoming gigs, as any positive COVID-19 test would affect not only their work but also their crew and bandmates. Even as the festival felt surreal and reminiscent of pre-pandemic times, the artists understood that it was still a challenging situation.
Latitude Festival 2021 represented a significant step in the government’s plan to bring back live events during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the necessary precautions, including COVID-19 testing, bubbles, and masks, the festival-goers and artists felt liberated and euphoric to be back in the festival atmosphere. However, the reality of the ongoing pandemic and the potential risks to the live music industry were not lost on them, with several artists experiencing positive COVID-19 tests or the pressure of isolation between gigs.