Clemency Burtonhill

Clemency suggests | 12 July 2008

In only its third year, the laid-back Latitude (17-20 July) has gained a reputation for being one of Britain’s finest festivals, and it certainly has one of the most enticing and interesting line-ups of any event this summer. More than a merely musical extravaganza, the beautiful site on Henham Park Estate in Suffolk will also host comics, poets, writers, theatre companies, film directors, actors, cabaret artists and musicians, alongside headlining acts such as Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, Blondie and Sigur Ros. I’ve packed the pop-up tent and the Hunters and am now crossing my fingers and praying for sunshine… Rain or shine, this year will mark the 25th anniversary of the Edinburgh Books Festival (9-25 August), and as usual the line-up is magnificent: Sean Connery, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood alongside a plethora of other luminaries from the arts, sciences and politics. Mix up the late nights and chaos of the fringe with some civilised intellectual time-out in Charlotte Square Gardens.

Call me biased, because I’m working on them, but I truly cannot imagine richer musical pickings this summer than those to be found at The Proms (18 July – 13 September). With well over a thousand promenade tickets available for every concert, every night for a fiver, this has to be the best value in the arts, anywhere in the world. New director Roger Wright, also the Controller of Radio 3, has put together a thrilling programme that comprises old classics and world premieres, juggling time-honoured favourites with tricky avant gardists and honourably adhering to founder Henry Wood’s objective to educate as well as entertain. For the family, there are events galore including Morris dancing in Kensington Gardens and family orchestra sessions, for Daleks-fans there’s an entire Doctor Who Prom, for all music lovers there are jaw-dropping names on offer – Barenboim, Boulez, Rattle, Haitink, Dudamel to name but a handful of the conductors appearing – and this year marks the launch of the Proms Plus literary festival, which will include the likes of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, discussing Dostoevsky.

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