Kraftwerk were the ideal headliners for this year's Latitude. Although the festival is hardly synonymous with electronica, preferring more conventional indie and rock, it's not averse to experimental music. It made sense, then, that the pioneers of avant-garde but accessible synthesizer pop should bestride a lineup that also featured Hot Chip, Britain's leading geek techno band.
It's a measure of Latitude's standing that it could secure, for their only festival appearance this summer, the services of Germany's fab four – well, one: Ralf Hütter remains the only original member. And even if they did look like quadruple Jim Kirks gone to seed, four plump Germans dressed in tight sci-fi costumes, it was a delight to be in the presence of the Teutonic legends, and to see a field full of revellers wearing 3D glasses for the enhanced graphics of Saturday night's show.
Modern dance music, which Kraftwerk effectively invented, has always been in short supply at Latitude, so Disclosure and Rudimental were a welcome addition to Sunday night's bill. You could also hear their influence in the coyly rhythmic, quirky indie pop of Alt-J, and in the propulsive melancholia of Hot Chip. Elsewhere, guitar rock dominated. "I've never seen so many square white people," said a festival-goer, although it wasn't clear if he was talking about the acts or the audience. On Friday, given the scorching temperature and the guitar solos during Richard Thompson's set, you could be forgiven for thinking we were back in the long, hot summer of 1976. Thompson's mordant, literate rock played well to an audience of dads in touch with their youthful discontent; then again, having to negotiate a pram with one hand while holding a cup of beer in another would test anyone's patience. Over at the Obelisk Arena, Chan Marshall – aka Cat Power – managed to be brooding and intense even in broad daylight. But the heat was too much for some: Marshall had to interrupt her performance to call for a medic for a young woman wilting at the front.
Latitude catered well to the nostalgic demographic – mums recaptured their heady single days thanks to Texas, who cranked out hits such as I Don't Want A Lover – as well as those who like to consider themselves clued-up on new music. However, there were a few too many middlingly successful indie bands, particularly the Maccabees and the overrated Bloc Party and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Luckily, due to the closeness of the stages, you could flit between them with ease, whether your taste was for the radical or the retro. Of the newer groups on Friday, Sweden's Mø did their best to cool things down with their glacial synth pop while Teleman's folk-inflected electronica suggested they could do well in the wake of Alt-J's success.
Latitude has tended to promote within the ranks, and so Alt-J – who in 2012 played one of the smaller stages – were this year's second stage headliners. Earlier in the day there were several potential future recipients of this process, such as new queen of electronic soul Jessie Ware, Bowie wannabes Night Engine and the enchanting Daughter. The lineup was as varied as you could want (unless you like dubstep or R&B), from Syd Arthur's psychedelic folk to Bo Ningen's outer-space rituals and Jagwar Ma's lysergic funk. Half Moon Run had one of the most rapturous receptions all weekend with their ecstatic, magical folk-pop. As for Richard Ashcroft, he got one of the most baffled responses. Playing a solo acoustic set, he struck a slightly unnerving note with his cropped hair and Edward Snowden T-shirt), ranting about "the Orwellian nightmare" that is our lives and berating other bands for being "fakers".
No such vitriol for an old soul pro like Sunday lunchtime must-see Bobby Womack. Dressed head-to-toe in red leather suit and matching peaked cap, surrounded by horn players and female backing singers, he turned a field in Suffolk into a 60s soul revue, and if his voice was a little shot and he was a little shaky on his feet due to his recently diagnosed Alzheimer's , the audience lapped up his every whoop and holler. His set climaxed with A Change Is Gonna Come, a reminder that Womack goes all the way back, right to soul's birth. Sunday closed with sets from Grizzly Bear, Beach House and Foals. And then, for the 35,000-capacity crowd, it was time for the journey home, although one man struck a note of caution when he surveyed the audience and declared: "If you were a burglar in Stoke Newington [a bohemian middle-class suburb of north London] this weekend, you'd have had a field day."
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk