To say it rained this year at Leeds festival would be a major understatement. From the moment festival go-ers passed through the iconic yellow ‘Welcome to Leeds’ sign with their crates of Carlsberg, marker pens to write some ‘hilarious’ comment on the side of their tent and that sense of blind optimism that comes with being under 21, the heavens opened and those who thought any choice of footwear other than wellies was a good idea realised quickly that it wasn’t.
However, this did nothing to dampen spirits as people waded through the mud to the arena on Friday morning ready for the first day of live music.
Throughout the weekend the nme tent held host to an impressive lineup of artists and bands. Stand out act Cage the Elephant brought their ferocious and snarly style as they contrasted old school favourites such as ‘Ain.t no rest for the wicked’ with the more chilled out ‘Cigarette Daydreams’ that filled the tent with a chorus of fans who repeated lyrics back to Matt Shultz as if they’d been written themselves. Liverpool hailing wombats took those who hadn’t just finished their GCSEs back to when they had as they fired out old school favourites filling mosh pits with nostalgia and feel good vibes. The 1975 also brought an incredible atmosphere to the tent as fans sang and danced along with no inhibitions. Musical genius came in the form of Jack Garratt who drew in the crowds and made his skilful performance look effortless, a real pleasure to witness. The weekend was topped off perfectly by Two Door Cinema club who took to the nme stage with an incredible light display and a repertoire of songs that can be described as nothing but bangers. From ‘changing of the seasons’ to ‘do you want it all’ fans young and old came together to have one last dance.
The BBC introducing stage brought a whole host of new talent to Bramham park. Most notably was Billingham’s Mouses who brought grizzly punk to the stage, with a level of energy and unapologetic chaos that was injected directly into the crowd. Also ten tonnes took to the stage on Sunday with his bluesy, raw, Johnny Cash-esque vibe. The sun may not have made an appearance but Ten tonnes voice did the trick in warming us all up.
Sunday evening saw Palace on the Festival republic stage which was a personal highlight of the festival. Chilled out guitar, beautiful lyrics and a sound with such depth and warmth that it cuts straight through you. Thanking fans for choosing their performance over the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, those that chose to stray the main stage to the dark tent lit with mood lighting and entranced listeners should pat themselves on the back for the best decision they made all weekend. Newbies The Sherlocks also took to the stage showing great promise and on Saturday Blaenavon’s deep vocals contrasting with twanging guitar forced fans to swap their wellies for dancing shoes and get their groove on.
Slaves, Sundara Karma and The Courteeners were all bands that took the main stage by storm throughout the daytimes of the festival. Biffy Clyro took to the main stage on Friday night, a band with music perfect for festivals, the Scottish trio brought energy to the stage and proved themselves as an incredible live band once again. Regardless of the torrential rain, which in fact added to the atmosphere of Foals incredible performance, fans came out in their thousands to watch Yannis and the band play on Saturday night. Followed by disclosure who made up what they lacked in stage presence with impressive musical skill.
Many other forms of entertainment were on offer throughout the weekend: comedians, DJs, stalls and comparing puddles of rainwater inside tents, there really was something for everyone. Although Leeds fest is referred to as a ‘Post GCSE blowout’ with such a range of performances the festival once again proved that it doesn’t matter how old you are, Bramham park will always welcome you with open arms.