There was lots of discussion regarding this years Leeds & Reading Festival line up. Heres our in depth view of the weekends highlights. Over 110,000 people attended the four festival at Bramham Park... and over 200,000 people attended both Leeds & Reading.
All set up in camp for late Thursday afternoon and as usual there was a rain shower or we could say downpour whilst setting up the tent. However after festival goers were greeted by a calm and lovely sunset. People ventured to the main arena.. To be greeted by several packed tents, at the BBC Radio 1 stage to watch Big Shaq and Chip delight huge crowds to their favourite tracks. I also saw Anteros a London indie four piece who's energy filled the Festival Republic Tent.
Onto Thursdays late night antics, The Relentless Stage based in the campsite woods set amongst a long strip of trees seems to grow in stature every year. This year tens of thousands of people partied the nights away until 6am to likes of a top set of Dj's including, The Manor and The Streets Mike Skinner. Situated between in a valley like area between Orange and Red camp, thousands danced as lazors shone into the sky and lights created a colourful scene amongst the trees. A beautiful backdrop set in the countryside. As Friday beckoned we were back in the tent for 2am. Obviously pacing ourselves for the weekend ahead. on our route back dancing to The Picadilly Party stage who were booming out classic rock and rnb tracks spanning many decades.
Friday saw the official opening of the Festival and i headed over to watch Get Cape Wear Cape fly on their return to Leeds after ten years. Tracks such as, I spy and War of the worlds, were as current and appropriate now both culturally and politically as they were a decade ago. They brought the tent to life as their set progressed. Bedfords alternative rock band Don Bronco rocked the BBC Radio 1 tent with tracks such as Come out to La and Pretty creating circle pits and crowdsurfing alike.
One of the highlights of the weekend next were Northern Indie Rockers from Manchester The Courteener's whom donned the stage as fans set off an array of coloured smoke flares which lit the afternoon sky. It was quite a spectacle. Kicking off with ', 'Are you in love with a Notion?!' and playing a host of classics such as Bide Your time, Cavorting, Modern Love, No You Didn't & No Dont. Their 79 minute set finished with fans favourite, ''What took you so long''? An energetic set filled of Northern spirit saw crowds sing their hearts out, a set which could have easily been a headline one. Their musical maturity is starting to show as they are now etched in British indie music history as they continue to widen their mass appeal. They have also just announced another UK wide winter tour.
What could top that? Well Leeds fans were in for a treat as American Kings of Leon headlined Friday Night with a measured set of tracks from several albums, which included renowned tracks such as 'Use Somebody' and 'Sex on Fire' a great start to the Friday. Other acts during the day included Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes whose surprise performance attracted a mass crowd on The Pit Stage and they told fans they would be back to perform very soon. Frank told fans it might be the last time your singing these tracks as our new album is, ''F******* incredible!''. Other acts included Lil Pump who had the crowd chanting his rap tracks on the BBC Radio 1 stage. Isaac Gracie and finally Tom Grennan had eclectic sets Festival Republic Stage.
Saturday was blessed with warm weather and one of my personal favourite sets of the weekend from producer and artist Post Malone whose influences spread a variety of music genres from heavy metal, to rock, rap and RNB. A string of hits including 'I fall apart', 'Candy Paint', 'Better Now, Psycho and Rockstar. It's easy to understand why Post Malone has nearly 4 billion plays on Spotify alone. The long hair, tattooed rap rocker has fans in the palm of his hands singing every word which was one of the strongest sets of the weekend. The Vaccines and then Kooks teased their new albums whilst The Kooks played Naive, Oh La and Seaside which seemed to resonate well with a busy late afternoon main stage.
Saturday ended with Chicago's Emo rock band Fall Out Boy who's rousing set included pyrotechnics and multicoloured fire flares. Pete Wentz now donning long hair smashed through hits spanning the last ten yeas, Sugar Wood Going Down, Saturday and Thanks for the memories, Uma Thurman, This ain't A Scene, Hold me tight or don't, A little less sixteen candles. a finale saw a furore of fireworks and Pete stripped off his jacket unveiling a retro Packard Bell Leeds United shirt whilst leaving the stage and running into the crowd. Fall Out Boys crowd was a mix of old and young and fans seemed more than happy with Saturdays headline act. A brilliant set which will last in the memory of festival goers including myself for years to come.
Other acts on Saturday included metal bands The Used whose hardcore set saw the filming of their new dvd at the Pit Stage, 'The Taste of Ink' and 'All that i've got' were favourites. The band thanked crowds who had stood by them for 16 years in the industry.
Annie Mac and the Horrors also delighted dance and indie fans as headline acts in the BBC Dance Tent and on the Festival Republic Stage.
Sunday saw the weather take a turn for the worse however spirits were not dampened as UK reggae metal band smashed through tracks on the main stage in the early afternoon. Then an emotional eye watering performance from Linkin Parks, Mike Shinoda, who played their favourite track 'In the End', dedicated to Chester whose suicide rocked the music world. Fans had tears streaming down their faces which was a poignant moment in the festival. Mike then joined Sum 41 in a surprise performance. Next saw two female performers make festival waves as Norway's Sigrid thrilled fans in the BBC Radio 1 tent as her phenomenal smooth vocals on tracks such as, ' Don't kill my vibe, Strangers and 'I don't want to know.' Heading back over to the Main Stage to see commercial wide artist Dua Lipa who didn't disappoint with a ballsy performance which included head banging, dancing and lots of crowd interaction. The rain didn't stop crowds enjoying tracks such as her joint track with Martin Garrix, 'Scared to be lonely' One Kiss and New Rules seemed to the resonate well with the crowd. Quickly over to the Festival Republic Stage to see Manchester's Indie Pop band Pale Waves who have an 80s rock feel. Their set included Television, Eighteen and their biggest hit Theres A Honey, this band has already being making waves on their supporting of the 1975 on their North American Tour. They are currently touring the UK this September.
Panic At the Disco the penultimate performance on the main stage saw the Chicago band thrill the crowd with its musical rock and pop hits with a memorising arty and story telling backdrop which touched on themes of sexuality, freedom and opportunity. Brendan Urie's high vocals and stage presence wowed the crowd as he seemed to be enjoying every minute. Tracks included Hey Look Ma, I Made It Hallelujah, The Ballad of Mona Lisa, Nine in the Afternoon, Girls/Girls/Boys, High Hopes with a high quality performance of Queens Bohemian Rhapsody accompanied by their chelo, violin and trumpet players. This set was everything but brilliant with the only snag of not having played more tracks from their first album, Fans were only treated to, ''I write sins not tragedies' from the album A fever you cant sweat out.'' Brendan spoke of his first appearance at Leeds Festival where he was knocked out by a bottle but completed the set and spoke of how that wasn't an easy time. Prehaps thats why they didn't play more tracks from the album which spurred them into success.
Kenrick Lemar running late was graced with the finale of headlining the main stage at Leeds 2018 whilst he gave it everything their was a distinct lack of occasion. And i'm unsure that he won over 50% of the crowd whom stood in the rain to see him perform tracks such as Humble and All the stars. This just didn't compare to last years Eminem finale. Leaving the main stage i managed to see some of Papa Roaches headline closing set in the Pit which was infused with circle pits, moshing and a diverse crowd of old and young enjoying metal tracks such as My Last Resort and Help. BBC Radio One Xtra stage saw British rapper Wretch 32, East London rapper Yxng Bane and South Londons Yungen please rap fans and i can be assured it went down well as my writer Kimberley Lucas danced through the three full sets. I also spoke to Kate Nash backstage who said she was thrilled to be headlining Leeds Festivals Festival Republic Stage.
Music continued late into the nights with Kolsh, Dj ZInc, Jax Jones and many more playing the Relentless Energy Stage in a mesmorising set up of light shows which attracted thousands of people. Djs from the silent disco tent have stated it was their biggest crowd in 16 years of playing Leeds Festival.
So another year over, Leeds as always rocked... Theres no other festival which caters for every music taste going...
Stay posted as 2019 tickets are available very soon.