For many the Reading and Leeds Festival weekender marks the end of summer. Taking place during the last bank holiday weekend, it’s an institution and a bit of rite of passage.
We headed to Leeds Festival on the Thursday and, feeling brave, opted to camp in the Yellow Bubble Campsite; the party campsite and the nosiest. Say goodbye to sleep for the next four nights.
Frist things first, drink. We went straight to The Village where we bar hopped between a huge blow up bar and rave tent before heading to the Silent Disco that proved to be chaos if you suffer from FOMO (Which song do you pick?). At one point I remember Taylor Swift and System of Down playing at the same time – it made for some interesting and quite contrasting dancing.
With the sun shining and feeling ready for our first day of music we headed to the NME/Radio 1 Stage to enjoy The Neighbourhood and Clean Bandit. The former recently toured with The 1975, who played later on that day, while Clean Bandit brought a high-energy set that saw singer Grace Chatto wow with her skills at playing the cello while wearing sky high heels – it was impressive. They played their classic Rather Be, which went down a treat, amongst others.
Rumours were spreading about surprise sets and we found out that Jamie T was off to the Reading site. Sadly, Leeds weren’t in for the same luck but we did end our Friday watching Blink-182!
For fans who wanted to see them pre-break up days, they wouldn’t have been disappointed. Tom, Travis and Mark brought the songs everyone loved – from What’s My Age Again? to The Rockshow – while their potty mouth stage humour hasn’t changed a bit. Travis Barker killed it on the drums, playing a number of jaw dropping solos.
For us, Saturday started in the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage were we found the drum and bass duo Sigma. We weren’t disappointed by our first choice. Their mix of Kanye West’s Nobody To Love was a definite favourite.
Sadly, Saturday had clashes galore, which is to be expected as Leeds Festival boasts eight stages. Netsky Live, The Courteeners and Paramore were all headlining their respective stages later that day. We caught a bit of each ending at the Main Stage to see Paramore and although not personally a fan, the crowd lapped up the now blue-haired Hayley Williams.
It was time to get the UV out as just because the bands had finished it didn’t mean it was time for bed. A lot was happening for those who didn’t want to call it a night. Each campsite had their own DJ (making it very handy to be near your tent for when the time came to pass out), or you could head to Piccadilly Circus, to the bars in The Village, opt to go to the Silent Disco or to the huge bonfires.
If all that felt like too much, Leeds Festival even had its own cinema – albeit we never made it there – but if you did want to catch a film at 12.30pm the weekend’s choices included Hunger Games and Anchor Man.
Covered in mud, UV paint and feeling a little worse for wear we were back at the NME/Radio 1 Stage to see the Brighton duo Royal Blood. The tent was heaving to capacity and, despite just two of them, the level of sound and energy that they created was a bit ridiculous.
Their set, which included Hole, Better Strangers and Figure It Out, ended with Out Of The Black that saw drummer Ben Thatcher take a dive into the front of crowd. Later, Cage the Elephant were on the same stage where a topless Matt Shultz played to another packed out crowd.
We then headed to the Main Stage for Foster The People, Imagine Dragons, Jake Bugg and Arctic Monkeys. Foster The People played a number of tracks from their latest album Supermodel along with their older hits, including the well-known Pumped Up Kicks.
Next up, Imagine Dragons. They were pleased to be here exclaiming that Leeds Festival is one of the best in the world. Their set included a cover of Blur’s Song 2 after the crowd went crazy for Amersterdam and ended with On Top Of The World, Demons and Radioactive. At this point, the entire band took over the huge drums. It could be because they hail from Las Vegas, but they definitely know how to put on a show.
Following in their footsteps was Jake Bugg who treated the crowd to Lightning Bolt, Messed Up Kids and Me and You. Although he didn’t manage to crack a smile during his entire set, the crowd weren’t fussed as it was one of the best turns out of the weekend.
With the sun set, everyone’s favourite Sheffield boys closed the festival. Playing their last UK gig in support of their AM album, Arctic Monkeys’ set was everything a fan could have wanted; a combination of tracks from their fifth album and a selection of fan favourites all mixed together with Alex Turner’s cocky banter.
Yorkshire references were everywhere from Sheffield’s dialling code (0114) on the drum kit to the Yorkshire roses on Turner’s suit lapels. At one point he even dedicated a song to Sheffield and chanted Yorkshire, much to this crowd’s delight who lapped it up.
They ended with an encore that included One For The Road, When The Sun Goes Down and Mardy Bum. Before Turner teased the audience with R U Mine?, playing the catchy chorus three times before departing the stage for good, much to the crowd’s disappointment.
And with that, another Leeds Festival came to a close. See you there next year. Just make sure you remember the wellies.