With only a handful of festivals left this year I thought I’d share my first ever festival experience. My friends and I had discussed going to Leeds festival for years, so during February this year, it came back into the conversation. I agreed to go purely down to the fact Kasabian had been announced as headliners because I hadn’t seen them.
With tent, chair and bags in hands, we all travelled down to Stockport to catch the coach. I’d recommend getting a coach if you’re worried about travelling too and from the festival or you want less stress. We also got ‘early-bird tickets’ which meant we were able to enter the festival campsite on the Wednesday, the day prior to general weekend admission.
As someone who has been to a fair few gigs and a festival last year, I’d never stayed over before. So I was a bit apprehensive purely down to the fact I wouldn’t be able to shower for about five days and the possibility of rain, but, I’d be spending all this time with my mates, so that’s all that matters!
We arrived in good time, around two o’clock. Thankfully there was space for everyone to pitch their tents after the long trek from the coach to orange camp. Something I definitely recommend, if you can spare an extra £20, get an early bird ticket. Once we were settled and rested for awhile we went out to collect our 18+ wristbands for the arena and just a nose around stalls.
Whether we were walking past to go too and from the arena or just buying wood for the fire, there’s plenty to buy and do throughout the day. Stalls sell pillows, airbeds, deck chairs, wellies. So if for some reason you forget, the stalls have you covered. If you’re thinking about reinventing yourself there’s plenty of stalls that sell bucket-hats, sunglasses, novelty tops. Because let’s face it, anything goes at festivals.
There are also plenty of food stalls around camp, depending on how adventurous you feel. In all honesty, I bought a breakfast wrap for £6.50 most mornings with a free cup of tea and I was set for the rest of the day. But there’s plenty of variety for everyone.
Leeds Festival has a fair few things to do after the main headliners have finished too. There’s Piccadilly Party, which is located right at the bottom of the orange campsite’s hill. It plays a variety of different genres of music, which is good! You know you won’t be constantly hearing the same songs over and over for the entire weekend. However, I did get woken up to a couple of hundred people singing ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger‘ at about six o’clock on a Saturday morning, but you just learn to let it slide cos it’s Leeds fest and it’s a class song.
There’s Relentless Stage which is located just to the right of the orange hill. It’s within a forest which plays anything from electronic dance music to grime. Not what I’d go for personally but the atmosphere there was interesting to say the least.
And then there was Silent Disco which is slightly further away, towards the arena. It’s pretty self-explanatory. You have three channels to pick from, you decide on one you want to listen to and then sing to your heart’s content! But that’s enough of me rambling on, time I got to what bands/ artists I saw and enjoyed!
Friday; We headed down to the main stage fairly early to make sure we got good spots, thankfully there were some decent artists/bands. First off was VANT. I’ve been listening to their album for a while but it hadn’t really ever crossed my mind to go and see them live, but I was really impressed at how involved the crowd got and how interactive the band were with the crowd! My mates are all into different genres of music yet everyone enjoyed their performance, the crowd were forming moshpits, everyone looked like they were having a class time! Lovely, lovely stuff.
Next was Against The Current and Architects. And in all fairness, both bands aren’t really my cup of tea. Against The Current are more of a pop-punk band whereas Architects are a heavier, metalcore band. Must admit, Architects had one of, if not, the best crowd engagement that day. There were plenty of circle pits going, so if that’s what you’re into, check ’em out!
Then came Giggs, who is a grime artist. Around this time we’d stood up and moved to the front and it was probably for the best, as thousands of fans came flooding in to see him. And I mean thousands. As someone who knew no songs whatsoever, it was enjoyable to see those who did, join in. Plus I was blissfully unaware of how rowdy grime crowds can get, so I had a nice surprise watching loads of people jumping around behind me.
Blossoms were next and they were worth the wait. This was my third time seeing them so I was a bit apprehensive to see what setlist they play but they did change it up with the likes of ‘Cut Me and I’ll Bleed‘ and a lovely cover of The Smiths during ‘My Favourite Room‘. They get better and more confident every time I see them and now they’re getting a solid group of fans supporting them, I can see their second album catapulting them into even more success.
And finally! After the long-winded wait, the main man I’d been waiting for! Mr Liam Gallagher! I’m going to try and keep it short and sweet because I need to write about Saturday and Sunday too and I could go on and on about the performance, but Liam was on form! He sounded amazing, the crowd were brilliant, especially where the Oasis songs were concerned! The crowd left Liam speechless and I doubt that happens very often. There was plenty of flares let off and fans wearing Oasis t-shirts in the crowd. It’s the closest any of us will get to an Oasis gig for the time being and it sure made up for it!
On the way back to the campsite we decided to stop off and watch some of Halsey‘s set. From the get-go she was off dancing around the stage, interacting with the crowd and she sounded brilliant. I was impressed at the turn out too since Muse were headlining at the same time.
Saturday; We had a pretty relaxed day as we spent most of the time nursing our sore feet. The first band we got around to seeing was Two Door Cinema Club who had a massive turn out. ‘Tourist History‘ is a suitable soundtrack to a sunny day, so it doesn’t get much better standing in the sunshine with the crowd singing and jumping along.
Joe Thomas, or ‘Simon’, from The Inbetweeners, made an unexpected appearance on the main stage in between bands to film a scene for his upcoming film – definitely gonna use that as my claim to fame! I’m not sure as to how much detail I can go into, so I’ll just say it was ‘electric’.
Next up was Bastille. I’m glad that I’ve seen them live but I don’t think I’ll see them again, purely because I’m just not into their music that much anymore. They played plenty of fan favourites such as ‘Pompeii‘ which is still an absolute tune!
And the main headliners for the Saturday! Kasabian! And maaan, they were brilliant! The crowd weren’t as involved as I thought they’d be but with the likes of ‘Underdog‘ and ‘Clubfoot‘ things started to liven up a bit. Serge and Tom’s chemistry came across whilst they were on stage discussing what ‘treats’ they’re gonna eat after the set, turns out Serge is a dairylea dunker fan! The band finished with ‘Fire’ and rightly so! It’s an incredible live song! Kasabian are definitely on the cards for their end of year tour!
Sunday; Was bittersweet. People around us had starting to pack away early, reminding us that the festival will be over tomorrow. We woke up fairly early and hopped on down to the NME/Radio One stage to see the Manchester wonders that are Cabbage. It was my fourth time seeing them live yet they still make me laugh with the likes of ‘Necroflat in the Palace’. I also bumped into Joe from the band who was super lovely and stopped for a photo and a chat!
We all retreated back to the campsite to enjoy the sunshine before heading back to watch the final headliner, Eminem! The festival had sold out so there were thousands upon thousands waiting for him. I hadn’t really thought about it until I was there, but he has such a diverse fanbase, people had travelled in just to see him, there were families full of young and old fans. It was really nice to see. Even being stood three-quarters of the way back the atmosphere still carried itself as we enjoyed the likes of ‘Stan‘, ‘Lose Yourself‘ and ‘Rap God‘.
And so concluded my first ever festival! I’ll save you all the boring details of travelling home and finding lumps of grass in my jacket pockets (don’t ask, I don’t know myself). But next year can’t come quick enough! I can’t wait to find out who will headline! Rumour has it, it’ll be Arctic Monkeys, Foo Fighters and Kanye West, but who knows. Until next year, Leeds Festival!