Leeds Fest is always an idea that I’ve toyed with. I live half an hour from Bramham Park, where it’s held so I never really understood what was holding me back. The majority of my friends have been over the past few years but I never joined them.
I realised that the camping side of it was probably putting me off more than I’d like to admit, I can become extremely grouchy when I’ve not had a good night’s sleep and the thought of letting that ruin my experience is off-putting.
I was sat in the office at work one day in summer just ticking things off my to-do-list when I get a call from my amazing best friend. She worked for a PR company in Leeds as an account executive so I thought it was unusual that she was calling me in the middle of a working day.
“AMY. I’ve got some good news.” She shouted down the phone.
I sat upright in my seat, a tad confused. I laughed nervously.
“What?! What? Tell me!” I yelled back at her,
“I HAVE GOT US FREE TICKETS TO LEEDS FEST ON SATURDAY!”
We both screamed in unison. I was pacing up and down the office. I was SO excited. We then proceeded to text each other over the next couple of days. “What are you wearing?” “Who are you most excited to see?” “Oh my god, there is gonna be so much food!”
The best part of this was, when the line-up was initially released, we were debating getting a Saturday ticket because our favourite band, Bastille were headlining on the main stage but we just left it too late and never got round to it!
On Saturday, we drowned ourselves in glitter and headed off to Bramham Park in Ella’s bright yellow Ford Ka, singing along to the Bastille CD and repeatedly saying “it doesn’t feel real yet!” to each other.
I had created us an itinerary with all the bands we both wanted to see and the times that they were on each stage. Luckily, we both have the same taste in music (and a good taste at that!) so there weren’t any clashes and we were both happy with the incredible artists that we got to see live!
Firstly, we headed over to the Festival Republic stage and watched The Amazons. Their set was short and sweet, with a very mixed crowd. Finishing with ‘Junk Food Forever’, everyone was in a great mood as they left the tent! They were super good live, I recommend anyone who is into rock/indie music to go and see them!
We then wandered over to the main stage and caught a bit of Mallory Knox’s set. I’ve never really listened to Mallory Knox and I had bought an amazing wood-fired pizza from one of the food vans so I was pretty indulged in that if I’m honest.
Next up, was Ratboy at 2:55 on the main stage. ‘Laidback’ is one of my current favourite tracks so it was fantastic to hear this performed live! I also have a really weird crush on Jordan Cardy so I wasn’t complaining. They had a lot of people dancing on the grass and later on, we saw them in the signing tent and a lot of people went to meet & greet them!
I was SO excited for the next act. It was over at the BBC Radio One/NME Stage and it was Declan Mckenna! The first time I heard ‘Brazil,’ I had it on repeat for around a fortnight. He has such a cool style and his voice is so unique. I was so surprised at how he performed on the stage to say he’s only 18. He oozes confidence and individuality and his music is just incredible. He releases tickets for his tour on Friday and I am definitely going to see him again! One of my favourite acts of the day. Also, you should follow him on Twitter – he is hilarious.
We then rushed back to the main stage to catch as much of Circa Waves set as possible. Ella had gone to a Circa Waves gig as press before but I’d never seen them live but they were incredible! Their sound is just too good and Kieran Shudall is such a good frontman, I sacrificed the end of their set because one of Ella’s favourite bands clashed with it! (She did get me there for free, after all.) CIRCA, CIRCA, CIRCA FUCKIN’ WAVES.
Next, we saw Oh Wonder. I had only ever listened to ‘Ultralife’ which I loved enough to add it to my Starred playlist on Spotify when I first heard it, however, Ella had been listening to them for a couple of years and you could tell she absolutely loved their set! I thought they were fab too, they were really likeable on stage and interacted with the crowd really well!
We then hovered outside the signing tent as we saw ‘Bastille’ written in chalk at a 5pm slot. We waited for an hour whilst listening to Anne-Marie in the BBC R1/NME stage and I was actually pleasantly surprised by how good she was live! At 5pm, I could NOT contain my excitement when we got this close to Dan Smith. I actually nearly cried…
At around 6:30, we were back at the main stage because Two Door Cinema Club was on! They were absolutely amazing, I was really kicking myself for not going to see them live before because they were seriously so, so good. My favourite songs that they performed were: ‘Sun’, ‘Something Good Can Work’ and ‘Changing Of The Seasons.’ It was such an incredible atmosphere, everyone was singing the lyrics so loud and it was impossible to not have a smile on your face!
And then, the moment I had been waiting for since I had received that phone-call from Ella… Bastille! This was my fourth time seeing them and I swear to god, I get emotional every time. There is something SO special about seeing your favourite band live. The first time we went to see them, the tickets cost £10! So seeing them come all this way is just an amazing feeling. They never fail to surprise me with their music and I will never stop buying tickets to see them live even when they cost me an arm and leg!
It was now pitch black and the best day of my life was drawing to a close, but we hadn’t seen everyone just yet… Kasabian were next and oh my GOSH, they were bloody brilliant! You wouldn’t expect anything less though, would you? Everyone was dancing, chanting the lyrics and having the time of their lives. The atmosphere was honestly just something else. I LOVED seeing them perform ‘Underdog’, ‘eez-eh’ and ‘You’re In Love With A Psycho.’ Would definitely go to see them live again!
We also caught the last half an hour of You Me At Six, I had never really listened to them before but I was surprised that I actually quite enjoyed it! It was the kind of music I listened to when I was about 15 so it was a bit of a blast from the past!
It was honestly an amazing day and I’m so glad I went because I will DEFINITELY be doing it again if the line-up is as good as it was this year. The weather was glorious, the music was fantastic, I was with my best friend and we had the time of our life!
Until Next Time,