The first ever Live at Leeds: In the Park can be regarded as nothing but a success! Regardless of the cloudy weather, spirits were high and nothing could dampen them! Music lovers are raring to go with the festival season finally getting into full swing.
As a one-day festival it was clear that attendees were here due to their love for the artists and bands playing, credit to the organisers for a cracking line-up!
Despite the train strikes I have to say travelling to Temple Newsam was surprisingly easy and surprisingly hassle-free – I definitely recommend the shuttle buses. The organisation of this festival was one of the best I’ve been to and for this reason it made the day far more enjoyable, with little to worry about other than enjoying the live music.
Arriving to the festival I kicked off my day going to Lauran Hibberd’s set on the MTV main stage. This mainstage was somewhat underwhelming and seemed kinda small for a main stage, but the acts still brought all their energy which manifested into the crowd. Lauran, as I mentioned when I saw her support The Snuts, was fully of energy and had a great stage presence, dancing around the stage and interacting with her band. With her debut album being released in august this set will undoubtably have encouraged fans to keep their eyes out. She treated the festival to new tracks including ‘I’m Insecure’ which she went on to explain was about her Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS) and stating “sorry. Boys, girls poo too!”. I love these comments and remember her stating “girls sweat too” when in Manchester. I just love the honesty. Other songs included ‘How am I still alive” which she dedicated to the queen on this platinum jubilee weekend.
Popping over to Cassia in the DIY Big Top stage, this stage immediately felt more atmospheric than the main stage, perhaps because it was in a tent. Cassia were playing their typical groovy but fairly mellow tunes. not necessarily a criticism but there was a noticeable drastic drop in energy in comparison to Lauran. However, it was still early on in the day and the crowd was vibing along.
The day continued and it was time to refuel with a pint, an overpriced pint. I’m not sure I want to check my bank account because a whole seven pounds for a pint is not student friendly, but we move… Whilst this daytime robbery was occurring, Dylan John Thomas sounded great as we walked past the Hill Top Stage back down to the main stage. Noticeably the stages were fairly close together. This can be taken as both positive and negative, as it was easy to wonder around but also it did mean music was clashing and could be heard at other stages. This was especially noticeable at the Hill Top and Big Top stage where it felt as though they were fighting as to who was louder.
Alfie Templeman had little stage presence, but with his hardcore fanbase it hasn’t seemed to affect his popularity. Dream Wife in the Big Top were a stark contrast, completely electric. With an unreal stage presence, front woman Rakel Mjöll, dominated the stage with her vocals, moves and shapes. Introducing their song ‘Somebody’, Rakel stated this song was “dedicated to all the bad bitches”, affirming that anyone can identify as a bad bitch regardless of gender – “gender is a construct and lets tear it up together”. Other song lyrics included “just have some f**king empathy” – this seems incredibly relevant in our society at the moment. Overall, a mesmerising set, and the hardcore fans, who were front and centre, will have had their year made.
Holly Humberston started her set introducing herself and asking, “What’s up Leeds!!?”. I love how she introduced herself – I think, even-more-so at a festival, its important, but she clearly had a large fanbase (and crowd), all of whom knew who she was. Throughout her set she chatted away between songs, awkward chatter which she acknowledged, but it made her all the more genuine and down to earth. The comment “I’m just gonna play you some of my songs if that’s cool” stood out to me because it really clearly shows how she is so likeable. It also made us laugh because clearly this whole crowd would love to hear her songs. Standout songs included ‘Deep End’, ‘London Is Lonely’, ‘Sleep Tight’ and ‘Falling Asleep At The Wheel’. She had a stunning voice and I reckon everyone in Leeds was in awe of her.
Sports Team, as expected, stole the show. Alex Rice led the show, and jumping on speakers, he gave a performance that won’t be forgotten quickly. Clearly in good moods following platy jubes, he was chatting to the crowd acknowledging this was their first festival back, “enjoy this evening” and “apologies for the vocals – bank holiday weekend” with a chuckle. The 45-minute set included old sports team tracks along with their two latest singles ‘R Entertainment’, ‘The Game’ and unreleased title track form their upcoming album ‘GULP’. Alex introduced this as “we think it’s pretty sound” – I would agree, drop the album.
Over in the Dork Tent, Leeds bands L’Objectif were electric. Kicking off their set with ‘Get Close’ and ‘Same Thing’ from their recent EP We Aren’t Getting Out But Tonight We Might their music got a got great crowd response and reaction with everyone dancing along. They also treated us to a new song, which resulting in a wee mosh pit on the righthand side of the tent – clearly the crowd loved it! I really like L’Objectif’s music (as I said on my episode of Up and Coming on Sez Says) and, would highly recommend listening if you haven’t yet!
Following on was The Snuts. Starting their set with the killer song ‘Burn the Empire’ it seemed incredibly fitting to be chanting “Burn the Empire” as the country had just been celebrating a corrupt and unjust institution, along with Prime Minister Boris Johnson facing a vote of no confidence just a few days after the festival. Like Sports Team, they played songs from their previous album (W.L.) whilst we await the drop of the new album – I previously chatted to the Snuts about it here! ‘Zuckerpunch’ received a great crowd response, with phones flying into the air to record it – however this is almost what the song doesn’t want… – track review here. Jack Cochrane followed on to say “the first half is us acting like badasses” but went on to show their softer side with the track ‘Somebody Loves’ and ending their set with fan-favourite song ‘Glasgow’.
Where to start about Easy Life’s set! Insane scenes. A huge crowd and everyone was so so engaged. Not only did the band sound fab, good energy, great stage presence, but the production was also engaging with a well thought out backdrop, matching drum kit and the lighting to match each songs vibe and mood. Immediately creating a feud with The Pigeon Detectives (who were on Hill top stage) Murray Matravers joked “good on you for coming, we’re clashing with Pigeon something and their sh*t indie music”. ‘daydreams’ from album life’s a beach was a standout. During their set Murray admitted “I’m too drunk I’ve forgotten the f**king lyrics” but the crowd had his back and he redeemed himself with the chat in-between songs. An example of this being “we seem to be facing technical difficulties… the mosh pit is non-existent”. Towards the end of their set Easy Life had a collection of around 7 or 8 bras on stage, and ending with their most streamed song ‘nightmares, and the comment to “never go see pigeon detectives”, Easy Life received a massive applause and for a prolonged period of time – the biggest of the day (that I saw).
Headliners Bombay Bicycle Club had a crowd as large as they could given the stage size, however many festival goers were sat watching from the hill.
I really recommend Live at Leeds: In the Park, and hope that the ‘In the City’ version will deliver the same outcome!
You can get tickets to Live at Leeds: In the City on 15th October here!
Serena is a national shortlisted Arts and Culture writer (SPA2022) with key interests in music, women’s rights, accessibility and politic’s influence in culture.
With a passion to make social issues more accessible and digestible for the wider public, Serena’s broadcast talk show (Sez Says) on Fuse FM discusses a variety of topics from political matters, to fashion, to interviews with musicians. Check it out on instagram: @sezsays_radio; You can contact Serena on twitter @serenajemmett or instagram @serenaj69