It’s only after having had an incredible weekend that I find myself counting backwards, rather than forwards, to an event.
It’s only after having had an incredible weekend that I find myself counting backwards, rather than forwards, to an event. Over the past few days I’ve asked myself “what was I doing this time last weekend?” more times than I care to remember. The answer is probably eating a dodgy burger, avoiding unidentified teenagers in Morphsuits and joining in on a “you wot! You wot!” chant as it echoes around the campsite.
We arrived at the Bramham Park site on Thursday evening; the famous Leeds Fest Ferris wheel was already in motion as we pulled into the car park, the Relentless DJs had already got the party started. I reckon it’s only on the eve of a Festival that knowing that you’re going to endure minimal sleep, a severe 3-day hangover and a diet that would make the BMI scale weep actually becomes an intensely exciting prospect!
Our Friday line-up pretty much kicked off with SBTRKT in the NME tent. The DJ and his singer Sampha both wore masks, only half-covering their faces, as they alternated between banging on the drum kit/keyboard/laptop set-up. The duo performed their eponymous album; unfortunately there was no guest appearance from Little Dragon (or Drake!) but the crowd lapped up the ‘Wildfire’ remix nonetheless.
En route to seeing The Black Keys on the main stage we passed a plethora of the usual festival stalls but also some rather different ones… who knew that you could actually market oxygen?! A pint of crisp cider was only £4 and much needed!
My Friday highlight was, by far, seeing French electronic duo Justice headline the NME tent! Opening with ‘Genesis’ and finishing with an extended remix of ‘Audio, Video, Disco’ the set was not only audibly delicious but also a visual treat; from being bathed in the glow of the Justice Cross one minute to being drowned in strobe lights, I soon forgot how irritating is it to be trampled on by sweaty teens.
We started our Saturday off at the main stage, catching Angels and Airwaves followed by Crystal Castles. I don’t really know either band – but I guess the beauty of festivals is getting to see acts you wouldn’t bother paying to see at a smaller venues. Once the purple-haired lead singer of Crystal Castles had thrown herself into the crowd’s adoring hands for the umpteenth time we decided to retreat to the NME tent.
Passion Pit had the crowd pumping before we even arrived; they were just such fun to watch as they bounced around the stage. The lead singer was cute too, always a bonus! As the skies opened we made our way back to the campsite for a traditional Saturday-Night-Leeds-Fest-BBQ. Rain, smoke blowing into your tent, flipping burgers with a fork that you’re desperate not to melt… It’s kinda what I miss the most!
Our night concluded with an absolutely incredible headline set from The Maccabees. Their set spanned the years and I was equally delighted to hear tracks from their 2007 album ‘Colour it in’ as I was from their latest album ‘Given to the Wild’. Orlando managed to give even the most soulful tracks a dancey edge, which resulted in a fantastic buzz amongst the crowd. It goes without saying that they were certainly worthy of their headline spot.
It’s mad to think that the final day of the festival was only a week ago. It feels like a lifetime ago already and I’m desperately wishing I was back in the muddy fields of Leeds with incredible music, fine food (cereal bars & crisps) and unforgettable company.
The first band of the day for us was OFWGKTA, although the full gang failed to grace the stage with their presence, Hodgy Beats and Tyler the Creator did a fantastic job of holding their own. We then rushed off to catch Santigold – almost as much to hear her music as to see fabulous outfit she’d be wearing. A festival first for me, we saw her invite some of the crowd onto the stage; I’m sure there’ll have been a few Facebook statuses boasting about it afterwards. Hell, I’d have done the same.
We started the evening seeing the likes of Azelia Banks – who took much pleasure in hearing a full tent screaming her filthy lyrics at her – before waiting for Florence and the Machine to perform on the main stage. Florence looked beautiful as she leapt bare-foot across the stage, complimenting the crowd on how “acrobatic” we all were and asking us to embrace one another. Her bohemian act brought a bit of Woodstock to Leeds Festival, that’s for sure. The (albeit weak) rumours that Bloc Party were playing between Florence and Kasabian failed to come to fruition much to my disappointment. That said however, Kasabian began the end of the festival with swagger and style, proving that they were cool enough to roll with the other big boys, The Foo Fighters and The Cure.
We ended the night with Metronomy; the quirky foursome drew in a respectable crowd for their “last UK gig this year” and played Metronomy faves old and new. No flashing necklaces were worn by the band this year but the drummer did look stunning in her sequin jumpsuit!
We may not have had Green Day, we may not have had another Poo Girl saga, but the weekend was unforgettable for all the right reasons! It’s amazing how, when sat comfortably on the sofa with a mug of tea, you can miss being surrounded by throngs of dirty drunkards, slipping about in mud and living out of a rucksack. It’s official; I have the Leeds Fest blues… all I can say is, roll on 2013!