Leeds Festival 2014 - Sunday 24th August
Let's get it straight about Leeds Festival, it always rains every year and drenches the entire site thus turning Bramham Park into a mud bath for at least the first two days. As someone who has been to the festival for four summers in a row for the full five days, I can remember it being sunny for about 3 days during that time. Does that detract from the atmosphere in anyway? Does it hell.
Having made a decision this year to only go for the Sunday, I arrived at Yellow Bubble to the familiar stench of burnt BBQ food and the ever so lovely smell of the outside toilets. I’d forgotten just how much I missed camping at festivals having been to several over the past two years (since I’d last been at Leeds) where I’d stayed in a hotel. Festivals without camping definitely takes something away from the experience.
The line up for the Sunday was as eclectic as usual; from the likes of the Pit Stage to the 1 Xtra Stage there was certainly no shortage of variety. The house hold names included The Hives, whose set was a certain highlight of the afternoon (pictured below), Jake Bugg, Bombay Bicycle Club and a certain band hailing from Sheffield, Arctic Monkeys.
Glaswegian electro pop trio Chvrches were someone I’d wanted to see in the flesh for a while. Their radio friendly synthesized sounds obviously a hit with station bosses all over the country who seem to promote every new release and rightly so. A tight sound coupled with lead singer Lauren Mayberry’s haunting vocals over the top was a big winner on the NME stage.
Bombay Bicycle club are no strangers to Bramham Park, they have appeared here five times now and slot in comfortably whether on the main stage or causing a ruckus in the NME tent. The band almost reinvent themselves for every album that they release and the talented North London contingent have amassed enough material through their award winning albums to give a mass of variety to their performances, as displayed here.
Jake Bugg had been given a slot that will have pleased the indie continent at Leeds. Being penciled in right below arguably the biggest band in the UK is some honour for someone so young. For what he lacks in crowd interaction, he makes up for in pure sing along debut anthems, a particularly loud reaction was saved for Seen It All and a faster rendition of Kingpin.
Appearing on stage with the White rose of Yorkshire on the lapels of his suit, he screamed ‘Yorkshire!’ to which the crowd seemed to enjoy, following on with We’ll Have A Right Laugh With You in that slight American/Sheffield accent that sounds so strange in the flesh. Turner clearly has an appreciation for his hometown, over the top of Old Yellow Bricks singing: ‘Oh Sheffield, is wonderful, oh Sheffield is wonderful’ which was met with a mixed reaction from the football loving side of the audience.
The left side of the crowd were brought to their knees during Arabella as at least 3000 people crashed to the ground like dominoes and then struggled to get back up again following a little bit 'too much' dancing. A few of the not so hardcore festivalgoers clearly weren’t impressed and sought refuge in the more calm surroundings of the back.
The set included a number of fan favourites from debut release Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not including When The Sun Goes Down, I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor and a rather subdued version of Mardy Bum. This set was the climax of nearly 12 months of constant touring of new album, AM and the enjoyment all four band members were getting was clear on their faces. Matt Helders' especially.
Having spoken to people who had been there for the whole weekend, there was no doubt the Arctic Monkeys were the highlight of their five days and it was difficult to imagine they were wrong.
I’ll always have a soft spot for Leeds, it was the first festival I went to when I was 17 and in my opinion it will always have relevance in the calendar. The feeling you get from talking to both fans and artists who’ve been to both suggests Bramham Park has something extra. It might be a North/South thing and I’m sure everyone at Reading would have a differing view, but credit to Festival Republic because every year the punters come back.
Words by Joe Lanigan Smith
Images courtesy of Reading and Leeds Festival