The Reading and Leeds Festivals have been two of the biggest, most well-attended music gatherings in the UK since the 1970s. The two festivals share the same line-up over three days each summer, with acts switching between the two venues – this way, no matter which festival music-lovers attend, north or south, they’ll see the same artists. The Leeds branch of the festival takes place in the grounds of Bramham Park, a historic house near Wetherby. 2016 promises to be a show-stopping three day event with the likes of Biffy Clyro, Fall Out Boy, Good Charlotte and Red Hot Chili Peppers gracing the stages between 26th – 28th August.
Discover Something Different: Newcomers on the Music Scene
If you’re thinking of attending “Leeds Fest” this year, don’t just head to the Main Stage to see the big name artists. This festival is a celebration of all kinds of music and the chance to hear newly-discovered, up-and-coming artists who your friends at home probably won’t have heard of yet. You’ll earn more brownie points from them if you make sure you’ve got plenty of new recommendations to give them once you leave by exploring the road less travelled while you’re at the festival.
Go along to the smaller stages – like the Radio 1 Dance Stage, Festival Republic Stage or The Pit – and see some of the indie bands and newly-signed solo artists currently hitting the music scene. Download or stream a few of the musicians you haven’t heard of before you arrive – that way you’ll already know some of their songs before you show up and won’t waste time watching artists that definitely aren’t your cup of tea. Grab a programme or print out a line-up list beforehand to make sure you navigate the festival efficiently and this way, you won’t miss your new findings. Remember, you’ve only got three days and you don’t want to waste them wandering aimlessly from stage to stage.
Some of the newcomers you might want to watch out for at the festival this year are Black Foxxes, Rat Boy, Rag’n’Bone Man and Tibet. Often discovered through being given air-time by radio stations, these low-key artists are at the beginning of their careers and will really appreciate new fans attending their gigs. The smaller, more intimate venues also mean the atmosphere can be electric and you can really get to know the performer. With no musical genres left untouched, visitors can find rap, rock, blues, indie, pop and hip-hop influences all over Leeds Festival – all you have to do is a bit of research first.
2016 Big Names: Hits from the Masters of Rock
Some of the biggest names in rock will be headlining at Leeds this year – while you’re checking out the ‘next big things’ on the smaller stages, make sure you leave a spot free for the world-famous acts taking the Main Stage or NME / BBC Radio 1 Stage. Usually, these bands perform as dark falls – the other acts have spent all day warming up their audiences and by 10pm, the crowds are ready for something mind-blowing.
Scottish hit-makers, Biffy Clyro, are one such band. Their style is hard to pin down but as the Leeds Festival website puts it, ‘…their own unique sound, a mind boggling mix of off-kilter tempos, itchy, unpredictable guitars, soulful choruses and feral screams, sewn together into a strange tapestry of sound that sat resolutely apart anything else being made at the time.’ They’re a band sure to have the crowds singing along when they perform hits like ‘Many of Horror’, ‘God and Satan’ and ‘Black Chandelier’ – grab someone special and sway along to their poetic lyrics.
Not to be missed – by attendees old and young – are rock giants, Red Hot Chili Peppers. The first headliners announced for the festival, these guys know how to deliver a thrilling set to thousands of spectators. Formed over 30 years ago, the group make their music using elements of ska, funk and speed metal. Leading man, Anthony Kiedis, still has the incredible vocals of his 20-year-old self and bassist, Flea, is as charismatic as ever… and still as likely to display his densely-tattooed torso during the performance.
A Musical Microcosm: Other “Leeds Fest” Attractions
For three days, this field in the middle of the Yorkshire countryside becomes home for festival-goers. This is the place visitors eat, drink, sleep and (mostly) wash. There are plenty of mod-cons to help you feel as comfortable as possible during your stay. Guests will find several food stalls and bars spread throughout the arena – personal food and drink is also allowed to be taken in with guests to the campsite but not into the area itself. There are also water points available throughout the site that are free to use – sometimes the weather can get very hot at Leeds, so guests are encouraged to stay hydrated.
Cash points are also available throughout, though many venders operate a card payment system too. Phone charger sites, supplying power to all model types, are available if you just can’t live without power for three days and are reasonably priced. There is a pop-up bathroom area with toilets, showers, sinks and mirrors – those who are camping use this area to freshen up. Living ‘green’ is encouraged throughout the site and there are plenty of recycling units available to dispose of waste. But for those after a more deluxe experience of Leeds Festival, ‘glamping’ options are available such as podpads, campervans, caravans and luxury camping.
As well as food stalls, there are clothing and trinket tents in ‘The Village’ area. Buy merchandise and souvenirs of your favourite bands here or the compulsory flower garland for your hair. Stores selling essentials you’re likely to have forgotten such as toiletries can also be found here too. You’ll find comedians, magicians, street performers, dancers and acrobats around the park too – this festival is a hive of entertainment and not just about the fantastic music. Above all, make sure you have an amazing time, no matter how you choose to spend your three days – this is sure to be the highlight of any festival-goer’s summer!