Leeds Festival 2017. What a weekend. My fourth year at Leeds festival and it was just as fun as the previous years. I managed to see so many bands and had such a good time, from getting drunk with new friends, to see my favourite bands again, the fun never stopped.
This year, I had early entry, so me and my friends managed to get a really good camping spot in red camping right near the arena so it was only a short walk to see artists over the weekend. This time around, it was better than last year when I was in purple and had to scale the dreaded orange hill. Luckily though, the weather was really good this year, with only a couple of gentle showers, but not enough for any mud to form! Overall, the camping experience was so much better this year compared to last year.. better location, less mud and more entertainment! On the first night, we had our tents pitched and it was fairly chilled, we sat around the camp fire and had a relatively early night as this would’ve been the only night where we would’ve been able to get proper sleep over the weekend. The second night was a lot different though, we made new friends with the people camped around us and we had a few drinks before heading out to the parties. Firstly, we went to the silent arena, where we all were given some headphones, two channels of different music and a silent arena! Self explanatory really, it’s really an experience when you take your headphones off and hear a tent full of people singing lyrics to two different songs at the same time! After spending some time there, we went to the Piccadilly Party for a while before we headed back up to the campsite for some sleep before the music commenced the following morning!
So the first day of music was upon us, the day which everyone was looking forward to. We all woke up slightly hung-over, but we managed to drive out into town for some breakfast. When we got back, we had a couple of drinks and then headed down to the arena in excitement. The first two bands I saw were Vant and Against The Current, two bands who I have seen before and been impressed by, but when I last saw them, they were supporting You Me At Six and All Time Low respectively, so it was different to see them on the Main Stage at Leeds Festival. Following these two sets, Architects took to the stage and I was simply blown away. Their set had fire, CO2 cannons and energy. The Brighton metal core quintet gave quite literally an explosive performance and really got the crowd going. Architects were a band I had been looking forward to see for a while and they really blew me away.
Following Architects, I bumped into Dani from Neck Deep at the noodle stand. I honestly never thought I would meet the drummer from one of my favourite bands in the middle of a festival site buying noodles! Following this encounter, we went back to the campsite for a few drinks before we headed back to the arena to see Stockport indie pop group, Blossoms. I found it pretty mad seeing a group of guys from my home town on the Main Stage at Leeds festival, and more mad considering I saw in class with their guitarist not long ago. Following their set, I nipped up to the Lock Up Stage to see The Prettyboys aka Don Broco. To this day, they are still one of the most fun bands I’ve ever seen. They opened with one of their recent singles, Pretty, and got the crowd bouncing and mashing instantly. Following their lively set, I went back to the Main Stage to catch former Oasis frontman, Liam Gallagher. This was truly an iconic moment, as Oasis were a band I listened to growing up and seeing the frontman of such an iconic band in my childhood really was a moment. He opened with two Oasis classics, Rock ‘n’ Roll Star and Morning Glory, and the crowd were buzzing. It was also nice to see his solo work too, but it was the Oasis songs which he sang which really got the crowd going. He ended his set with the classic Wonderwall, and hearing thousands of voices sing all the words back at him was truly moving.
For me, my Friday night was ending with one of my favourite bands, Neck Deep. It was a tough decision to see them, as they clashed with Muse, but Neck Deep never fail to impress me and there were rumours of a special guest during their set so I took the decision to see them over Muse and boy did I have fun. They played my favourite song (In Bloom) from their new album, The Peace and The Panic, for the first time and they had me screaming back every lyric and bouncing up and down all set. But, the surprise guest really had me excited.. it was Sam Carter from Architects! He came out to perform his part in Don’t Wait, and my word what a performance. He had exactly the same energy and power he had put into Architects’ set earlier in the day, so seeing him perform twice in a day was so fun. Also, hearing A Part of Me being sung so loudly was a beautiful moment. I may have left the Lock Up Stage feeling sweaty and disgusting, but it was so worth it. What an amazing end to an action packed first day of Leeds Festival.
Day two of music and I was full of excitement for the day, as I knew the day would be ending with my favourite band, You Me At Six. We woke up without hangovers this time and took our usual drive into town for breakfast. We got back and went straight to the Main Stage to see Mallory Knox and Ratboy. It was my first time seeing Mallory Knox and second time seeing Ratboy, but both bands put on a good show for the start of the second day. Following these sets, I headed to The Pit (re-named Lock Up Stage) to see WSTR, a band which I was excited to see, as mentioned in my previous blog. They were really fun and had me bouncing and screaming lyrics back, just like I was at Neck Deep at the same stage the previous night. The crowd was fairly similar to the crowd at Neck Deep, as I bumped into some of the people who I had made friends with at Neck Deep’s set. After WSTR’s energetic set, we went back to the campsite and met up with the people we had made friends with in the campsite, and made a few more new friends and had a few drinks together before we all headed down to see Two Door Cinema Club together. When their set ended, we separated off to see different bands. Part of the group stayed for Bastille, but me and a friend went back to the Lock Up Stage to catch the end of Boston Manor’s set, before getting some food and heading to the NME/Radio 1 stage to get a good spot for You Me At Six. Unfortunately, we had to endure Tory Lanez, who is a hip-hop artist who mimed a lot of his set. However, he had good crowd interaction and got a lot of people singing and dancing.
But then the time had come, it was time for You Me At Six. At the start of 2017, I went to see them perform a secret set in a 300 capacity venue (see review here) and now I was going to see them headline the NME/Radio 1 Stage at Leeds Festival. They even said it themselves, they used to go to Reading Festival together when they were younger, but they never thought that they would be headlining the second biggest stage at the festival. Upon the end of their set, I knew it was going to be the best set I was going to see all weekend. Everything was amazing, from the pyrotechnics, Josh smiling at the crowd singing lyrics back to him, and being recognised by them all again. I even got to sing part of Save It For The Bedroom with Josh. I probably embarrassed myself too, since head security secretly slipped a set list into myself, probably because he saw how mad I was going for YMAS. I honestly always have the most amazing time seeing them, and they always get better each time I see them. But the moments which filled me with the most happiness was when they all saw me and smiled. Being recognised by the people who make me happier than anyone else really means the world to me, and Max doing our little gang sign at me made me so happy. But that’s enough of me talking about YMAS, as some of you may already have had enough seeing me tweet about them all the time on twitter!
Sunday had approached us, the final day of Leeds Festival 2017. Waking up feeling a bit down knowing that the fun was coming to end, but we weren’t going to let that stop us from making the very most out of the final day. I started the day by seeing one of my favourite emo bands, Moose Blood. I’ve been wanting to see them for a while, since I have been listening to them for a while. Following them was The Pretty Reckless and PVRIS, two female lead bands and this was good to see. The crowds for all these three bands was pretty dull, as only small handfuls were jumping about and/or singing back. But this didn’t stop me from enjoying the sets.
But the set I had been looking forward to seeing the most was One Ok Rock. I have been waiting for a long long time to see them, as they rarely come to the UK. I said in my last blog post that they are one of the most exciting bands and they certainly didn’t disappoint. The only disappointing thing about their set was how little time they were given and how small the crowd was, but that didn’t stop them from making the most out of their opportunity to perform at a UK festival. Although their short set heavily consisted of songs from latest album, Ambitions, the Japanese quartet put on their typical energy-filled performance. The small but vocal crowd enjoyed every second of this rare moment to see their heroes in the UK. To me, it was really special to finally get to see them. Even though they didn’t get the time to perform my favourite songs, I savoured and appreciated the opportunity to see them by singing and moving to every song. Following their set, a UK tour was announced but I really hope that one day, they will be invited back to the festival, hopefully to perform on a bigger stage with a longer set.
Once One Ok Rock had left the stage, there was only around 90 minutes left of music for the weekend. I headed to the Main Stage to see Eminem, an experience which was on my bucket list. But because the crowd was so full and because I was so far back, I didn’t enjoy the set as much as I thought I would, but still, seeing one of the greatest musicians of all time still a special experience. However, I left Eminem’s set a little early so I could catch the end of While She Sleeps’ set, which was a complete different experience as I could get into the crowd and pits. It was a break-taking set from one of UK’s best metal core bands, along with Architects. Both of these bands put on such amazing sets at the festival, and I even had friends who don’t like metal core music say that these sets were so good to watch. This just shows that sometimes, even if you’re not a fan of the music, seeing something new and different can still bring a positive experience. While She Sleeps ended their set with Hurricanes, after a brief cover of Linkin Park’s One Step Closer.
But the time had come, Leeds Festival 2017 had come to an end, another weekend of happiness, entertainment and memories was over. I can now only savour the memories, and look forward to next year. This festival was quite a special one for me. Seeing my three favourite bands in You Me At Six, One Ok Rock and Neck Deep would be the obvious highlights of the weekend, but making new friends, trying new foods, constantly hearing “ALAN! STEVE!” and seeing new bands adds to the whole festival experience. Obviously you will get some less so good memories from a festival, such as the horrendous campsite toilets or having two of your favourite bands clash with each other, but stuff like that will always be overshadowed by all of the good memories of the weekend.
Until next year, Leeds.