a wet and muddy Leeds Festival still sparkles at times

Leeds Festival 2011 review

published: Wed 31st Aug 2011

Muse (2)

Friday 26th to Sunday 28th August 2011
Bramham Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS23 6ND, England MAP
£192.50 for a weekend ticket - sold out, day tickets available
daily capacity: 75000
last updated: Thu 25th Aug 2011

This year's Leeds festival line-up seemed to be slightly weaker than in previous years, and this was reflected in the fact that this year's event was not sold out.

around the festival site (1)
Arriving on site amidst a heavy downpour of rain, which never really stopped throughout the day, it was obvious we had made the wrong decision about the clothes to wear. Slipping from side to side as I made the marathon type journey from the car park to the main arena, we eventually made it in to be greeted by one huge field of mud.

Admittedly some people were enjoying the mud as they a slid in it to play mud monsters, as well as the odd prankster deliberately trying to slide into people and knock them off their feet.

This year the bars were once gain themed with a year from Leeds/Reading history and so we had the option of going to the 2010 or 1998 bar. As we approached the bar we wondered why there was no queue... at £4 per pint we quickly worked out why.

The View
It wasn't until The View took to the stage that a reasonable sized crowd had gathered, sure enough they delivered a sterling performance and have probably secured themselves a better slot for next year's festival.

Enter Shikari are always guaranteed to up the ante, and are the ideal band to warm a crowd up when they are stood freezing to death in the monsoon rain that was still never ending. Sure enough their brand of rock music lifted the spirits of the crowd and managed to make them forget about the harsh weather conditions.

Now I wasn't too sure what to expect from the Friendly Fires, the vocalist Ed Macfarlane was dressed in an Hawaiian shirt, You couldn't help but think they were taking the mick. However it must be the way the singer usually dresses. These were probably one of the best bands all weekend (not including the headliners). A very talented set of musicians who should go onto bigger and better things.

Muse (2)
Muse closed the opening night by playing 2001's Origin of Symmetry in its entirety on a stage decorated with giant pitchforks seen on the album art. Their performance was nothing short of exceptional.

Much of Saturday for me was spent at the smaller stages, one reason for this I'll be honest was to escape the rain, another was to catch a few bands I'd heard being talked about but not actually heard their music. Taking up residence at the back of the NME/Radio One Stage I caught Miles Kane first, who I expect to see much better placed on the bill next year, followed by Mona, The Naked & Famous, then finally Patrick Wolf. I caught Wolf 2 years ago when he had wild blonde hair and leopard print spandex so was mildly surprised when he appeared in a lovely green suit and short brown hair.

Back over at the main stage The Offspring were due on next, I was toying with catching someone else but had been chatting to a guy earlier who'd recently seen them and was impressed so I thought I'd go with his recommendation and wasn't disappointed.

My Chemical Romance
As much as it hurts to say this My Chemical Romance hit all of the right buttons to keep the younger members of the crowd entertained. They have certainly raised their game when it comes to live performances and are a force to be reckoned with I didn't expect to enjoy them as much as I did so left the arena happy.

Sunday brought better weather, plenty of straw to ease the mud( but nowhere near enough) and a cancellation by Jane's Addiction. Seasick Steve was true to form plucking some poor embarrassed young girl out of the crowd to serenade, but by far the biggest and liveliest crowd of the day has to be awarded to the nutty boys Madness, I would have liked to have seen them on closer to Pulp, as the afternoon for me was quite flat after that and the arena emptied for a long time, I was starting to think people might have given up and gone home.

Pulp (2)
Pulp were a pleasant way to bring the festival to a close, however I did question the logic of picking a headline act who haven't really done much recently. For a change they performed 'Disco 2000' which has been absent from their setlist for numerous years along with the likes of 'Pink Glove'. Jarvis did what he came to do and gave the fans a treat.

It has been a few years since I last saw the main arena at Leeds so empty for the entire weekend, I imagine the bad weather didn't help, but I do wonder if the big commercial festivals in the UK are just pricing themselves too high, and preventing people from coming and enjoying themselves. Fingers crossed that next year Leeds festival will be back up to its usual exceptional standards with a killer line up and once again be the talking point of the festival season for all of the right reasons.
review by: Julie Weston

photos by: Luke Seagrave

Friday 26th to Sunday 28th August 2011
Bramham Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS23 6ND, England MAP
£192.50 for a weekend ticket - sold out, day tickets available
daily capacity: 75000
last updated: Thu 25th Aug 2011


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