Have you ever wanted to volunteer at Leeds but were not sure what the festival itself was like? Read this first-hand account by Nat Baker about her experience as a ticket holder and how she loved it so much she decided to apply to be a festival shop intern for this summer!
Leeds festival is one of my favourite festivals to go to, maybe it’s because I’m biased due to living in Leeds and being partial to a classic ‘Yorkshire’ chant, or maybe it’s due to the wide variety of genres, from metalcore and pop punk to dance and drum and bass, the infamous Piccadilly Party or the relentless, Relentless stage to see you through to the early hours. Either way, this year (2017) was my sixth year at Leeds Fest, so they must be doing something right.
I usually brave arriving at Leeds Fest on the Wednesday, facing a five-night run in my trusty four-man tent (they say four-man, but it’s just about adequate enough to stuff in two people and their supplies). This year, however, I attended the Heavy Music Awards in London on the Thursday night, sadly missing the unique choice of acts and bands on show Thursday night, this year including The Pigeon Detectives on the Festival Republic stage and Mista Jam on the Relentless stage. Luckily I (just about) managed to catch the night coach from London to up North. Finally, hours later, I turned up slightly worse for wear at the entrance to Leeds Fest where I was excited to see what the day had in store for me. At least arriving two days later meant less time to wait for bands.
So I made it to Leeds Fest early Friday afternoon just in time to see Architects, the kings of metalcore (not those who design buildings). I’ve seen Architects about five times before and they never fail to blow my mind. That day was no different. Complete with flames, Architects ripped apart the main stage with a heavy, exhilarating performance. I wish I’d seen the face of an
unsuspecting Giggs fan waiting for his set after. We caught a bit of Giggs and then swayed along to some Oasis bangers from afar whilst Liam Gallagher played, I’d already seen Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds perform at Kendal Calling 2016 so had already had the pleasure of watching Wonderwall played live.
When it came to Friday evening there was, of course, a clash of headliners, the dreaded music festival dilemma. It was between MUSE on the main stage and Neck Deep on the Pit stage, both bands I’ve seen before. We decided to catch the start of MUSE’s set so I still got to see some of my favourite songs played such as ‘Plug In Baby’ amongst many other MUSE classics before
heading off to watch Neck Deep. It was a packed out crowd and a great atmosphere whilst Neck Deep played songs from their new album ‘The Peace and The Panic’. To top it off Sam Carter (vocalist of Architects!) came out and performed during Neck Deeps ‘Don’t Wait’ which he features in and that was a great way to finish off our Friday evening before we awaited the opening of the silent disco.
By Saturday morning your tent has usually sunk into the ground beneath you, your once immaculate clothes now smothered in a thick coating of mud and you’ve had to engage in a quest for new wellies as you’ve lost them in a mosh pit somewhere. This year, however, we were blessed with beautiful sun all weekend, and on Saturday enjoyed some sunny main stage sets from Rat Boy, Mallory Knox and Jimmy Eat World. For some reason, just before Two Door Cinema Clubs set, Joe Thomas (Simon from The Inbetweeners!) was brought out on stage which was, random, but amusing nonetheless. As the sun went down, we ventured back over to the Pit Stage for the penultimate act of the day, The Amity Affliction, who were a pleasure to see live despite playing a smaller set. I always find myself feeling old at gigs nowadays, usually nursing a drink at the back, but when The Amity Affliction started playing ‘Don’t Lean On Me’ I couldn’t help but crowd surf (I feel sorry for any poor soul who had to hold me up whilst I clambered over the crowd).
Saturday headliners were again a difficult choice: Kasabian, You Me At Six, Fat Boy Slim and Billy Talent. In the end, it had to be punk rock legends Billy Talent. They annihilated the Pit Stage in a gleam of red, with anthems such as ‘Red Flag’ and ‘Fallen Leaves’. After a short, well-deserved rest back at camp it was time to again to brave the walk to the silent disco followed by the inevitable venture to Piccadilly Party.
Ah, the dreaded Sunday morning of a festival. Not only am I always gutted that another festival I’ve waited all year for has come to an end (especially since Leeds fest is usually the last in the season for me), I’m also at this point rather groggy to say the least. This morning in particular was not a good one for me, I’d stayed up till 6am watching the McGregor vs Mayweather fight, they’d shown it on the big screen at the alternative stage so there was a great atmosphere and it was a nice added touch (not that I know anything about boxing).
I couldn’t think of a better band to brighten up the Sunday festival blues than the mighty Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. A band this dynamic always manage to construct the most gargantuan circle pits and this time was no different, with the circle pit running all the way outside the NME stage and back in again around the other side. After this took place, Frank initiated a female only crowd surf, and I was up and away again! The bands hit ‘I Hate You’ from the album ‘Blossom’ is always great to hear live, mainly because you’ve got thousands of people in a tent screaming
“I HATE YOU!” at the same time. Also completing my Sunday was Defeater on the Pit Stage, who although only pulled a small crowd, still made a big impression, as well as the tremendous PVRIS on the main stage.
Finally, as Sunday night drew to a close and people started heading back to their tents to pack up and leave, I headed over to the Pit stage one last time (I think I spent more time under the Pit Stage tent than my own tent by the sounds of it). Thankfully for me, the last band I was seeing at Leeds Fest 2017 was my favourite band, While She Sleeps. Reigning from my hometown of Sheffield, they’re the best of the best (I’m not biased at all…). I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen them live over the past seven years so to see them headlining The Pit stage was a real treat, especially with their performance of ‘Seven Hills’, which is named after Sheffield, of course. Their gig really went off with a bang (literally, there were confetti cannons) and it was the perfect conclusion to the weekend.
Leeds festival 2017 was jam-packed full of brilliant heavy bands, early morning excursions to Piccadilly Party and surprisingly the lack of torrential rain. Now we’ve crossed over into 2018, I’m eagerly awaiting the next line up announcements for the festival, and can only hope the line up is as good, if not better than 2017. I can’t wait to make my return to Bramham Park in August 2018 for my seventh appearance at Leeds Festival and this time, I get to go with the Oxfam Festival shop.
It’s now coming to almost a year since I started my social media internship with the Oxfam Festival Shop. I’ve accompanied the festival shop at Nass, Kendal Calling and I recently returned home from Boomtown. It’s been wonderful to see the shop and all the funky garms in action raising loads of money for charity after sorting through them, choosing the perfect clothes for each individual festival and taking photos of them to post on social media for so long! I’ve been doing some filming to try and capture the essence of each festival, and despite having a few mishaps (crowdsurfing during Limp Bizkit at Boomtown, but forgetting to press play!) I’ve managed to capture a lot of great footage that I can’t wait to share with everyone. Leeds will again be my last festival of the summer and although I’m sad that festival season is again coming to an end, I look forward to so many more fantastic festivals with Oxfam in the future. Bring on summer 2019!