The Gods were clearly smiling down on this year’s Leeds festival as the problem for once wasn’t trying to dry out and avoid mud slides.
This year the updates throughout the weekend were to keep hydrated, as Leeds and the rest of the country basked in record high temperatures.
The annual post GCSE blowout saw record attendances throughout the festival and all seven stages were rammed to capacity all day, every day. Many trying to get some shade from the blistering heat no doubt!
The beauty of Leeds festival is that it doesn’t specialise in any one musical genre, so even the pickiest of attendees would find something to enjoy. You could even spend your time watching comedians at the alternative stage if wish.
Friday night headliners were The Foo Fighters who delivered an epic two-and-a-half-hour set, which was basically their greatest hits show, and the crowds absolutely loved every minute of it. Highlights included the duet with his daughter Violet, on ‘My Hero’ and whilst hammering out ‘Learning to Fly’ bizarrely the crowd spent much of the time watching a man on a gyrocopter fly over the crowd.
As seems to be the norm these days, Dave Grohl then got a Freddie Mercury lookalike out of the audience to join them in a rocky version of ‘Under Pressure’. The band aren’t afraid to embrace that traditional rock death section otherwise known as a drum solo and Taylor Hawkins just about got away with a 10 minute thrash of the kit which had risen majestically up into the air, (pure Spinal Tap really).
The thing you need to bear in mind about this, and indeed all festivals is that you ain’t going to see all the bands, unless you plan your weekend with military precision, and so during the Foo Fighters we went over to the dance tent to catch Denis Sulta deliver a set which included clever mixing of a lot of old school dance tunes from the 70’s and 80’s.
Then it was back to catch the end The Foo Fighters and a spectacular firework display to cap it all off.
Saturday saw more scorching weather with main stage headliners The 1975 delivering a politically charged set with climate change and Dubai’s dubious stance on gays being addressed front and centre.
Sadly, it would be remiss of me not to say that Saturday was somewhat overshadowed by the death of a 17-year-old, who at the time of writing this review appeared to have taken a lethal combination of drugs. This is despite repeated warnings by the festival that low life’s were selling drugs that were apparently 2 to 3 times the normal strength.
Sunday saw more Saharan weather and there’s no getting away from the fact that the highlight of the day for many, was the set from Billie Eilish.
Organisers wisely moved her planned set from the Radio 1 stage across to the main stage, and observers noted that there seemed to be more people there than for any other band throughout the whole weekend.
Still only 17 years old, there’s little doubt that she will he headlining this stage, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her do this next year! For many people, the 40-minute set was the highpoint of the weekend and the sheer number of people in front of the stage seemed to confirm this.
Sunday night was topped off by the return of Post Malone who continues to go from strength to strength. The owner of a genuinely good voice his trap/rap style proved to be a great way to end the weekend and his current offering ‘Goodbyes’is still for me one of the best singles of the year so far.
Hot weather and huge crowds ever ensured that this year’s festival was once again a huge success and the eclectic nature of the bands throughout the weekend ensured that there was always something for everyone.
Tickets for 2020 are on sale right now, and there’s no doubt there won’t be a problem shifting them!