We're back from the Leeds Festival now. Unfortunately a lot of the bands suffered from poor sound quality, especially on the main stage where the sound was sometimes muffled or microphones weren't working so vocals were inaudible.
- Tenacious D put on a good show.
- The Plain White Ts, who were blessed with a rare moment of good sound quality.
- A singer/comedian called Stephen Lynch in the Alternative Tent. We had never heard of him but the tent had filled up with many fans who sang along with him.
- The Manic Street Preachers, who headlined the NME tent on the Sunday. Their set consisted almost entirely of Greatest Hits and old favourites, which is what you want at a festival.
This years festival was muddier than any Leeds I've been to before. I've ended up with a 'welly tan', where my legs have only tanned in a band around my knees.
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Written 27/08/08 but backdated to when it happened
The Leeds Festival site has a supermarket which sells a lot of packaged convenience food. Sunday is the last day of the festival so the shop usually has all food items as buy one get one free.
When we went to the shop on Sunday evening we noticed a slight anomaly with some prices. Cakes which used to cost £1.00 for a pack of 2 suddenly cost £1.80 per pack. Packs of 4 of cookies for £1.50 had somehow turned into packs of 2 cookies for £1.50 each. Cheeky ****ers.
We got back from the Leeds Festival last night. I'll post some photos and comments when I get time - probably back-dated to when things actually happened.
Comments and photos now uploaded.
Here is a selection of photographs from this years Leeds Festival.
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- Smashing Pumpkins playing an acoustic version of 1979
- Nine Inch Nails ending their set with a version of Hurt which borrowed from both their own and the Johnny Cash version.
- Simon Amstell and Ed Byrne at the Alternative Tent
- The weather - brilliantly sunny most days with no rain!
- The milkshake stalls in the main arena - the chocolate hobnob milkshake was great
- After we'd packed our tent away on the monday, finding a couple of abandoned unopened cases of beer nearby
- Being allowed campfires - they were banned last time I went, in 2005. It was good to sit around the fire at night, chatting with our neighbours and enjoying a beer or two
- Gogol Bordello on the main stage. Described as Gypsy Punk, they were good festival material
- The start of the Red Hot Chili Peppers act when it looked like they were going to be good
- The end of the Chilis when the singer walked off and the rest of the band jammed an instrumental for ages before leaving. There was no big finale, the concert just fizzled out, leaving people feeling disappointed with a sense of anticlimax.
- The cost of drink in the main arena - no way were we going to pay £3.20 for a tasteless pint of Carling. Thankfully the 'Wine Bar' had 500ml bottles for £6.50, which wasn't cheap but was more acceptable.
- The Enemy coming on stage to the tune of Too Much Too Young, pretending they are the new Specials, but the lead singer came across as some sort of moron knob-head who insists on using f**k as every other word.
There were also the now obligatory trouble-makers on the sunday night. Thankfully there was little violence and no actual rioting, but a lot of peoples tents got burned. We acquired a few refugees as neighbours, who managed to salvage a couple of their tents and carried them halfway across the site to safety.
If arriving at the festival was chaotic, going home was even worse. Thousands of cars were being squeezed through a couple of narrow lanes to the main road. Instead of trying to queue up, we packed all of our stuff into the car and went back into the campsites for some 'tidying up'. A lot of people don't want to bother taking unopened tins back with them. Fair enough if you went there by coach or train, it is extra weight to carry. This means that there can be some rich pickings left behind after people have gone.
We walked through the camp sites looking for tins of beer or occasionally food. Last year we managed to get around 80 cans of beer of various types. This year wasn't as good, we only managed around 50.
This afternoon was mainly spent wandering around the various tents and stages, catching bits and pieces of various acts. The first of the main acts we saw was The Charlatons. I'd been looking forward to seeing them but unfortunately the experience was let down by poor sound quality.
Tonights headline act, after the Kings of Leon, was the Foo Fighters. Thankfully the sound quality problems had been sorted out and everything sounded loud and clear. They put on a very good show, which included an impressive laser show part way through.
Tonight was marred by some stupid acts of violence and vandalism. Some of the poles which supported the lights got torn down and burned. The can bar was broken into and looted, and the Cider Tent was burned to the ground.
One of the things the festival organisers do in an attempt to keep the litter to a minimum is to allow people to exchange bags of rubbish for beer vouchers. This morning, we collected one of the giant red bin bags they use, filled it with rubbish, and exchanged it for a voucher.
We went to the arena to watch the Drop Kick Murphys. We saw them last year as well and I'm sure the field in front of the main stage was a lot emptier then. The whole festival site seemed much busier this time around. Next on was Graham Coxon. Unfortunately the sound quality was terrible. After him, we went to the Comedy Tent to catch some of Marcus Brigstock (a regular on TV programmes such as Have I got news for you). On the way, we caught some of We Are Scientists (who were quite good). Anyway, after Marcus we stayed in the comedy tent for the Lemon Jelly Satanic Bingo. Like normal bingo but with the numbers being called by an animated demon!
Tonights main acts were The Killers, and The Pixies. Both were very good. The Pixies were quite a brave choice for a headline act. Despite being very influential, their music was almost certainly less well known than some of the other bands. Despite that, they seemed to go down well with the crowd.
In the arena, the Nokia Tent was giving away free prints from phones. All you needed to do was have a bluetooth enabled phone and send a photo to one of the printers in their tent. We went along and got a few photos of our hamsters printed.
The first band we saw was NOFX. I don't know many of their songs but Emma has been a fan of theirs for many years. They seemed quite good live but the highlight had to be the middle aged bloke in front of us, who kept dancing. He had a mowhawk haircut but a bald patch in the middle ruined the effect but added to the comedy. It was while watching NOFX that we met up with Alan and Gill (friends of mine from Aberystwyth).
We stayed to watch Iggy Pop, then went back to our tent for some food before returning to the arena for Marylin Manson, who was surprisingly good. Next, there were two headline acts on at the same time: Iron Maiden on the main stage and Echo and the Bunnymen on the Carling Stage. With hindsight, it was a fairly obvious decision. I had to watch Iron Maiden. I'd been a fan for many years and seemed more likely to put on an extravagant show.
They did not disappoint. All the songs were from their first 4 albums. I'd forgotten quite how many good songs they had recorded so early in their career. Too numerous to list them all but there were the 'obvious' ones such as Number of the Beast (complete with beast with flashing red eyes rising up from the stage) and The Phantom of the Opera (I'd forgotten how good the guitar intro was to that song). Part way through the act, someone came through the crowd and released a load of inflatable 'Aftershock' goodies - huge beach balls and inflatable sheep! Emma managed to grab one of the sheep and kept it safe til we got back to our tent.
We ended the evening with a pint of the hot spiced cider from the Cider Tent. This is like a mulled cider drink and is really tasty.
It wasn't a great start: on arrrival at the festival site, we were waved into the first entrance we got to. It turned out to be the 'drop-off only' gate rather than the car park. I, along with many other people, had to navigate through a maze of unsignposted tracks to the correct car park.
We arrived much earlier this year, so managed to get a better spot for the tent, closer to the arena. After exchanging our tickets for the wristbands which are needed to get into the arena itself, we had a wander around the 'shopping village' area. We bought ourselves a couple of cheap folding chairs (2 for £10) to replace the ones we bought last year. We were going to bring the old ones with us but we left them outside in the rain at home. They weren't ruined but were too wet to bring with us.
As we got back to the tent, there was a loud and impressive thunderclap and it started to rain. We retreated into the tent and the rain got louder. It wasn't until we left the tent that we found out it was actually hailstones.
The festival proper doesn't start until tomorrow night. After our tea (of bbq'd chicken) we checked out the shops in the arena. They were mostly clothes and there was nothing which really caught our eyes. We went back to our tent for a few glasses of wine.