Living in Leeds, I sometimes lament the lack of an arena venue to draw the very biggest names in music, meaning a journey to Manchester or Sheffield for the most extravagant shows. It’s only in the past three years that we’ve even had an O2 Academy, relying solely on the universities and the strong reputation of smaller, independent venues.
Over the last six years, though, Live at Leeds has evolved into a whole weekend of music and arts, making use of the city’s vast offerings of intimate venues and drawing increasingly famous names. Beginning in 2007 as a one day event filled with underground bands, the festival now spans the May bank holiday weekend, showcasing household names and up-and-coming talent. From 4th to 7th May, Leeds will play host to over 100 music acts, headlined by Marina and the Diamonds; seminars and workshops on the music industry; and, for those still standing, some 5-a-side football on the Monday.
The bulk of the music takes place on the Saturday and we’ve worked out that if you’re focused you can get to about ten bands over the course of the day (though be prepared for a LOT of walking). Realistically I think I’ll make it to five or six – that’s about £4 an act for a £20 wristband – more bargainous than a gig or a camping festival! Our top picks for the Saturday are:
Serious Sam Barrett – A local folk singer, one man and his guitar
Dead Sons – A Sheffield band who have been described as “A big fat stomp through psychedelia and desert rock”
Ghostpoet – Nominated for the 2011 Mercury Prize, experimental electronic hip hop
Ellen and the Escapades – Leeds own, a folky quintet with catchy tunes
I Like Trains – First chance to see songs performed from their new album “The Shadows”
So get yourself a wristband, get down to Leeds and have a dance to some great bands, as well as free entry to the hangover event at the Brudenell on Sunday and Monday. Let us know who you can’t wait to see!
Live at Leeds tickets are available online or at regular ticket vendors around Leeds.