Leeds Festival 2016.
Leeds Festival is personally my favourite festival of the year. Having one of the greatest lineups covering every single aspect of music, Reading & Leeds always delivers and still holds the title in my books as the best live music event. This year we had headliners and co. headliners, Fall Out Boy with Biffy Clyro, Foals with Disclosure, with the final day being an American rock classic, Red Hot Chili Peppers.
After the down pour of rain which occurred on the Thursday it meant that the arena could almost have been mistaken for Download Festival. Rivers upon lakes of mud and dirt meant that unless you had wellies then it was likely that your feet would not last the weekend. Still, the weather did very little to less then mood of the people as a majority if them, despite the lack of sunshine still paraded in shorts, vests and occasionally the odd pair of flip flops.
To start the day main stage opened with the American Pop Punk band, State Champs who came all the way from Albany, New York to play for their first time at Reading and Leeds. With their most recent album ‘Around The World and Back’ being released in 2015, and their huge growing fanbase, meant that their set drew a relatively large crowd for an opening act. Playing some of their top hits such as ‘Secrets’ and ‘All you are is history’, the loud and energetic music meant that the crowd were on their feet dancing and jumping from the start.
(Above: State Champs)
Another pop rock band which was an act not to miss this Friday at Leeds were Waterparks who again were another band from America, this time Austin Texas. With their quirky charm and sweet talking lead singer, they were definitely a bunch of characters who like to have fun. Having recently finished Warped Tour in America, their popularity has also been on the increase with their frequent media coverage in a lot of the most popular music magazines such as Kerrang and Rock Sound. These guys will definitely be an act to catch, but with no tour dates as of yet in the UK, if you happen to be from American they will be touring with the bands Sleeping with Sirens, Tonight Alive and State Champs, who all played Reading and Leeds this weekend in the End of Madness tour this November in America.
Leading on to Tonight Alive who were noticeably higher on the bill this year on the NME/Radio 1 Stage. Also having been on Warped Tour and recently realising their album ‘Limitless’ earlier this year, the Australian rock band produced an outstanding performance. Their lead singer Jenna McDougall who I had the pleasure of meeting briefly in the press area shortly after their set said it was “amazing to be back” since their previous performance on main stage back in 2014.
(Above: Tonight Alive)
As it got to later in the day, the mud was still holding strong and but luckily the weather was clearing up. One act who has been hugely gaining popularity in the British music scene, known for his huge impact on the Grime scene who I have worked with and become friends with was Big Narstie. Originally known for his comedy and Youtube sketches, Narstie grew in the Grime industry and now with the huge collaboration with Craig David on his single ‘When the Bassline Drops’, it was definitely going to be a huge act.
One of the most anticipated acts of the evening, other than the co headliners, Fall Out Boy and Biffy Clyro, The 1975 were the next biggest band playing that evening. And undoubtably the did not disappoint. With their huge stage presence and beautiful stage setup with digital cityscapes, the band were not one to miss. Performing from their new album ‘I like it when you sleep…’ as well as their 2013 self titled album, the Manchester based band enticed the crowd who were on their feet singing along and dancing like crazy to the overly energetic and charismatic lead singer Matt Healy.
(Above: The 1975)
Then it was time for the huge co headlining acts, which personally were my favourite headliners out of the weekend. Fall Out Boy had been on the verge of a split back in 2010 and took a break for several years until their surprise reformation back in 2013 with their album “Save Rock and Roll’. Since then they have produced another huge selling album which meant that they thoroughly deserved that top headliner spot. I could see the love and the energy in the crowd as they performed some of their true classics such as ‘This ain’t a scene, it’s an arms race’ as well as new songs such as ‘Uma Thurman’. I have never seen a crowd be brought closer together by a love for a huge and somewhat nostalgic performance. With some people describing their performance as a resemblance to a ‘Motley Crüe’ set their wild use of dancers and firework displays could be the reasoning behind that. After a number of energetic songs, Patrick Stump chose to use the middle of his set to take it back to some of their slower songs, whilst also using their single ‘Save Rock and Roll’ which originally featured the vocals of Elton John was used to pay tribute to the death of David Bowie.
For the final act of the night, I can honestly say that I have never been moved by such an outstanding and emotionally provoking set from witnessing Biffy Clyro. Whilst I can say I was perviously apprehensive about their performance, I was hugely mistaken to believe there was any hint of doubt as they were one of the best acts I have seen live in my entire life. With their recent release of their new album ‘Ellipsis’ back in July, it was no doubt why they were given the headline slot. With their aggressive and reckless stage presence they played songs from their 2009 album, ‘Only Revolutions’ such as ‘Bubbles’ and ‘Captain’ it was ‘Many Of Horror’ which brought me as well as many of the crowd to tears as their music brought chills. Unbeatably the best act to finish a perfect first day at Leeds Festival.
To begin the second day of the festival, main stage opened up to Frank Turner. Now being his 10th consecutive year at Reading and Leeds Festival, it is almost like his second family. Bringing me and a lot of my recently found festival friends who include other photographers, journalists and radio presenters, Frank Turner was a very special act for me to watch. HIs energy and motivation to wake up the crowd with is rock and alternative music meant that it was the perfect way to start the second day at Leeds.
With more acts covering across all genres of the festival, we had comedy from the Russell Howard, dance music from Hannah Wants, the heavier rock music of Asking Alexandria and Crossfaith as well as electronic synth music of acts Crystal Castles, Chvrches and headliner, Disclosure.
(Above: Crystal Castles)
Following Frank Turner, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes were next to play the main stage. Considering their angsty reputation and crazy crowds even Frank had himself saying “they probably won’t let [him] play main stage again”. With attempts to create a circle pit around the sound desk and throwing a GoPro into the crowd to film their fans, the Rattlesnakes definitely woke up and quickly removed the lingering hangover everyone had from the night before.
If they weren’t crazy enough, nothing compared to the set of Die Antwoord. If you haven’t head of this crazy duo, they recently appeared in the film Chappie and also accused the new Suicide Squad film for stealing their image. Ninja and Yolandi Visser definitely had the crowd questioning their performance as they had one of the weirdest and strangest sets of the weekend.
(Above: Die Antwoord)
Saturday was definitely the day for the more obscure and wacky acts. Heading over to The Pit stage I managed to catch Crossfaith, a Japanese heavy rock act whose heaving bass and eccentric guitar playing meant that mud was being kicked around by the crowd left right and centre in the many mosh pits.
One of the most anticipated acts which were performing on the NME/Radio 1 Stage on Saturday were the multiple chart holders Twenty One Pilots. The american duo have been around for a few years in the alternative rock music scene but recently drew huge popularity by featuring on the new Suicide Squad soundtrack with their song ‘Heathens’. Their performance didn’t fail to impress with their seemingly dark stage presence and heavy bass and drums. There have bee rumours that the dark duo will be returning to the UK soon which will be a gig you do not want to miss.
To follow this already excellent act we had the duo Diplo and Skrillex who performed in their collaborative stage Jack Ü. Never have I seen the tent so full. The crowd were bursting out the sides of the already huge tent desperate to hear the popular act. Performing many of their own individual songs such as ‘Cinema’ by Skrillex, they also played covers as well as hit tracks ‘Where Are you Now’ featuring Justin Bieber, and a new song which will be released soon.
Headliners on the Saturday were Foals and Disclosure. Foals brought the rock element to the relatively electronic lineup, once again drawing a huge crowd which only grew bigger for Disclosure. The electronic duo have been playing their fair share of festivals across the world have flown up the bill to reach the headlining spot after gaining increasing popularity over the last few years.
With the festival on it’s last legs with the amount of mud reaching far above the ankles, the crowds still had high spirits which only grew as the clouds started to disappear and the sun started to shine. Starting off the day with Fatherson, the folk rock band was a warming wake up.
Just like Y Not Festival, if there was one band which I had to see, it was HECK*. Since I reviewed Y Not, Matt Reynolds leg is now fully healed which means their set was ten times as crazy. Scaling the scaffolding, kicking over amps and throwing just about everything that could be found on stage they once again did not disappoint.
After this there was a mysteriously long gap between Heck and the following act Milk Teeth, and this could only mean one thing, a secret set. It was unsure who was going to fill this slot from the start of the weekend but since the news was let out the previous day at Reading Festival, it was announced that the set will be filled by the British rock band, You Me At Six. After just releasing their new single ‘Night People’ only a few days ago, it was a surprise that no one could guess this before. After photographing and watching acts such as Milk Teeth and Vant, to which Vant have been announced to support You Me At Six on their upcoming tour, it was clear that even though the festival was drawing to a close on its last day that spirits were still high.
The next act which really stood out was Jack Garratt. The solo artist had the stage presence of twenty men, with his huge drum setup and almost spider-like lighting setup surrounding him, he performed with huge confidence and drew a crowd which echoed his songs almost just as loud right back to him. You could see by the look on his face that it was an incredible experience for him as well as the crowd which stood in front of him.
Headlining on the final day of Leeds festival was the classic rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers. Whilst their setlist seemed to be more of a great ‘Californiacation’ and ‘By The Way’.
With an amazing end to the weekend, Red Hot Chili Peppers definitely energised the crowd. However, i’m sure Reading Festival had an even crazier Sunday with the closing set of Biffy Clyro. The Chili Peppers were an act which every generation could enjoy. We had teenagers climbing the ice cream van to get a better view of the miraculous stage design and the slightly older generation rocking out. It has definitely been an incredible weekend which a lot of people will remember, and the memories and stories from the weekend will be taken back home with them along with copious amounts of mud stains on just about every item of clothing they own.
Photos and review by Jade Hill.
Reading & Leeds Festivals are excited to announce RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS as the first headliners for 2016.
Taking to the main stage for what promises to be a phenomenal headline set as a FESTIVAL EXCLUSIVE, Red Hot Chili Peppers are; Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith and Josh Klinghoffer. Returning to Reading and Leeds Festival nine years after their last performance there, it’s fair to say their live return is highly anticipated. When the band were asked which UK Festival they would like to play next summer, Chad Smith commented “the simultaneous answer was ‘Reading and Leeds’”
Melvin Benn commented:
“I’m thrilled to be able to announce Red Hot Chili Peppers as the first headliner for Reading & Leeds 2016, as a festival exclusive. Their incredible live show will be an unforgettable headline performance at the UK's biggest music festival. We’ve still got some really exciting names to announce and I can’t wait to reveal the rest of the line up. It’s going to be our best year yet.”
The 1975 will be making a huge appearance at next year’s festival following the release of their highly anticipated second album. With a gargantuan new stage set up and a fiercely dedicated fan base, their appearance is going to be undeniably special.
Mancunian festival favourites Courteeners will also be returning in majestic fashion in 2016, following the release of ‘Concrete Love’ and a huge show in Heaton Park earlier this summer, priming them for a massive performance.
With a famously visceral live show, Twenty One Pilots appearance at Reading & Leeds 2016 looks set to be nothing short of mind blowing, especially in the wake of their November sold-out UK tour and their recent album Blurryface, which topped the Billboard Charts. 2015 has been a huge year for the guys and with another sold out tour under their belts in February and two nights at Madison Square Garden in the summer, 2016 is set to be another incredible year for this band and their performance at Reading & Leeds will definitely cement them as the most exciting band around right now.
Slaves embody some of the emerging talent on offer at the festival, moving into a bigger slot after storming their performance this year, not to mention their Mercury Prize nomination earlier this month.
“It's always a pleasure to play at Reading and Leeds and it's an honour to be invited back to play again in 2016. The crowds have been good to us and we are always very grateful. The line up is always a gooden and we're looking forward to being part of it and taking things up another level this time. See you there xxx”
Another group known for their raucous live shows, HINDS have undoubtedly proved themselves as one of the finest new bands to surface this year, winning crowds over across Europe with their delightfully ramshackle performance, fans will need to look out for their debut Reading and Leeds performance. RAT BOY is also joining the line up – fresh after a summer of huge shows, including last month’s inaugural Community Festival and a recent tour supporting The 1975, hit singles such as ‘Sign On’ and ‘Fake ID’ will no doubt draw huge sing-alongs.
Rat Boy commented:
“It’s gonna be lit!”
Reading & Leeds favourites Crossfaith will no doubt see a crowd of thousands descend on the legendary Japanese rave-metal group’s performance.
“It is an absolute honour to be invited to legendary rock festival ‘Reading & Leeds’ three years in a row. We are always feeling your big love for us! Can't wait to party and rock with you guys! See you in da pit! Let's make history!”
Kicking off a huge dance line up, the iconic DJ EZ has also been revealed to perform. A master of his craft, EZ has played to crowds all over the world over the last decade, making him the perfect candidate to get the Reading & Leeds crowd moving.
DJ EZ commented:
"I can't wait for these festivals! Looking forward to seeing you there."
With a huge bill topped by festival headliners Metallica, Mumford & Sons and The Libertines plus a supporting cast of some of the world’s biggest names in music including Kendrick Lamar, Alt J and Bring Me The Horizon, the already bursting Reading & Leeds Festival lineup is now bolstered by even more incredible names.
With the Main Stage lineup already providing a huge number of must-see acts across this summer’s bank holiday weekend,Mariachi El Bronx return to the prestigious opening slot to bring festival crowds their signature brand of traditional mariachi and feel good pop for a set that is sure to bring the sunshine. The LA punks, The Bronx, will also play The Lock up Stage.
NME/BBC RADIO 1 STAGE
Taking the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage on the Friday at Reading and Saturday at Leeds, The Struts will be making their R&L debut this year; treating crowds to their potent mix of indie and glam rock as found on last years ‘Everybody Wants’ LP. Having played support to The Rolling Stones last year, they are truly a world-class rock act.
Since forming in 2009 Chicago, Illinois natives Twin Peaks have continued to build on the buzz surrounding their furious brand of garage punk. Heading for Reading on the Saturday and Sunday at Leeds, theirs is a set not to be missed.
To say that British songwriter and producer Shura has a bright future ahead of her would be a complete understatement. With standout headline shows under her belt and armed with tracks like the smooth electro-pop of recent Radio 1 championed single ‘2Shy’, expect huge crowds on Sunday at Reading and Friday at Leeds.
BBC RADIO 1 DANCE STAGE
Dance music enthusiasts can once again rejoice as the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage once again brings only the finest acts from across the world together under one roof.
Joining this year’s lineup are Australian hitmaker Hayden James, German deep-house wizard Ferdinand Weber, a very special live set from DJ Fresh, Irish favourites Riptide Movement, live electronic duo Maribou State, pop starlet Petite Meller and The Six.
THE LOCK UP/PIT STAGE
A host of exciting new names have been announced for The Lock Up/Pit stage, including The Bronx and Progressive metal legends Baroness. Japanese noise-mongers Bo Ningen will bring their visceral, undeniably unique sound to a mid-afternoon slot on Friday Reading / Saturday Leeds. Earlier in the day the gloriously destructive God Damn will be proving why so much hype has surrounded them in recent months. Vant will also be opening proceedings with Skinny Lister.Elsewhere throughout the weekend, No Devotion and As It Is join a mammoth lineup on Saturday Reading / Sunday Leeds, further proving why The Lock Up / Pit Stage is one of the festival’s most exciting, diverse areas on site.
FESTIVAL REPUBLIC STAGE
The Festival Republic Stage remains the area of the festivals with a focus on both emerging and established alternative talent. Having appeared on the BBC Sound of 2015 longlist earlier this year, Sunset Sons‘ fresh brand of beachside indie has built a huge fan base who will no doubt pack out the tent Friday Reading / Saturday Leeds. Scottish synth-poppersNeon Waltz play Saturday Reading / Sunday Leeds having drawn critical acclaim from blogs around the world whilst Spring King fuse visceral indie with modern pop charm.
Seether and The Last Internationale complete the current announcement, rounding off an incredible stage lineup that features the best alternative talent the world has to offer.
BBC 1XTRA STAGE
Further proving the vital place of Hip Hop and Urban music at R&L, more names have also been added to the hugely popular BBC 1XTRA Stage. Bringing together 80’s pop hooks with a 60’s aesthetic, Brighton’s Remi Miles will open the stage Saturday Reading / Sunday Leeds.
Fresh after collaborating with Jamie XX, unlikely rap hero Young Thug will also be making a rare appearance Friday Leeds / Saturday Reading, bringing a barrage of hits that prove impossible not to shout along to.
Sibling production / DJ duo Star.One also join the lineup, perfectly encapsulating the diverse and groundbreaking nature of both the BBC 1xtra Stage, and Reading and Leeds as a whole.
"We're really over the moon to be returning to Reading & Leeds. It'll be our third time playing, and we always have the best time."
ALEXISONFIRE have announced they will come together for a series of summer festivals. They have made Reading and Leeds their exclusive European performance.
The classic lineup of George Pettit, Chris Steele, Wade MacNeil, Dallas Green and Jordan ‘Ratbeard’ Hastings will come back to British soil for the first time since they briefly reunited for a worldwide 10th anniversary tour in 2012.
One of the biggest bands to come out of Canada’s underground music scene, Alexisonfire released four successful albums internationally, and amassed a legion of fans all over the world.
ALEXISONFIRE play the Main Stage on Saturday at Reading and Sunday at Leeds, joining headliners Metallica alongside Bring Me The Horizon, Royal Blood, Pierce The Veil and Marmozets.
Mumford & Sons and The Libertines will also headline the Festivals this August Bank Holiday
Reading & Leeds Festivals are very excited to announce Mumford & Sons as Main Stage headliners! The British rock band last appeared at Reading & Leeds in 2010 when they performed a triumphant set to a packed NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage. The band return to Reading & Leeds just four years later as Festival headliners.
Festival boss Melvin Benn comments:
“I’m delighted to have secured Mumford & Sons for Main Stage headliners this summer and can’t wait to see them return to the Festivals for their first UK performance in over two years. With today’s announcement of a further eight great acts joining the bill, the Reading & Leeds line-up is already shaping up to be one of the best ever and I’m looking forward to revealing the third headliner and even more great artists soon.”
Reading & Leeds continue to tear-up the festival season by securing performances from some of the biggest bands around.
Royal Blood bring what the NME memorably described as an “absolute turbo bastard of a rock record” to Reading & Leeds exclusively this summer; the duo’s unique take on drums and bass has seen their self-titled debut sell almost a million copies worldwide to date.
Bastille are no strangers to the Festivals, having debuted on the Festival Republic Stage in 2012 then returned to storm the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage in 2013.
As one of the biggest progressive-house producers in the world, deadmau5 promises to use incredible live production to give Reading & Leeds fans one of the biggest dance sets of the weekend.
Supergroup Rebel Sound formed of Chase & Status, Rage, David Rodigan and Shy FX combine reggae and dancehall beats through to drum ‘n’ bass and jungle – Chase & Status gave Reading & Leeds ‘crowd destroying’ sets in 2013; fans won’t know what is going hit them this summer.
Chase & Status said: "The last time we played Reading & Leeds, the crowd were insane and we had to stop the set four times – there was so much energy. This year, we’re coming back as Rebel Sound, Culture Clash Champions 2014 – ourselves and Rage, David Rodigan and Shy FX. We’ve only performed together once and it’s safe to say that night was incredible. We’re already preparing the new dubs…can’t wait to see what the Reading & Leeds crowd will bring this summer.”
Having spent years on the road honing their craft Catfish and The Bottlemen’s debut LP ‘The Balcony’ saw them catapulted into the public consciousness. With a sold out tour on the horizon including two nights at the legendary Brixton Academy, Reading & Leeds is the perfect place to catch tunes like their irrepressible single ‘Cocoon’.
The band said: "Made up to announce that we'll be back at this year’s Reading and Leeds! Last year really was a gamechanger for us and one of, if not the best shows we've ever done! This year's gonna blow it away…"
After recently topping the BBC Sound of 2015 poll, London’s Years & Years will be making their Reading & Leeds debut. Bringing their expertly considered pop melodies to the Festival to perform singles, ‘Desire’ ‘Take Shelter’ and ‘King,’ they'll show why they've been deservedly crowned stars.
The band said: "Wooooo we are so excited to be playing Reading and Leeds Festival! We'll be bringing three times as many synths as Metallica – can't wait to party with you all."
Lead by the beautiful, melancholy vocals of lead singer Ellie Rowsell, North London’s Wolf Alice craft skuzzy grunge-pop of a quality that has seen them championed by media and fans who have pushed them up through the ranks of Reading & Leeds.
Youthful indie-punk four piece hailing from Merthyr Tydfil in the Welsh Valleys, Pretty Vicious have already received daytime BBC Radio 1 support from the likes of Fearne Cotton and Greg James. The band’s set is sure to turn heads at the Festivals this summer.
Mesmerising singer and multi-instrumentalist Jack Garratt will be returning to Reading & Leeds this summer with his spellbinding vocals, triggered samples and amazing guitar solos.
Hannah Wants began the year named as Mixmag’s breakthrough DJ of 2014 and will make her Reading & Leeds debut with her hard-hitting, heavy bass sound. Hannah’s bound to put her mark on the Festivals when she drops her hit ‘Rhymes’.
Newly announced today:
Mumford & Sons (Headliner: England and Wales Festival Exclusive)
Royal Blood (UK Summer Festival Exclusive)
Bastille (England and Wales Festival Exclusive)
Rebel Sound feat. Chase & Status and Rage, David Rodigan and Shy FX
Catfish and The Bottlemen
Years & Years
Metallica (Headliner and UK Festival Exclusive)
Pierce The Veil
Run The Jewels
Reading & Leeds Festivals are excited to announce undisputed global superstars Metallica as the first headliners for 2015 in a UK Festival Exclusive performance. James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich and Rob Trujillo will take to the Main Stage next August Bank Holiday Weekend to provide a defining moment of the 2015 festival season.
Returning to the prestigious headline spot for a record fourth time in 2015, the band have a rich history at the Festivals, having first headlined Reading Festival 18 years ago. With a career spanning over three decades and more than 110 million records sold across the world, Metallica are undoubtedly one of the biggest and best live acts on the planet. Their critically acclaimed film ‘Some Kind of Monster’ will be re-released on December 15th, available for the first time digitally and on Blu-ray, and including ‘Metallica: This Monster Lives’, a brand new 25-minute feature following up on the last decade with the band.
Lars Ulrich from Metallica says:
“We are obviously beyond thrilled to be returning to headline the magnificent and mighty double shot at Reading & Leeds for the fourth time. We are practically the house band. Bring it!”
Festival boss Melvin Benn comments:
“I’m excited to be able to announce Metallica as the first headliner for Reading & Leeds 2015. Their amazing live show promises to be a favourite with rock, metal and genuine music fans at the UK's most important music festival, perfectly topping a bill of brilliant acts from across the genres. I’m looking forward to revealing the rest of the Festival line up, which will feature the absolute best of rock, indie, dance and hip hop and will only add to the amazing atmosphere that make Reading & Leeds so special.”
Following this year’s explosive secret set at Reading, Jamie T will make the trip to both Festival sites in 2015. Fresh from a hugely successful sold out UK tour and the release of third album ‘Carry On The Grudge’ this autumn, Jamie T is one of the hottest acts of the moment and an exciting addition to the Festival line-up.
Fresh from their highly anticipated fourth studio album, Californian post-hardcore favourites Pierce The Veil will be making their long-awaited Reading & Leeds debut in 2015.
Vic Fuentes from the band comments:
"We've been dying to do these Festivals ever since we started touring in the UK! It's such an honour to be a part of something that people wait all year round to see.”
With his set this year proving to be one of the defining moments on the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage, drum ‘n’ bass maestro Wilkinson is no stranger to Reading & Leeds. Stepping up his live show yet another notch following his ‘Lazers Not Included’ tour, he will be returning to the Festival in 2015.
Headlining The Pit Stage, Refused have become one of the most influential heavy bands of a generation. The Swedish punk band’s now legendary album ‘The Shape Of Punk To Come’ fused noisy hardcore, post-punk, techno and jazz to create an entirely original sound. Since reforming for shows in 2012, the band have returned stronger than ever with a live set that shows the true scope of their musical legacy.
With two critically acclaimed albums released in the last two years, Run The Jewels are arguably the hottest hip-hop act on the planet. Making their Reading & Leeds debut next year, rap veterans Killer Mike and El-P’s performance will be essential Festival viewing.
Manchester Orchestra will make their third trip to Reading & Leeds in 2015. Following the release of fourth album ‘Cope’ and this year’s stripped down alternate version ‘Hope’, their appearances at the Festivals will be a summer highlight for indie-rock fans.