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  • Matt Codd

Leeds Festival 2023: Yorkshire’s Marquee Festival to close Summer in style

Leeds Festival 2022, Photography by Linda Borscika

When you've grown up in Yorkshire, there are some telltale signs that summer is ending. The sun disappears behind the clouds, all the shops shove back to school gear in your face, and Leeds Festival delivers a stacked cast to help you forget about all of that. This year is no different.

Last year’s edition was a Sheffielder’s dream with both Arctic Monkeys and Bring Me The Horizon headlining the bill and while the 2023 version’s offering is less Sheffield-focused, it is still the marquee event for any music fan in God’s own country.

Stepping up to headline the twi main stages are six of the biggest acts in the world at the minute. Friday is an American takeover with Imagine Dragons and Billie Eilish closing out day 1. Saturday sees the festival bring it back home with indie rock icons in Foals and Sam Fender and Sunday closes the weekend with a marrying of the two with giant sets expected from The 1975 and The Killers.

Leeds Festival 2019, Photography by Matt Eachus

The 1975’s inclusion brings a lot of excitement for festivalgoers. Drafted in to replace their good friend Lewis Capaldi after the Scot sadly had to withdraw from all touring activities for health reasons, the Manchester boys have promised big things with a special performance of the 2013 eponymous debut IN FULL to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Besides them, the other five headliner count among some of the biggest acts in the UK, if not the world, the pull of Leeds Festival seems to grow with each passing year.

The main stage brilliance is not just limited to the headliners either, with gems to be found throughout the weekend if you didn’t want to move too far away. Standout picks for us would have to be MUNA, who are currently thriving as the support act for the dominant boygenius, The Snuts, gearing up for the release of their third LP in as many years, Inhaler, who blew us away at their Leadmill album release show in May, and Sea Girls, who put on one hell of a show in the Tramlines sun just last month.

Away from the Main Stages, a plethora of a talent and future stars will be waiting across the ten other stages. Head to the Festival Republic stage to get your dose of the best new rock and punk bands, and if that’s not taking your fancy, why not try the BBC Radio 1Xtra Stage for up-and-coming MCs and rap starlets. Or hit up the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage for an eclectic mix of pop projects, rock bands and DJ sets. Maybe you’re looking out for your next musical obsession or looking to step out your sonic comfort zone for something new, Leeds Fest will always have you covered.

Leeds Festival 2022, Photography by Emily Marcovecchio

How about if you want a break from the music for a bit? Well, there are plenty of options for you there as well. The Alternative Stage will host some of the funniest comics in the land as usual, with headline slots from Dylan Moran, Russell Kane and Joel Dommett. Or if you’re in need of something more serious, head to the Climate Live: Bus Stage where, in between some incredible young musical artists, you’ll be able to catch panels discussing wide-ranging topics from Climate Justice to Music Photography to rent strikes, and a highly anticipated panel on the power of the creative industry to drive change. If you’re not exhausted by the end of the day, you can even catch a film screening at the Film Oxford Cinema Tent once the music has finished.

While all of this sound as incredible as ever, we would be failing in our duty as a Sheffield outlet if we didn’t signpost and shoutout the awesome artists that are journeying up the M1 with us. It may not be blockbuster in the mainstream like last year, but South Yorkshire is again showing the rest of Yorkshire where proper bangers are made. Doncaster singer songwriter ADMT will take to the BBC Introducing Stage @ 3pm on Friday with his powerful vocals and tender lyricism taking him from strength to strength. Sheffield’s Frankie Beetlestone will also be gracing the BBC Introducing Stage on Saturday @ 1:50pm with his enigmatic, DIY indie-pop ready to win him even more fans. Finally on Sunday, Sheff Mag favourites LUNARCA will hit the Climate Live: Bus Stage with their infectious, 70s tinged indie rock that has really started making waves back home. If we push the net wider, you’ll find even more Yorkshire talent to enjoy in L’objectif, Yard Act and English Teacher to name just a few.

We cannot wait to be back in Bramham Park this weekend for what is shaping up to be another classic for all comers. Leeds Festival’s leaning towards more pop and mainstream music in recent years has been met with scowls from certain sectors, but to be able to bring truly global superstars to God’s Own Country can only be a good thing. It offers more of an audience for the up-and-coming artists throughout the day to make themselves and make the impressions that they deserve. So make the most of you bank holiday weekend if you were lucky enough to get a ticket, it’s going to be a scorcher!


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