A further 73 acts have been added to the already mouthwatering line-up, including indie-pop quartet Sundara Karma, Brighton-based alt rock duo Blood Red Shoes, and soulful popstress Izzy Bizu. Also taking to the stage will be Brit indie scene alumni Mystery Jets, fresh off the success of their latest critically and commercially acclaimed album, ‘Curve of the Earth’.
Representing Leeds talent are local bands Where Fires Are and indie electronica foursome Vitamin. Vitamin’s lead singer Jared has fond memories of the festival, and expressed excitement at joining the line-up: “Being from Leeds and playing Live at Leeds means a lot to us. It’s the festival we’d go to when we were really young so to come back and play it is great.”
An eye for talent
If there’s one thing Live at Leeds regulars know, it’s that this year’s line-up will probably be next year’s BRIT nominees. With an impeccable track record of booking the next big artists, the festival’s organisers are renowned for their ability to spot stars.
We spoke to organiser Aaron about their uncanny ability to cherry-pick the country’s rising talent: “We look at what’s emerging. We book classic bands that have played before, but take a lot of time to listen to new stuff and find stuff that’s on the way up. We’ve had a really good success rate with it in the last couple of years; we’ve had bands like Royal Blood, Jack Garrett, Ed Sheeran, and Sam Smith all play Live at Leeds. So it’s all about getting crowd favourites but thinking what’s going to be the next big thing in 2016.”
Joining forces with the digiterati
An exciting innovation sees this year’s festival team up with digital initiative Leeds Digital Festival. The project, which aims to raise awareness of the booming digital scene in the City, runs in the five days leading up to Live at Leeds.
Stuart Clarke, who is leading the Digital Festival committee, says of the partnership: “There’s a lot of synergy with digital and music, particularly with how music has changed in last few years. I hope the Digital Festival raises awareness of how much there is going on, and encourages more collaboration from the City, small companies working with big companies, students staying and working in the city. We have a big problem with student retention, so the more we can get them involved with what’s going on the better. This is a great modern digital City, and we should be shouting about it.”
As part of his M.O., Clarke also plans to lure digital talent away from the Capital. In March 10 London startups will be invited to visit Leeds and see what it has to offer. He explains: “It’s often easy to start a company in London, as there are more accelerators, tech hubs, and access to finance, but it’s really difficult to build bigger because it’s so expensive. So we’re going to bring them to Leeds for two days, show them round the physical infrastructures and companies like Sky, other start ups and co-working spaces like Leeds Dock Round Foundry. The idea is to show them they can build in a modern digital city like Leeds.”