Promoter Stuart Forsyth said of this year’s revamped two-dayer: “It’s been exciting putting on a two-day festival. Mint’s a Leeds brand and it just felt right to be moving back from Lincoln to Leeds.” And the electricity that Leeds music scene regulars have come to know and love at Mint’s city centre venues was undeniably present, the organisers’ collective years’ of experience planning parties evident throughout the festival.
The most impressive lineup to date, featuring the likes of big names including Seth Troxler, Eats Everything and Jamie Jones, each arena became home to a unique ambience and crowd. It’s always an indication of a well-planned festival when you can walk from tent to tent and feel as though you’ve stepped into a different country and timezone just yards apart.
Saturday: The Lowdown
Summer made a final appearance on Saturday, the sun beating down for scantily clad festival-goers, some of whom had clearly started the party shortly after finishing their cereal. By 3pm, the crowd was already lively, although it was the Bitch Arena that reigned supreme on Saturday afternoon with My Digital Enemy and Kryder magnetically drawing in the masses.
The surprise success of day one came in the form of Late Nite Tuff Guy who lured revellers into a previously empty tent with his late 70s disco classics, “I’m Every Woman” a siren call to passers by. He pitched his set perfectly to the crowd, using creative edits of popular tracks blended with new disco to create the most energetic atmosphere of the day. It was plain to see this was a DJ who had recently played to a crowd of thousands at Bestival.
Sunday: The Lowdown
The second day of the festival saw a definite shift in the crowd; Sunday seemed reserved for those who didn’t have to worry about work on Monday morning. Despite the increased longevity of the festival, there was no sign of the harem-pant-donning-dry-shampoo-spraying-flower-headband-wearing posse ubiquitous at most summer music festivals. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to tell that many there had spent the night in a tent at all.
The unpredictable closure of the Seth Troxler Presents arena led to scrambled set times, resulting in back to back mix-and-match sets in the ELROW stage featuring several members of the J.E.S.u.S collective, including Eats Everything, Seth Troxler and Skream. Eats Everything shared the decks with Cajmere for an explosive tribalesque house set, performers on stilts stalking through the crowds as giant inflatables bounced around the arena. It was the ELROW stage that was the true star of the festival, summoning crowds utilising the production value their Barcelona events are famed for, a first for Leeds. Hopefully not a last.
On the whole…
There didn’t seem to be any extras on offer for campers and the crowd seemed to switch completely between Saturday and Sunday so I’m not entirely convinced Mint will imminently become known as a camping festival. That being said, the organisers showed their experience throughout the rest of the weekend, adeptly improvising despite the closure of one major arena.
The setup, lineup and production were en pointe and the crowd was enthusiastically invested in making the most of the closing days of summer. There’s not much more that you can ask from a festival and this is clearly an event that will continue to grow in popularity, and not without good reason.