Live at Leeds in The Park: 25 May 2024 – Part One

The stages were set, the fans were massing, cameras were at the ready and even the weather was on our side. Well, for most of the time. Here’s the first part of our review, from Charlotte Staunton Gill’s perspective.

 

Live at Leeds, not to be confused with the live album by The Who (although perhaps inspired by the name) returned to its grassy home of Temple Newsam this May Bank Holiday weekend. Like night and day, Live at Leeds is on the Saturday followed by its emo brother Slam Dunk Festival on the Sunday. 

Declan McKenna. Photograph by Jazz Jennings

This year’s line up was an indie dream. We had big hitters such as The Cribs, Future Islands, Declan McKenna and special headliners The Kooks (main image by Mark Wheelwright) gracing multiple stages situated throughout the Festival grounds.

We also saw Futuresound showcase a handful of new artists gaining slots through the Festival’s Apply to Play competition. As well as supporting new artists, Futuresound/ Live at Leeds in the Park also had collaborations with three charities, so that an element of ticket prices went towards: Candlelighters, MAP and MIND. 

The Kooks. Photograph by Mark Wheelwright.

All good festivals begin with a pilgrimage to the site, be that the first bev of the morning when you meet up with your friends pre entry, or the inevitable ditching of the taxi to “just walk the rest it can’t be too far”. Live at Leeds was no exception to the rules this year. However, it did feel like the organisers had made some changes to welcome guests – there was a significant increase in toilets, water stations and security on site.

Baby Queen mingling. Photograph by Mark Wheelwright

It felt like lines for bars and food were pretty much minimal. Considering how many people were in attendance, this felt like a huge win, and regardless of it just being a really fun day out with friends, there wasn’t a lull in live acts at all throughout the day. In fact, the line up was so good we found ourselves running from stage to stage to make sure we caught bits of everyone we wanted to see. The day absolutely flew by. 

Corinne Bailey Rae. Photograph by Jazz Jennings.

After reviewing music for many years now, I find everyone has their own things they look for: some will stand near the sound desk to make sure they get the best vocal definition, some at the barrier to see any up close technique; myself, I always look for the crowd reaction. Live music is so special; it’s instant, a one time thing where no show is the same, and made even more special by it being a shared experience with strangers.

White Lies. Photograph by Mark Wheelwright.

White Lies had an incredible crowd. At one point, I saw a dad at the side of the crowd singing and dancing away with a baby strapped to his chest, young teenagers chanting the big bridges together and couples dancing away. These points became even more significant during The Cribs’ set in the Clash Big Top when the local boys (Wakefield) played their mega-hit Be Safe, a track that amplifies the unique vocals of the brothers, with the crowd screaming the chorus in harmony. 

Mel C. Photograph by Mark Wheelwright.

Not letting the inevitable downpour that finished off the Festival dampen our spirits, in true British fashion we instead whacked on our raincoats/picnic blankets/ bucket hats, basically anything we could chuck on ourselves, and danced away to The Kooks. More to come over the following weeks of in depth artist reviews, but as far as kicking off festival season with a bang is concerned, Live at Leeds in the Park definitely delivered.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in our series of reviews of Live at Leeds in The Park 2024. Part Two is also on our homepage.

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