Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Leeds Festival 2004

Two weeks after the relative tranquility of the Cropredy Festival it was time for the slightly noisier Carling Leeds Festival.

Leeds is different from Cropredy in a number of ways:

1 There are about three times as many people
2 You can't pitch your tent next to your car
3 I had my eldest daughter with me
4 The average age of the punters is about 30 years younger
5 The noise doesn't stop

Leeds is the sister festival to Reading which I first attended in 1987. It has a big main arena and several other stages - the Radio One stage, the Carling Stage, the Dance Stage and the Comedy Tent.

Being on the elderly side I spent quite a lot of time in the Comedy Tent - which was mostly of a very high standard.

We arrived on the Thursday - along with half the planet - and got our (new,large) tent set up. Having suffered last year due to lack of sleep I did insist, much to daughter's disgust, that we go in the family camping area this year. (This involved several trips to and from the car and a very long queue).

Shortly after the tent was set up it started to rain so we sat in the tent for the rest of the day. Another family set up their (equally large) tent next to ours and we proceeded to get on well with them for the weekend.

Eldest daughter is a particularly keen Green Day fan so she was very excited to be seeing them headline Friday. She spent most of the weekend seeking out punk bands, losing various shoes and items of clothing and generally spending my money for me.

Highlights for me included: Lostprophets, Placebo, Hundred Reasons, The Hives, Ash, A, & Supergrass.

Best set of the weekend for me was the legendary Wildhearts who crammed two hours worth of energy, songs and general mayhem into a 40 minute set. They had a lot of fans there to see them but also attracted a large crowd who they proceeded to win over completely.

And The Darkness were truly brilliant as well. They peformed a real stadium rock set with a solid dollop of humour thrown in. Justin Hawkins is so over the top it is hilarious, but they are very tight musically too. And the fireworks at the end reminded me of Monsters of Rock festivals of old.

As a lifelong Queen fan it was interesting to see Green Day end their set with a cover of We Are The Champions while The Darkness were led by the crowd into performing a chunk of We Will Rock You during their closing number Love On The Rocks (With No Ice).

And having packed the tent into the car during Sunday afternoon it only took 90 minutes to get out of the place in the end. Got home at 4am!

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