Leeds Festival 2012

Florence and the Machine Onstage at Leeds

So I’m back home again and returning to normality after another fantastic festival weekend, this time in Leeds. As usual I was volunteering my time to work behind one of the on-site bars in return for a free ticket, secure campsite and daily meals.

This year my wages were going to the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign and I managed to raise around £100 for them.

My Favourites

Working only 6/7 hour shifts meant that I had plenty of time to enjoy the festival. Top on my list of artists to see were Florence and the Machine and Paramore and neither disappointed. This was the third time this year I’ve seen Florence Welch belt out her hits, the first during her Ceremonials tour at Alexandra Palace and the second being at BBC Radio 1’s £2.50 Hackney Weekend. She put on a fantastic show and seeing the crowd jumping to hits such as Spectrum and raising eachother onto their shoulders for Rabbit Heart was absolutely fantastic. Not as good as the Ceremonials tour I must admit, but a million times better than the Hackney Weekend.

As for Paramore this was also the third time I’ve seen them perform (except not this year) with the first being the tiny gig they performed a few years back at the O2 Islington Academy and the second being Reading 2010. It was brilliant seeing one of my favourite bands perform on stage once again at their only UK date this year, especially after all of the drama the band have been through over the last year. Hayley even let slip that the next time we’d be seeing them perform in the UK they’d be performing tracks from their new album. Paramore UK tour in 2013 perhaps? Yes please!

Mikill Pane was also on the list of my must see artists after working with him at RSUnsigned earlier in the year. He played a brilliant but painfully short headline set on the BBC Introducing stage.

As for other gems from the festival, Santigold was absolutely fantastic, in fact her set turned out to be my favourite of them all this festival which I really wasn’t expecting. At one point she invited around 30 audience members onto the stage to dance with her! I’m definitely going to be paying more attention to her music after this weekend.

Reading or Leeds?

Right so here’s an interesting question. I’ve been to both Reading and Leeds now. Reading 2010 & 2011, and Leeds 2012, but which is better?

I never thought I’d ever say this but I think I’m going to say Leeds. Why? Well yes the BBC choose to cover Reading over Leeds and as a result you do get the feeling that some artists put more into Reading than they do Leeds because they know that ultimately more people will see their Reading set than their Leeds one, but the crowds at Leeds just seemed to have more atmosphere, everyone seemed just that little bit nicer and the majority of the people there actually seemed happy to be there.

As much as I love Leeds though, I’m still undecided as to what I’ll be doing next year. I know that I’m definitely going to attempt to purchase a Glastonbury ticket this year as Glasto is by far the best festival I’ve been to and I’d love to go there again, but whether I go to Reading or Leeds, I’m not sure and I think I’ll leave the decision to a later date. I love Leeds now, but the 3.5 hour drive there is just so much effort to go to essentially the same festival that I could have travelled 45 minutes to get to, but hey, we’ll see what 2013 brings.


Now here’s something rather cool that I didn’t think would work out as brilliantly as it did. Knowing that I had space for one more person in my car and thinking of both the environmental impact of that and the money I could make/save I decided to put the spare seat up on the GoCarShare website. Within days of posting the advert online I’d had a response from someone who had managed to get hold of a festival ticket at the last-minute. We arranged to meet via text message and it turned out to be a really pleasant journey up to Leeds.

The brilliant part however, which I’m a tiny little bit gutted that I couldn’t take advantage of was the fact that GoCarShare customers got their own car park closer to the festival site, a free car wash (which my car could really do with after this weekend), and also got entered into a draw to win tickets for next year. Unfortunately because I was volunteering I had to park in the staff car park and I wasn’t able to take part in any of the offers. Nevertheless GoCarShare is a fantastic idea and I’ll definitely be using the site again in the future!  Visit gocarshare.com for more.

Overall I’d say Leeds was a brilliant festival which I’d love to visit again at some point in the future. Let’s just hope that next year Festival Republic can put together as good a lineup as this year’s one.

Oh and for all you eager beavers Reading and Leeds 2013 presale tickets go on sale on 30th August at 2012 prices. Buy Reading Tickets | Buy Leeds Tickets


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Richard Lartey Written by: