Preview: Live at Leeds 2016

By on Tuesday, 15th December 2015 at 9:00 am

For a festival that was first created to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the fine city that houses it, Live at Leeds has managed to survive – no, thrive – and will be in its 10th year in 2016 (30 April). Which makes this one rather special. The recently announced first acts, which include pop songstress Jess Glynne (pictured at top) and madcap indie duo We Are Scientists, are the first of what will is sure to be many more recognised names and even more unsigned, local faces.

A metropolitan festival can be a strange affair: whereas the norm at a festival is to get lost in a field for a few days, when it comes to a metropolitan one, you’re encouraged to explore the city itself, take part in various activities that are normally happening, all the while being within walking distance from any amenity a city can offer. Metropolitan festivals have seen a great increase over recent years, with another Northern festival, Beacons, being moved to urban areas around Manchester and Leeds after receiving feedback from attendees that attending a tent and field festival is increasingly more expensive due to transport and other costs. Not to mention the idea that if – and we are talking about the North of England here – the weather were to take a bad turn, the venues are all indoor, so there’s no worry about it being cancelled or acts being rescheduled. There are many positives to a city festival, and while you can’t replace the ‘drunk in a field’ feeling, it’s possible to get close.

2016’s Live at Leeds, for the first time, will feature a program of digital events, a la SXSW or The Great Escape. This is a strong move for the festival: it will draw in professionals, as well as music fans, and gives the event even more credibility. More information about these events and more will be announced in due course.

Looking back at acts who previously played the festival, one can’t help notice names such as Catfish and The Bottlemen (2014), who have seen their career expanded exponentially this year after a Glastonbury appearance, not to mention Ed Sheeran (2010), one of British music’s current biggest stars. Live at Leeds has a great track record of signing bands who are heading for great futures, as well as those who are far more than established in smaller circles. With 200 acts being announced for last year’s festival, it’s bound to be an even bigger affair this year.

Jess Glynne, who had us all singing last summer with an appearance on Clean Bandit’s ‘Rather Be’ and has her own fantastically bright solo career, will be a perfect artist to watch at this year’s event, along with the aforementioned duo of We Are Scientists, who are a staple in any independent festival lineup. They have the same draw now as they did when they first rose to prominence after releasing ‘With Love and Squalor’, which was 10 years old this year, pretty apt. Along with Band of Skulls, the ferocious rockers who brought us ‘Death By Diamonds and Pearls’ and more recently released their third album in 2014, ‘Himalayan’, and Circa Waves, the relatively new band from Liverpool, we’re looking strong already and the lineup is bound to get even stronger.

Tickets are on sale now via all good ticket sellers, which are listed on the festival’s official Web site.

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