Ideal long weekend city breaks usually involve taking in some culture, momentous artefacts of some description, chilling out with your nearest and dearest, fine dining, walking for miles without really realising it and a subjective intake of booze. If you add to that some of the best acts of the past year playing to small crowds in intimate venues and a city buzzing with love, life and live music then Leeds is the only place to be to kickstart your summer. From Friday 4th-Monday 6th May the northern metropolis is taken over by over 100 bands covering over 10 of our favourite Leeds venues.
It’s more than a welcome surprise for locals and visitors alike to find high-streets that are usually associated with the H & M sale, or venues like the Faversham known for making an awesome mocha transformed into vibrant mini utopias for smiley, happy music fans embracing Leeds life. Returning for another year the annual bank holiday festival line up has hit a new peak, with headline acts including Marina and the Diamonds, The Enemy, The Subways, Los Campesinos and Ladyhawke. Amongst the carnage of mind blowing music are Reverend and the Makers, Dot Rotten , Spector, Ghostpoet, Scroobius Pip and Iliketrains.
As much as most people enjoy the adrenalin of transporting themselves from one end of the city to the other in two minutes; day rider bus tickets, running shoes and roller skates don’t quite make up for the lack of 21st century teleportation devices. The only advice would be to plan ahead, prioritise and optimise your time. As well as cramming in all your favourite acts be sure to catch the next big things including, Stooshie, Dog is Dead, Chew Lips, Nink and the dove and Gabrielle Aplin, some of which are just creeping onto daytime radio one playlists.
As much as you can become immersed in an abundance of sound and an endless array of strawberry ciders in the sun, try and take in some local or rising lesser known acts, it’s a chance to see some truly amazing musicians before they start UK wide sell out tours. Previous years have seen the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, Ed Sheeran, Aloe Black, Hurts and the Macabees. If you need that extra fill of excitement like ‘all of your festivals have come at once’, although sold as a separate event Example will be playing Leeds prestigious Millennium on the Saturday night. Saturday tickets (the main event including all of these amazing acts) are an absolute steal at £20 a go, available from most major ticket site or locals can pick them up at Jumbo or Crash records, however they are selling at a rapid rate.
For many students this one weekend is the highlight of their whole university experience and a chance for alumni to travel from afar to become reunited with the friends, venues and feelings for years to come. However the age range of the festival is wide span (possibly as it negates the need for a grimey tent) and includes genres to appeal to all tastes and persuasions from jazz, to hip-hop, funk, soul, indie, metal and pop. Growing in popularity every year, this will be one wristband that stays on for a few too many showers, long enough to proudly disintegrate alongside your Glastonbury one. Instead of facing another year of heart wrenching decisions between festival and considering to take out loans to afford them all, throw Live at Leeds in the mix to ease that decision – as you won’t find better acts at any introducing tent or second, third or fourth stage.