Leeds / Reading Music Festival in the UK 🙂 Over 50 bands performing over 3 days, couldn’t possibly capture them all but here are a few highlights.
Posted by Cassey Hauser on Friday, October 9, 2015
This is the look of someone who just arrived at her destination whilst her camping gear/luggage did not. Monarch airlines has cheap tickets but as I learned the hard way they have cheap tickets because they have 5 flights scheduled within 2 hours of each other at the airport so they can cut down the cost of employee’s working.
Which put me a bit behind schedule. Especially since I was leaving straight from work, running over to the airport, and being on my way.
I knew I was running out of time and ended up cutting the line to the front. Just as they were taking my bag, I slipped the tent off the bottom and stuffed it into my carry-on. I didn’t have a good feeling my luggage would make it with how late I was. Running to the gate they drove me in a personal car to the plane. WHAT?!
In Leed’s I disembarked into 14 degree Celsius weather and was wearing shorts! When my bag didn’t make it I realized I was in a serious situation. I was camping out and I only had a pair of shorts. shit. This was a Travelsty! I was actually having a mini freak out. It takes a lot these days to get me so upset about something, but I was upset to the point where I couldn’t even think straight. It wasn’t like I was going to a hotel. I did have my tent and a few other odd items but it wouldn’t be enough to sleep through the night in this cold weather.
I stayed at the airport for 2 hours trying to figure out what I was supposed to do. After talking to a Monarch representative I found out I would be reimbursed 30 pounds for every day that my bag was missing and that’s about it. So I decided to board the bus to the city center and see about stopping in at a camping store. (This is the last time you’ll see these shoes, they became casualty at the end of the weekend.)
In Leeds I found a camping store within 5 minutes of the bus stop walking. I went over, got myself a sleeping bag, 1 pair of pants, 1 long sleeved shirt, and a Columbia sweater. Across the street was a grocery store so I stopped for a few snacks and found this fella, 1L of Bombay for 18 pounds while the 750ml bottle was 21 pounds. At least I have something to keep me warm at night, right?!
Once all the supplies were bought and I was laden down with my goods, I headed back to the bus station and bought a bus ticket to Bramham park. While waiting, I met Massie a 17 year old from Leed’s who has been to the festival over the past 4 years. She was extremely informative.
We sat next to each other on the bus and I found out from her that the Leeds / Reading Festival is actually 2 separate music festivals held on the same weekend with all the same bands that switch off between locations. The Reading festival is held right outside of London and the Leeds festival is held in Leeds UK.
How did I even end up in England at this music festival?
Mumford & Sons. That’s how. Before I knew they would be performing in Rome, they posted a couple of music festivals they would be at. I bought a ticket to the UK on the spot. I thought it pretty important that I should see them perform in their own country.
You could say I was sold on the idea instantly. Then, in Budapest, I convinced my friend Morgan to join me. Closer to August she decided to extend her time in America for her WEDDING, and wouldn’t be able to make it, so I guess I’d be hitting this music festival solo. eee! It was a damn shame I couldn’t find anyone to take her ticket.
Since I was coming in a bit late, there was no one in line at the box office. Picking up my ticket, it was only a couple minutes before I had my wristbands and was inside the park.
You can start setting up tents on Thursday for the festivities which last from Thursday night until Sunday night. There were tents everywhere! The campsites are set up by color. The first night I stayed in the red campsite but I was evicted the next morning because apparently I set my tent up in a bonfire circle.
The style for the girls here was crop top, fanny pack, hunter rain boots. I didn’t get the memo about the rain boots but the boots I was wearing serviced me just fine. We got pretty lucky and it didn’t rain until Monday morning except for a few sprinkles throughout the weekend. So at least we didn’t have to deal with a huge mud bath.
How the area looked with the campsites on the bottom area and all of the stages at the top.
As the sun set on the first night.
For 15 pounds you can buy a locker ahead of time. I would definitely do that because they have USB chargers inside. I brought my solar powered charger but it was nice to drop my phone off in between sets for 30 minutes and get a full charge quickly.
As far as genre for the Leeds Festival, if you’re very open minded and like a little of everything, then this is just your festival.
From Mumford & Sons to DeadMau5, Atreyu to Metallica, Panic at the disco to Echosmith, there was a wide variety of bands to choose to watch. Just my kind of show.
There were over 50 bands performing throughout the weekend and up to 9 bands playing at any one time, so it was impossible to see them all. I did the next best thing, went through the schedule, marked everything I wanted to see and hit as much as I possibly could.
One disappointment I had from Friday was I got there too late to see AWOLNATION and since I wanted to get my tent set up I only caught the end of Kendrick Lamar. I did however get to see the Libertines which I thought gave a shitty performance I didn’t really love and I left early from, ending my night out with DeadMau5.
Heading back to my tent, the party was just getting started. With 2 main DJ stages in the woods (Piccadilly Party and Relentless stage) at the campground and smaller DJ stages interspersed throughout, the EDM party scene continued well into the night, ending at 0600.
The next morning I woke and headed over to the showers. They were less than ideal but the water was warm, I had bought a few toiletries at the store, and it felt good to rinse off that travel grunge after a night sleeping in my tent (even with no towel and just one set of clothes).
Changing locations I decided to move over into the heart of the DJ stage for the second night, to totally immerse myself in the experience.
Afterwards I walked around, checking out the shops, buying a 1 euro cup of soup with bread from the Salvation army tent to warm up and wait for the gates to open to the stages at 11.
After stopping by a couple of stages I ended up at the New Republic stage to watch Echosmith. Not familiar with this band previously, they are an LA based pop quartet with their most famous song “Cool Kids” racking up over 35 million views on youtube. I liked them. They gave a captivating performance.
Afterwards I headed to the main stage to watch Panic! at the Disco and Bastille perform.
PANIC! AT THE DISCO
At one point during Panic! at the Disco’s performance, Brendan Urie got up and said, we actually just wrote a song backstage, hope you like it.. then they started singing Bohemian Rhapsody. haha. I thought that was pretty funny.
After Bastilles performance I decided to take a break for some food, to pick up my phone and get ready to start pushing my way to the front. Mumford & Sons was the main event for Saturday night and I wanted to be up near the front row.
Friends were easy to make on the festival grounds. All I had to do was speak. Apparently the English love Americans. Everyone wanted to tell me where they’d been in America or where they planned to visit (New York or LA go figure). I felt like a local celebrity. Which brings me to my next point, the fact that this is definitely not a touristy festival. The majority of people here were all from the UK. I was merely a guest.
Watching Eliza & the Bear, and yes a fan actually had a bear mask that the lead singer is wearing. haha.
As the sun began to set I crept ever closer to the main stage. A few more bands performed and changed out and I patiently and steady made my way to the front. Until I was only about 4 rows from the stage! I met Kate and Louise a lovely couple who had just got engaged earlier that day and they became my Mumford & Sons concert friends for the show.
One last photo of sunset and that was our cue. The concert was about to begin.
It. Was. Unreal.
Within seconds of their first song, I knew this is exactly where I belonged. The energy the crowd had was fantastic. They loved Mumford & Sons as much as I did. It was the best concert I’ve ever seen.
The concert was off the chain. It far exceeded the concert in Rome.
At one point, Mumford jumped off the stage into the crowd and I touched his arm while he was crowd surfing! I’m not so crazy when it comes to things like that, or at least I thought, until I saw the video of Mumford crowd surfing and I was just screaming, maybe I am a lil crazy after all.
They couldn’t resist the encore and we all stayed for every last minute.
The DJ parties raged on back at the campsite. I joined in till the wee hours of the morning and the sun started to rise. Now I was set up right in the thick of things beside both stages. When I hunkered down into my sleeping bag early that morning, my tent was shaking from the beat of the bass. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
I slept in on Sunday. Some people were just headed to bed when I woke up.
Sunday was the big heavy metal / Main stage Metallica performance. Finally! People my own age. Its quite a young crowd here in Leeds (like starting at age 15!). But on Sunday the older crowd showed up for the older bands. There was definitely a different energy to the day.
They just happened to have my favorite amusement park ride in the stage area: SWINGS!!!
Looking out at the campsites from the top.
Sometimes the stages are so packed inside you have to sit outside and watch the performance from the big screen. Or if you just want to enjoy a picnic and some beers.
When I stopped in to see Catfish and the Bottlemen, I didn’t know how seriously the English love that band. It was so packed and we were all pressed together pushing and shoving. After the first song I decided it wasn’t worth all that trouble and pushed my way outta there.
I’ve been in love with Atreyu since high school. I listen to their songs when I’m working out and when I’m having a no-good awful very bad day. They’re AWESOME performers.
METALLICA The main event of the evening. METALLICA. I didn’t have time to stand at the front all day because there were a lot of other bands I wanted to see. But they rocked the house. You can tell they are professional performers. They live for this shit. And it makes all the difference.
Headed back to camp after the final day of bands. I would be flying into work in the morning.
Starting the morning off with some porridge and a cappuccino, the flight was right on time.
Just headed into work at 0600. NBD.
On the plane I met the loveliest girl Eliza originally from Sri Lanka, she grew up in Bolonga Italy and lives in Leeds. Her boyfriend is from Naples who also lives in Leeds. He’s a chef. They invited me to a 10 course meal 2 nights later in Caserta, Italy.
I brought another travel blogging friend Clare, who was in to visit me. We ate food well into the night. It was by far my favorite meal in Italy so far. We were so spoiled. We ate for 3 hours straight! They wouldn’t let me leave without desert.
They want me to come back to the UK and visit again. We’ll see if I can make it back before the spring.
This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.
MONARCH AIRLINES UPDATE:
I kept the receipts from all the stuff I bought to camp out. I received my luggage 6 days later when it arrived back in Naples Italy. I submitted a letter to Monarch Airlines for the stuff I had to purchase and all of my meals.
They replied and told me they don’t normally reimburse for meals or the clothes that I purchased, but because of the circumstance they would pay me. I received $315 from the airlines for the weekend in Leeds. I’d say in the end everything worked out just fine. 🙂
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