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Live at Leeds is a music festival that takes place across various venues in the city on the weekend of the May Day bank holiday. The festival began in 2007 to mark the city of Leeds’s 800th birthday. Eleven years on and it’s gone from strength to strength, this year boasting an amazing line up including Ash, The Horrors and Circa Wave.

We sent our photographer, Gareth Burroughs, to snap his way round the event and he reported back on the main gigs he attended, also catching up with and interviewing Tom Walker and Vistas.

On arrival, and after downloading an app for the Live at Leeds festival, Gareth plotted his route and planned his schedule, picking his way through the sea of amazing talent to choose just a handful of bands. With so much choice he would have liked to have seen more, but by definition you have a long way to travel round a city festival with many bands playing simultaneously, sadly you can’t possibly see everyone you want to see. But with the help of this rather excellent easy to use app, Gareth was able to make his schedule and decide on his top picks.

After picking up his press pass, he went to the Sheafs gig at Hyde Park Book Club – it was buzzing with loads of people outside and he bumped in to quite a few of the Sheffield set and Sheaf fans from further afield: it was a small but healthily sized crowd for the size of the room. Sheafs were on top form and their crowd surf was true to form. When ‘This is not a Protest’ started, everyone brought out banners and placards and the crowd went crazy for it in the mosh pit. A small basement space but cool little place.

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He walked down hill to Dork Stage in Church Leeds where he watched the fabulous Tom Walker from the pit, immersed in an incredible performance as part of a lively crowd.

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Church Leeds is a beautiful venue – a converted church as the name suggests with a huge stained glass window above the stage. After the gig, Gareth met up with Tom to talk about his latest plans.

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Follow the link to read the interview here: http://northern-exposure.co/interview-tom-walker-live-at-leeds-2018/

Over the road from where he interviewed Tom, Gareth queued ages to see Ash at the Leeds Beckett Main Stage and once inside, when ‘Girl From Mars’ started, the crowd sang every word. By this point, everyone was basking in hot sunshine – perfect festival weather but a tad sticky as the place was absolutely rammed. He couldn’t get the down to the front initially, but after an improvisation of Mission Impossible proportions, Gareth managed to sneak to the pit to take his snaps (you learn these tricks at photography school.)  They sang their classics and the crowd danced and sang their way through the set. This was a very popular performance – everyone wanted to see this one.

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Each venue increased in size as the day went along, working towards the bigger bands and of course potentially bigger crowds as the evening drew near. By the time Gareth arrived to see The Magic Gang at Leeds Festival Stage at O2 Academy, it was hot hot hot – high temps all day and one of the hottest days so far this year if you remember – and busy, very busy. Lively, fun crowd for this popular band – the place was packed. Crowd favourites were ‘How Can I Compete?’ and ‘Your Love’.

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After a good walk, Gareth got over to watch Cabbage at The Wardrobe – this was a real hike across the city centre. You need good walking boots for these kinds of events. Good atmosphere – packed and baking inside. Cabbage gave a high energy performance throughout. One of three photographers, it was the perfect venue for them as you could get really close to the stage – a really intimate venue. The crowd on the barrier sang along to all the songs and the guys were very reactive to the crowd. Joe was not there sadly but they had asked a friend from another band to step in.

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 The final performance to hot foot it to was Avalanche Party at the Lending Room, the same venue where NE had seen them play a few weeks before. There was no crowd surfing as such but their performance raised the roof with high octane high energy from beginning to end. The crowd picked Jordan up and carried him around towards the end. ‘Porcelain’ was a firm favourite and he entertained everyone with outstanding body writhing to his ‘I’m So Wet’ performance along with bottled water on hand to illustrate the point.
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An incredible day. Really well organised, an excellent selection of big and smaller bands throughout and great people there – bands, staff and public alike. This is now a clear favourite on everyone’s festival calendar.

KATE O’BRIEN & GARETH BURROUGHS

PHOTOGRAPHY: MODEL D PHOTOGRAPHY 

LIVE AT LEEDS 2018 PLAYLIST

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