Bank Holiday Weekend in August can only mean one thing for music lovers; Reading & Leeds festivals. The last big Summer blow out on the festival scene is always home to tonnes of great Student Radio acts playing through their hits or finding new fans, and this year was no different. We sent Harrison Twinn of Nerve Radio alongside our Music Officer Scott Hastie to bring you coverage of the weekend at Braham Park aka Leeds Festival 2016. You can hear our podcast recorded on site and also read our review below as we conclude our #SummerofFestivals in style.
The three day festival was headed up by five headliners. Leeds boasted Biffy Clyro & Fall Out Boy on the Friday, welcomed Disclosure & Foals on the Saturday and closed out in style with Red Hot Chili Peppers on the Sunday. For fans of live music, that is the perfect mix of trusted headliners and newer acts stating their intent on being the biggest deal of the weekend. Out of the lot, Biffy Clyro perhaps stole the show on the Friday night with a 90 minutes set which left no breathing room between their consistent hits and festival pleasers.
With Reading & Leeds being arguably the biggest party of the year, there’s something for everybody spread across different stages. Alongside the headliners, Leeds’ main stage also offered highlights through South African rap rave outfit Die Antwoord who played a rare UK festival slot, and later on the same day, one of the busiest crowds of the weekend for Grime collective Boy Better Know. They made their set extra special giving us all of the A-Stars through guest run-ins from Giggs and Wiley.
Aside from the Main stage there was a lot more on offer. Festival Republic stage offered the best in up and coming bands whilst the new Jack Rocks stage showcased bands having their first festival experiences. Most definitely the best place to look to the future. The Alternative stage had a great line-up of comedy and alternative acts. And The Lock-Up/The Pit brought the noise with lots of great sets from the likes of Asking Alexandria, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Sunday special guests, You Me At Six.
With four stages at the festival, BBC definitely brought a lot of great highlights. Radio 1’s Dance Stage was packed through-out the weekend and the Radio 1Xtra stage brought in some fantastic imports such as critics favourite Anderson Paak. The stage was a success despite some last minute drop outs. BBC Introducing was on hand to showcase the future and acts like Happy Accidents and Strong Asian Mothers did just that.
What stole the show consistently over the weekend for us though was the Radio 1/NME stage which curated a stunning line-up over the three days. Friday’s performance from all girl punk group Savages was one to remember, with Jehnny Beth spending ample time in the crowd. Sunday saw legendary hip hop star Nas take to a packed stage to play through all of his hits. He even stuck about longer than he was supposed to in order to give the crowd as many hits as he could.
However it was Saturday night that the stage acted not just as a safe haven from the falling rain, but as the best choice of the festival. Twenty One Pilots played the best set of the festival to a capacity tent, energetic and full of cool props and moments for both members of the band. Jack U then followed up with over an hour of wall to wall hits and confetti from Skrillex and Diplo, the two best in the game.
Despite being marred with a lot of muck and rain, mostly on the Saturday evening, the festival managed to pull off a great weekend, staking its claim for being the biggest and best rock and alternative festival of the year. The headliners and undercard both spot on, and the fans all enjoying themselves, we’re all now sitting counting down the days until we can go back to Braham Park.