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Carl Godwin's Leeds Review

Carl Godwin's Leeds festival review for Safeconcerts.

Carl Godwin is a media student wanting to work in the business and Leeds festival provided the perfect opportunity to showcase the work he can do.
When I discovered I was going to Leeds fest this year I was ecstatic, somehow I’d managed to live my life thus far without attending a single festival.
The line-up was the stuff of legends so I knew I was in for a memorable weekend, but I was no fool, I’d heard the stories from friends who’d been to festivals in the past- toilets that appear to be from a third world country, food and alcohol prices that will have you bankrupt within a few days and the fact that general hygiene and any form of comfort somehow disappear for three or four days straight, and yet they always go back for more as do tens of thousands of others. All in all I was apprehensive and did have the foggiest what to expect, I was just looking forward to meeting other like minded people and discovering bands I wouldn’t normally pay to see.   

We took a coach from Sunderland to Leeds on Thursday afternoon, now a normally journey to Leeds from my house takes around two and a half hours but thanks to Leeds festival traffic it took a mind numbing FOUR.AND.A.HALF.HOURS. I could have been in Warrington in that space of time or a good part of the way to London! I would also like to point out that we drove past the festival site and then into Leeds city centre which was just salt in the wound after a journey of that length. After we arrived in the coach station however it was plain sailing getting to the festival camp site and I found the shuttle bus system that had been put in place really efficient, a full weekend pass was £17 pound and defiantly worked out cheaper and value for money, plus with a shuttle coming every ten minutes there wasn’t much waiting around.  

By the time we got to the campsite it was already pretty dark, now I’ve never been camping in my life so of course my friend had brought an army issue tent with no instructions, it must have been 6ft by 6ft but had about eight tent poles to thread through it, it was like a life size game of K-Plunk for gods sake, but somehow we managed to get it up in the dark.  Afterwards we had a wander round and the sheer size of the festival was so intimidating! But the atmosphere seemed really good, before long I decide to call it a night in preparation for Friday’s music.

Friday was mental from the get go, the guest area toilets were still in pretty good shape but the self preservation instinct had kicked in with people stealing toilet rolls in preparation for the ‘Sunday shortage’.
I naively thought I’d be ok when the time came, that was my first mistake haha.
 Leeds festival this year had some strange cuisine on offer and I totally bought into the novelty of it with my first meal of the weekend being an Ostrich burger, complete with fried onions that had been soaked in Jack Daniels. At £6 a burger I hoped it was worth it-and it was, if not just for the novelty, for some reason I expected ostrich to be white meat but it was more like a high end steak and it seemed to sell well with everyone.   

The first few bands I saw really put me in a good mood for the rest of the festival. The Futureheads, from Sunderland, really put on a good show and I’m surprised at just how well received they were, the interaction with the crowd was really good and Barry Hyde had everyone doing what he called the ‘bouncy bounce’ dance, it was just really silly and good fun.

3OH!3 were performing in the NME tent and really I got the impression it wasn’t about the music, again it was just about getting into the festival spirit and letting go and having a dance. Whether or not you where into that kind of music I think anyone could have enjoyed it and the vibe.

The guest bar was packed full on Friday night with loads of people watching the main stage bands on the T.V in the press tent to escape from the cold, that was until the power cut that soon put the high spirits to an end, cutting off the DJ set right in the middle of ‘Billy Jean’ by Michael Jackson.  
After venturing into the dance tent early on Saturday and not being really impressed by the set’s on offer especially the disorganised and mediocre set by Holy Fuck, instead of reviewing what’s on offer at Leeds as was our brief, we decide to tough it out all day at the main stage in the hopes of getting a good place for Blink 182, although the prospect of 6 hours without food or a toilet break didn’t seem all that fun, the music on offer was brilliant and made it pretty easy to lose track of time. I didn’t really think that much of bands such as All Time Low and You Me At Six the music was well performed but a tad too ‘scene’ for my tastes and I didn’t really get a feel for what they where about as a band or their identity.

everyone knew they where in for one hell of a show, the crowd kept splitting off, leaving poor sap’s like me dodging circle pits that started too appear from every side plus the half full bottles of coke and cups of beer that where flying threw the air.
Limp Bizkit were a huge turning point for me personally and I lot of people I think, the crowd went absolutely insane especially when Wes Borland took to the stage, painted black and sporting black hot pants, a leather jacket trimmed with fur, a long black wig and joker-eqse make-up.  From the effort Borland had put into his appearance (as he always does) everyone knew they where in for one hell of a show, the crowd kept splitting off, leaving poor sap’s like me dodging circle pits that started too appear from every side plus the half full bottles of coke and cups of beer that where flying threw the air. Durst did nothing to help the situation by telling everyone to ‘grab a lady friend and put her on your shoulders!’ the whole crowd was going mental and I loved every second of it!

Cypress hill’s set was pretty laid back with B-Real even smoking a joint and sharing it with a camera man. The relaxed vibe was really cool but it was clear that the crowd was still really into the set and the DJ solo blew everybody away and set the pace again.

Blink 182 was and experience and a half and really stood out to me throughout the whole weekend. Amazing, but bloody brutal. The set itself was something really special, the banter between Mark and Tom and the whole band with the crowd made it feel as though we were all old friends getting together and reminiscing especially whilst their biggest hits where being performed. However, being the pratt I am I was at the front of the 60,000 strong crowd, I expected to have a mind blowing experience, instead I found myself in survival mode, bent and twisted, crushed up against six or seven complete strangers, unable to move any limbs. People who’d passed out were being dragged across my head and it was like finding myself in the seventh circle of hell. Travis Barker’s drum solo sealed the deal and only made the crowd situation worse as people pushed and shoved to get a better view of the showman spinning round, strapped into his seat and still not missing a beat.    

I was unable to focus on the other acts showcased on Sunday, so it was easy to abuse my press pass privileges for the day once again.
After surviving the first few days of Leeds fest I woke up to a breakfast of Strongbow and Monster Munch, I was quite excited to see Guns N’ Roses later that day but apprehensive as to whether they’d even turn up! As a huge fan of the band (or whatever remains of it) I was unable to focus on the other acts showcased on Sunday, so it was easy to abuse my press pass privileges for the day once again.  I knew I had to see The Midnight Beast as im a huge fan of the trio. I arrived around five minutes before the start of the set naively thinking that I’d still get a good spot, only to find that the alternative tent had been descended upon by a good few hundred people. The set was a bit childish and silly but good fun and certainly had people laughing.

The set by Dizzee rascal stood out from the other main stage acts such as NOFX and Lostprophets, with his upbeat, Feelgood set. It really felt as though we’d all left the cold, slightly damp field in Leeds and found ourselves on holiday in Ibiza, which provided a nice metal escape for someone who hadn’t showered in there nights.

After one of the most outrageous and controversial performances of the summer at Reading festival. The set by Guns N’ Roses at Leeds seemed amazing in comparison. Ok, so Axl showed himself up yet again by being around twenty minutes late and spent a few minutes blasting promoters before he left, ‘good night and stay safe, but to the promoters and the cops….Fuck you!’ which did make him look like an idiot for a short space of time but looking at the show on the whole it seemed  he really did learn a few lessons from the previous nights performance. Opening with ‘Welcome to the jungle’ was a good move which reminded the crowd why we where there in the first place and had one or two people climbing tree’s at the back end of the field just to get a better view. Rose was the only frontman we saw in the whole weekend that bothered with a costume changes and an encore that consisted of an awesome rendition of paradise city.

Sure the band we all saw that night isn’t so much ‘Guns N’ Roses’ as ‘Axl Rose and Co’ and sadly we’ll properly never see the real return of a band that once seemed ready to take on the world but after the joke of a performance at this years Reading it really was a worth while and memorable performance to many of the crowd. Although I doubt we’ll be seeing another UK festival headlined by ‘Axl Rose and Co’ anytime soon.    

I really enjoyed Leeds fest 2010, it really had it all and lived up to my hopes for my first ever festival, If I learnt anything its that festivals work better with large groups of friends as any event that’s on the scale of Leeds really loses any sense of community and like-mindedness which is a shame especially when you return to find that the content of your tent has been thrown into a huge fire full of deodorant cans, sleeping bags and tins of backed beans.

Please feel free to contact Safeconcerts if you are thinking of using Carl as a reviewer.
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Carl Godwin
2nd September 2010
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Carl Godwin's Leeds Review
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