“A festival with something suitable for everyone”


Having never been more thankful for some sleep, after a midnight coach journey from Nottingham straight after Meadowlands, we were ready to do it all over again. Today’s location was the absolutely beautiful historic Temple Newsam estate, dating from as far back as the 1500s, for the first part of Live At Leeds Festival 2022. Notably the first year that the festival has been divided in two, fear not if this was unfortunately one you had to miss, part two is due to come in October, with Live At Leeds: In The City taking place across multiple venues in Leeds, headlined by notable acts such as: Pale Waves, Baby Queen, and Will Joseph Cook

After securing our wristbands, and making our way through security, we made a quick stop to check out Tom A. Smith, who was kicking off the day on the Dork Presents stage. Lined up to support Elton John at Hyde Park at the end of the month, 2022 is definitely shaping up to be one to remember for the Sunderland-based musician. Although we only stopped by briefly, as we had to go and pick up our credentials, I was over the moon to catch my favourite song of his, ‘Boltcutters’, before we did. Having been fortunate enough to have seen Tom a fair few times this year, most recently at Liverpool’s Sound City, it’s been truly amazing to see just how much his on-stage confidence has grown, and I absolutely cannot wait to see what’s in store for him. 

Following a trip into the guest area of the festival to drop off our equipment and acquire ourselves some cider, we headed back out to the Main Stage to watch Lauran Hibberd. Despite only having listened to her material a couple of times myself, her sheer on-stage energy was just pure fun. With her debut album, ‘Garageband Superstar’, due for release later in August this year, followed by a UK tour across the end of September, she will definitely be one to look out for in the months to come. 



Following Lauran’s set, I was extremely keen to catch a glimpse of the merch stand before going to catch Alfie Templeman, where I became the proud owner of yet another hoodie. Now having a proper chance to survey the layout of the festival, it was certainly an interesting one. Located on a slope with an absolutely insane incline, alongside an incredible array of food stands, it was a perfect set-up to be able to get a decent view of the Main Stage from wherever you were sitting. I have to say though, I did feel a lot of sympathy for whoever was in charge of setting up. I think one of the things I loved most about the festival itself, though, was the diverse age-range of the audience. From children to adults, it was certainly a festival with something suitable for everyone. 

With Alfie Templeman now due to perform imminently, we were extremely keen to establish our positions in the audience, as all we could see were hoards of people running down the hill to Main Stage, having just seen Cassia dominate DIY Stage. Having just released his latest full-length studio album, ‘Mellow Moon’, at the end of May, I was really really excited to hear his setlist. I have absolutely no idea what his songs are laced with but they are just so. freaking. INFECTIOUS. I think he’ll be holding an automatic spot on my Spotify playlists for a very long time to come. With ‘Happiness In Liquid Form’ and ‘3D Feelings’ arguably the songs that the crowd were most eager to hear, ‘Candyfloss’ absolutely has to take the cake for being my new favourite. Although currently on tour in Australia, Alfie is due to make appearances at other UK festivals this festival season, so if you are lucky enough to get the chance to hear him live, I beg you, do not pass it up. 



Next up on the Main Stage was one of the acts that I will proudly hold my hands up and say I was most excited to see that day. Having just returned from a three month stint in the US with girl in red (I will forever be jealous of anyone who got to attend one of those shows) and headlining a completely sold-out O2 Forum Kentish Town, I absolutely jumped at the chance to see Holly Humberstone. I discovered ‘Scarlett’ at the beginning of the year and have honestly not looked back since. It’s such a beautifully raw song, yet simultaneously has the capacity to effortlessly hook you in. With just her and her drummer on stage, the amount of devotion felt by the crowd could not have been stronger, and I was lucky enough to have been right in the middle of it. I’m really excited to mention that since I’ve started writing this review, Holly has actually just announced a UK tour at the end of November, with tickets now on-sale. There is no doubt in my mind that these will get snapped up quickly, so if you’ve had seeing her in the back of your mind for a while, now is your golden opportunity. You absolutely will not regret it.



Now here’s the thing, it’s not all just lies, lies, lies, lies. When London-based alternative-rock band Sports Team are on the line-up, you know you’re going to be in for a good time. Having seen the band open for The Wombats at The O2  back in April, I was extremely excited to see how they would fare in a festival setting. These guys absolutely know how to boost the serotonin. Consisting of front-man, Alex Rice; rhythm guitarist, Rob Knaggs; lead guitarist, Henry Young; bassist, Oli Dewdney; drummer, Al Greenwood, and keyboardist, Ben Macks, this band radiates nothing but pure chaotic energy, precisely why they were a perfect match for Live at Leeds. 



Figuring it was now about time to switch things up a bit and explore some of the other stages, we trekked up the hill to DIY in order to catch HONNE. Having only heard their song ‘Someone That Loves You’, featuring Izzy Bizu, they ended up being a very, very, pleasant surprise for me. Definitely a band for fans of Rex Orange County, the vibes were immaculate, and the band were definitely deserving of a bigger crowd. That said though, there was a group beside me doing a flawless synchronised dance routine, who absolutely deserve the prize for best festival-attendees of the day. Going back to listen to the band now, I have properly fallen in love with their song ‘Location Unknown’ featuring the wonderful BEKA. I can honestly say that I wish I’d been in a better position to appreciate them properly; however, another band was beginning to set up on the Main Stage. 



Legging it back down the hill, it was now time for one of my favourite bands, Sea Girls. Alex will vouch for me on just how stoked I was for this one. Despite having been a fan since the release of their song ‘Violet’ (an absolute tune) in 2019, I had never had the opportunity to see these guys live. Until now. I genuinely did not think I could love this band more, but I was absolutely proven wrong. Having just released their latest single, ‘DNA’, at the beginning of May, it was nice to hear something from Sea Girls within a park for a change, given their songs are always being smashed out of them. After singing ‘Call Me Out’ (and ‘Violet’) at the absolute top of my lungs with the crowd around me, I met up with Alex, who had by this time left the photo pit, and we sat up on the hill to watch as the band kicked off ‘Ready For More’. This is perhaps my favourite Sea Girls song of all, and if you haven’t ever given it a listen, this is one instance I think I could forgive you for clicking off the article to open Spotify. If there’s any band that knows how to write an incredible bridge, it’s Sea Girls, and this song embodies that statement perfectly. With a tour lined up at the end of the year, I could not think of a better band to see out 2022 on a high. 



I’ll confess now, we did end up ultimately abandoning Sea Girls in the name of The Snuts. Having been introduced to the band through months of hearing the ultimate feel-good ‘That’s All It Is’ on FIFA 21 through lockdown, it was impossible for me to not fall in love with the West-Lothian band. Interestingly enough, despite legends such as The Vaccines and Bombay Bicycle Club headlining the MTV Main Stage, it was The Snuts who ended up being the true dark horse of the festival. Dominating the Hilltop Stage, the band completely understood the assignment, knowing just how to hype up the audience from the start. Bringing out hits from their 2021 debut album, ‘W.L.’, such as ‘Punk’, truly captured the devotion of the band’s fan-base, being the ONLY band of the day that I witnessed to not only have a fantastic mosh pit, but also crowd surfing. I think what I love most about this band is the variety in the genre of their songs. Transitioning from the heaviness of ‘Punk’, to the slow vibes that characterise ‘Somebody Loves You’, before rounding off their set with the absolute, and arguably most awaited for, tune, ‘Glasgow’. This band is absolutely one for all, and I cannot wait for the opportunity to see them play live again.



After wolfing down half an incredible wrap (the other half unfortunately lost to the ground) it was now time for the penultimate act of the day, multi-national band, The Vaccines. I honestly don’t think I even need to introduce these cult indie legends. With hit after hit released during a career spanning over 12 years, they were truly the perfect band to keep the crowd energised for Bombay Bicycle Club. Although my favourite song of theirs going into the day had been ‘If You Wanna’, I came away completely in love with some of the tracks that can be found on their latest 2021 release, ‘Back In Love City’, namely, ‘El Paso’ and ‘Headphones Baby’. What truly made the set, though, was definitely the energy of front-man, Justin Hayward-Young. The crowd absolutely THRIVED off it, and it was an absolute honour to have been there to see it. Rounding off their set with ‘All In White’ was the perfect finale song, singing and watching from the top of the hill, my heart was feeling extremely full. 



With the sun now completely down, it was down to Bombay Bicycle Club to bring Live At Leeds In The Park 2022 to its ultimate conclusion. I’ll be honest, with a break-up announced in 2016, I had thought I’d arrived too late to the party, only having properly discovered the band just before the first lockdown. I have never been more pleased to say I was wrong. Although ‘Eat, Sleep, Wake’ will forever remain a favourite, it’s ‘Lights Out, Words Gone’, that owns a special part of my heart. It’s a beautifully lyrical song, and if I hadn’t been working, I would have definitely been dancing around the field (dragging Alex along behind me, no doubt). However, whilst definitely having strong songs, they provided a very heavy contrast to the high-energy brought by their predecessors, Sports Team, and The Vaccines. After beginning with arguably their most popular song, it was hard to not notice the throngs of people that had started to make their way to the exit. Although undoubtedly an incredibly talented band, after speaking to fellow festival-goers, there seemed to be a fair amount of doubt cast over whether they were the best fit to round off the night. 



With part one of Live At Leeds 2022 now behind us, my only thoughts as I walk back through the exit gates are that I absolutely cannot wait to be back at Temple Newsam again.