It’s been a week since we pitched our tents at Leeds fest and our minds are still reeling from the experience of what felt like unbridled freedom after being locked away for the best part of a year. Together we’ve been reminiscing over some of our favourite memories from 2021’s offerings, and it’s only right to give an honourable nod to the things that complete the festival memories that aren’t the music.
1. THE LIGHTS
Now give me a chance before you think I’m getting a bit airy-fairy before the article even starts. Anyone who’s camped at Leeds fest can tell you that when evening falls, the sight of those string lights covering Bramham Park truly is a sight to behold. When combined with the flashing lights from Piccadilly Party and the trees being illuminated at the LS23 stage (formerly the Relentless stage for you old-timers), Blackpool Illuminations really gets a run for it’s money. When thinking over the weekend you’ve had with your mates, undoubtedly many memories will have been made under the cover of those lights and their presence genuinely shrouds each memory in a happy glow (forgive me for that one, couldn’t resist).
2. THE SMELL OF CAMPFIRES
This is something that genuinely clings on for dear life after you’ve left Leeds fest. Thought it was a good idea necking a full crate around the campfire with your mates after the music finished? Aye, it probably was, but good luck trying to get that smell of burn out of your denim jacket now. If anyone finds a successful way to truly cleanse a jacket that was present for a full weekend of campfire dwelling, let us know. I’ve still got a jacket that has a tinge of the scent from my 2014 visit, and no, I’m not a dirty bastard that never does laundry either.
3. THE DISCO SHED
A local institution at Leeds fest. Look at that line up for crying out loud. Yes, this may have a bit to do with the tunes, but ultimately the Disco Shed provides a top time to boogie and work off the calories from living on a diet of cheesy chips and lager for a weekend. The Disco Shed has been at Leeds fest ever since I started going and it’s something I always look out for just because it makes me laugh every time. Big up Dave Willibobs and Alex from Wigan! (For ultimate ‘shedonism’ check out @discoshed on Instagram).
4. SHIT SHOPS
I love a shit shop and consider myself an advocate – there’s nowt I’d rather waste my time doing than trawling through the countless shit shops at Leeds fest. The most popular item this year seemed to be the stunning Pickle Rick bucket hat. However it didn’t stop there – vintage shops stocking ‘2020 leavers’ hoodies? The shit shops at Leeds fest GENUINELY had those (honestly, who’s buying that shit and who had the audacity to stock those in a ‘vintage’ shop?) No doubt most campers have gone home with a relic from their visit. My booty from 2021? A massive Jägermeister utility jacket which I can’t wait to wear to my 9-5 so I can feel somewhat rock n roll during the mundane ongoings of reality, along with a blanket that was sold to me as the lushest and biggest thing I’d ever snuggle under but in fact was the size of a hand towel with the plushness of a dishcloth.
5. THE BAR PRICES
Yeah, that shit will stick with you for a while after Leeds fest is over. You know why? Because you’ll be skint. That’s it, that’s the deal. If you want to drink in the arena then you’re gonna have to accept that you’ll be paying London bar prices. 6 English pounds for a pint of Carlsberg severely wounded me, but could I be arsed going back to camp each time I wanted a bev? No. Was not drinking an option? Also no. I’m on my holidays man, give me a break. However I still reserve my right to whinge about it – I am a Northerner after all.
Words by Anastasia Dennison-Greening