Tuning up for Live at Leeds

by Sallie Gregson

Last year’s festival season was a total wash out – the dance music festival Creamfields was even called off because the grounds were flooded. Glastonbury weekend tickets for this year cost a minimum of £205 and the price of Reading and Leeds has risen, yet again, to £202.

Not adding the costs of travel, accommodation and food, the festival organisers are asking customers to part with a lot of money – and even then nobody can guarantee the weather won’t spoil everything.

More and more people are looking to smaller, inner city festivals as they provide a cheaper alternative to see the same brilliant bands without the muddy fields and extortionate prices.

The schedule for Live at Leeds festival was released this week and has the UK’s most exciting new bands and artists performing at various venues across the city centre over the bank holiday.

Band booker for the event, Simon Stevens, 32, said: “It is not as much of a financial commitment as a major festival. People can buy a ticket, come on the train from where they live around Leeds for a day and still get to see loads of great music.”

Now in its seventh year, Live at Leeds aims to highlight the best upcoming local bands and brings national talent to the city, all for £22.50. Previous years have seen Mumford & Sons, Ed Sheeran, The Maccabees, Hurts and Bombay Bicycle Club grace the stages of Leeds venues.

Headliners this year include local heroes The Pigeon Detectives, Radio 1 favourites Everything Everything, AlunaGeorge, and The 1975. Other acts sure to draw a crowd of music lovers are singer-songwriter Laura Mvula, Brummie band Peace and the huge dance act Rudimental.

The Vaccines will play Millennium Square on the Sunday as part of the festival, but tickets for that are sold separately.

On Friday May 3 the festival hosts ‘The Unconference’ at Leeds Music College, a free event which provides a chance for aspiring artists to quiz industry experts.

Live at Leeds booker Simon Stevens said: “This festival is about the city, it wouldn’t be here without the ground bed of local talent in Leeds.”

He added: “Tastes have expanded over the years because the ways we listen to music have changed, it’s easier to stumble across something now. If you are into metal, you might hear something folk and be into that too.”

There is only one full day of music so it is likely some of the acts are going to overlap so careful planning is needed to see all the buzz bands such as King Krule and MS MR.

The different venues are widely spread out across the city from The Cockpit to the Brudenell Social Club which makes getting to and from each show in time more difficult.

Despite it being mostly indoors, the whole event has a real festival vibe to it. It’s light-hearted, rather than defining itself as a serious music industry only event, Live at Leeds is about having a good time and seeing new bands. 

For more information visit http://www.liveatleeds.com

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