Leeds Festival day one highlights: Kings Of Leon rock Bramham Park

It felt like four seasons in one day, but nothing the weather could throw at revellers could dampen spirits on the opening day of the 2018 Leeds Festival.

Saturday, 25th August 2018, 12:07 pm
Updated Saturday, 25th August 2018, 12:15 pm
Kings Of Leon's Caleb Followill on stage at the Leeds Festival.
Kings Of Leon's Caleb Followill on stage at the Leeds Festival.

While the weather went from summer to winter in the space of a few hours with some heavy showers thrown in, the Bramham Park field stayed intact from mud thanks to some good preparation work and there was enough to keep all the festival goers warm.

A varied line-up across all the stages ensured there was a feel good factor throughout on what could turn out to be the strongest of the three days of this year's event.

There has been criticism of the line-up ahead of the event with an over abundance of rap and hip-hop acts and substantially less rock and indie bands than has traditionally played here, but the eclectic feel to the first day proved a success.

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Justin Young on the main stage with The Vaccines.

For fans of the traditional, Kings Of Leon provided the main rock element with a main stage headlining show that took a little while to warm up, but finished with a bang with most of their most popular songs included in an impressive second half of their near to-hour set.

Earlier, Billy Talent also rocked the place. The main field was the place to be also for some of the best in modern indie with The Vaccines and Courteeners both playing crowd-pleasing shows that invited singalongs and plenty of dancing.

A big crowd gathered at the main stage too for a set by rapper J Hus to indicate the popularity of this kind of act these days.

There were plenty of highlights elsewhere, particularly with brilliant Aussie band the DMA's and their classic festival friendly anthems. They pulled one of the day's biggest crowds on the BBC Radio One stage despite their mid afternoon slot and it was just a pity their set could not have been a bit longer, but there's always next time with a slot higher up the bill surely.

Frank Carter, who played a secret set with his Rattlesnakes on The Pit stage.

The considerably more raucous Slaves had a big crowd involved with their highly energetic set on the same stage while the changes in musical style were rung here with DJ Wilkinson's live set and another DJ Diplo headlining. At the start of the day Leeds band The Marsicans entertained and showed they are an emerging talent.

The Festval Repubic Stage struggled to pull in the big crowds, which was a shame with some top songwriting talent on show here from the likes of Tom Grennan, Isaac Gracie and Lewis Capaldi.

No such problems over at The Pit with a "secret" set by Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes proving the highlight of a day of guitar riffs, circle pits and music of the heavier kind. Hollywood Undead headlined here with The Bronx and Milk Teeth other highlights.

The BBC Radio One Dance Stage proved more popular than ever with Hannah Wants and My Nu Leng providing alternatives to the earthier stuff on show elsewhere in the evening.

Courteeners singer Liam Fray on the main stage.

This stage opened impressively with a great set from Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly in their return to the festival after 10 years away. Not really dance music as we know it these days with a brass section and violin accompaniment, but classy certainly and a flying start to the three days' entertainment.

No visit to the Leeds festival is ever complete without a trip to the comedy tent where Chris Ramsey attracted the biggest crowd and raised the biggest laughs on this day. Asian stand-up Tez Ilyas and Dane Baptiste provided refreshing alternative outlooks and Tom Allen performed a smart routine while American star of 30 Rock Judah Friedlander was sharp and inventive with a great rapport with the crowd in a set in which he took questions on what policies he would have if he was president. PC it wasn't, funny it was, however.

The Leeds Festival continues today with Fall Out Boy headlining the main stage and other highlights likely to be from Travis Scott, Wolf Alice, Nothing But Thieves, The Wombats and The Used.

James Newbigging, lead singer with Leeds band The Marsicans.
Thomas O'Dell on stage with the DMA's.
Comedian Tom Allen, on the Alternative Stage
Judah Friedlander, providing the laughs on the Alternative Stage.
Comedy headliner Chris Ramsey on The Alternative Stage.