Culture, Music

Experience: Diary of a student music journalist at at Leeds Festival 2022

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Set to be another incredible year of live music and unrivalled memories, aAh! Music Editor Camilla Whitfield shares her experience covering Leeds Festival 2022.

The dedication of the behind-the-scenes Leeds Festival teams is apparent each year. From the crew building stages, to those working in the press tent and artist liaisons, it’s a well-organised and well-oiled machine. The friendly atmosphere on top makes it a joy to be back for my second year covering this iconic festival.

Here is a run down of our weekend at Leeds Festival 2022.

Thursday 25th August

Perhaps packing more than necessary, it was an easy journey to reach the right car park and get our tents set up. We were sorted with more than enough time to head to the Festival Republic stage and see the artists they’d curated for the evening. Our stand-out band of the night was indie band, Lime Garden. Special mention has to go out to bubblegum-pop artist Sofy for her track ‘Strawberry Milkshake’ and indie-rock outfit The Royston Club too. Headliners Cassia also completely captured the festival vibe with their easy-listening tracks. It was the perfect start to a weekend and certainly wet everyone’s appetites.

Friday 26th August

The first day of the festival saw the correct weather prediction of pure sunshine which lasted the whole weekend – thankfully. Kicking off the festival with the wonderful alt-rock artist, Willow, her ‘rock opera’ style was truly spine-tingling. Making their way from Australia, listening to DMA’S’ track, ‘Lay Down’ was a highlight, especially after previously interviewing Johnny Took twice.

Trying the festival food is always the goal. In hospitality camping the best chicken goujons and chips but make no mistake – they were the typical festival food prices but worth every penny. There were also daily free McDonald’s medium fries in the guest area. There’s even a reel on their McDonald’s UK TikTok and Instagram, where we’re sporting stylish red shirts with Big Macs all over them.

The first interview of the weekend was with the genre-bending duo, Hybrid Minds, which was backstage at the BBC Dance Stage. It was inspiring to hear them talk about the future of DnB and what they want their music to be. 

Ending the night with sets from Halsey and The 1975, it was the perfect end to the first day. Seeing Halsey giving their all even with food poisoning only proved that they are the biggest rockstar in the industry. The 1975 may have stepped in at the last minute but you’d never have known it from their set, a band with a cult-like following for a reason.

Saturday 27th August

Beginning the day with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, it wasn’t long before Frank Carter was vertically upwards in the crowd with his legs in the air. The unpredictable nature of their gigs is what makes them so exciting to see live. 

Scene Queen had been on my list for a while and her ‘Twerkle Pit’ is legendary among her fans, we’re definitely planning to see her again soon.

After the daily health kick at the McDonald’s van, it was time to Interview Cleopatrick inside the press tent. A band that speaks so eloquently and is so passionate about their music, we can’t wait to hear their new music as soon as it’s released.

A set with Wavey Davey is never one to be missed, Glass Animals are whimsically creative, ‘Heat Waves’ was captured by the masses on their phones, likely to be replayed until their next show. You couldn’t not see Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Hot Girl’ set. It was a masterclass in empowerment and how to own a stage, even if that does mean running fashionably late.

Ending the night with two artists which couldn’t be more different, both Dave and Fever 333 showed exactly why they were invited as headliners for their respective stages. Dave inviting a fan to do ‘Thiago Silva’ highlighted the community spirit of festivals. The end of Fever 333’s set was also incredible. They thrive on the passion of their audience and were seen jumping off amps and scaling the scaffolding of the tent. 

Sunday 28th August

It wasn’t long before it was time for the final day of the weekend, however, there were so many artists to look forward to before it could be over. Another McDonald’s trip was on the agenda, as well as an interview with Kyra Robinson and Katie Pepper in the Guest Bar. After successfully breaking into the TikTok and social media scene with their focus on alt music, it was a really interesting conversation. After the interview, we also got to see part of De’Wayne’s set and I had the pleasure of interviewing him outside the press tent later in the day. He’s definitely the one to watch in the alt-rock scene, he’s already toured with Jessie J, and collaborated with Grandson, and Good Charlotte. 

After the return of the vegan doughnuts, we finally saw Cassyette and Kid Brunswick. Both of them gave incredible performances, however, hearing their collaboration, ‘Behind Closed Doors’ was incredible live. It may have been our third time seeing Wolf Alice this festival season but you could never get bored of their performances – ‘Play The Greatest Hits’ was a perfect, raucous riot.

A highlight of the festival was finally seeing Bring Me The Horizon, which saw Oli Sykes high-five everyone at the barrier, including myself. Listing off hits old and new, it was worth sacrificing our position for Arctic Monkeys. Alex Turner gave a show as expected and despite no fireworks, the songs that were arranged differently for the live were exceptional enough in their own right. We finished the night dancing to Lizzo’s ‘Juice’ and AC/DC’s ‘Highway To Hell’, in the Guest Bar before it was time to sleep on the floor one last time.

Monday 29th August

My third festival and last festival of the summer, was bittersweet once it was over.  I was missing sleeping in a proper bed but Leeds Festival is an experience like no other. Hopefully, we’ll all be united in the fields again next year surrounded by our friends and discovering the best new bands and old favourites. Stopping off for a Greggs Pumpkin Spice Latte at Banbury Services, autumn might be in the air but soon summer will be around the corner again.

About the author / 

Camilla Whitfield

Fourth Year BA English with Overseas Study | Music Editor | Manchester & Leipzig | Music & Gig Enthusiast

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