Culture, Music, News

Leeds Festival 2023 – Saturday review: a day of eye-catching performances and nostalgic experiences

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Featured image: Georgina Hurdsfield @tinyraindropphotography


Saturday morning meant time to recover from the night before and prepare for another incredible day of live music and fun. With Sam Fender as this day’s headliner, the excitement could be felt throughout the campsites with speakers playing his tunes from as early as 9am. 

First up on the Main Stage was the North London rapper known for his ad-lib reputation: Tion Wayne. Despite the crowd predominantly those of a younger age, the vibes pulled through and this was obvious due to the constant opening of mosh pits around us. Following his set at Reading Festival, we expected a special guest after Aitch was introduced to the stage and to our luck, we were surprised with Brighton’s very own Arrdee who performed ‘Body’ with Tion, and then his own song ‘Flowers’, which was easily a highlight of the entire weekend. He certainly shook off festival-goers previous night’s hangovers and set the day off to a great start. 

Credit: Linda Borscika

Over at the Festival Republic tent, there was quite a change of scenery as Knocked Loose took to the stage, supported by an army of fans in the crowd. Hundreds of metalheads joined as a collective, almost as though they had appeared from thin air, as the American band tore through an impressive 11-song setlist which included the iconic song ‘Counting Worms’. This caused scenes of chaos all the way to the back of the tent. Huge circle pits broke out throughout almost every song as frontman Bryan Garris encouraged people to join them, and their set ended with a remarkable few hundred crowd-surfers. 

To a lot of people’s surprise, Trippie Redd unfortunately had to cancel his performances at both Reading and Leeds, which was a shame as he hasn’t played the UK since his tour in 2022. Luckily, Lil Tjay was announced as a secret set following his lack of appearance just the day before, when an announcement came up just seconds before his set was due to start saying he hadn’t arrived at the site – these artists have similar sounds, so hopefully fans weren’t too upset!

Fans ready to see Sam Fender. Credit: Georgina Hurdsfield @tinyraindropphotography

Back over at the Main Stage, You Me At Six gave Leeds Festival a short yet sweet 7-song performance that picked the vibe back up from the small amount of rain we had just been given. Having not listened to much of their recent releases, I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this indie rock band. The four-piece took to the stage confidently with an eye-catching stage presence, keeping the attention of not only their fans but people passing by, too. The band stuck with a themed red visual aesthetic that kept the audience’s eyes glued to not only the band, but the screens as well. Getting the chance to see their hit ‘Underdog’ live was a nostalgic experience that couldn’t have been provided by anyone else! 

Credit: Matt Eachus

The moment that the Geordie heart-throb Sam Fender was announced for 2023’s line-up was the moment I knew it would be a weekend not to miss out on. After a number of successful appearances at festivals earlier this Summer, it was obvious we were in for a memorable performance. He took to the stage promptly at 9:20pm with a setlist bursting at its seams with hit after hit. Songs like ‘The Borders’, ‘Spit Of You’ and ‘That Sound’ took the audience on an emotional rollercoaster and even had members of my group tearing up at times. Despite being towards the back of the crowd for the latter part of the set, the atmosphere was roaring, and people were dancing in each and every direction. His live set was gripping from start to finish whether Fender was stood on his own with only his guitar or with a full band, pyrotechnics and a finale of a firework display. It was great to see how much it meant to the Newcastle singer by the look on his face throughout his show, and it’ll definitely be one that sticks around in my memory for a long time. 

Every day spent at this Festival is a reminder of how incredible these weekends are, and the atmosphere will never get old.

Credit: Georgina Hurdsfield @tinyraindropphotography

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