Leeds Festival starts in two weeks and while everyone is getting prepared sorting out travel, camping gear and food, the more important question is who will you go see?
With so many acts to see, we've put together a handy guide to help you decide on your weekend schedule, from local artists and must-see underground bands, to the big name acts you can't afford to miss.
When: Main Stage, 12pm on Friday
Leeds-based alternative band are back in their hometown opening up the whole weekend on the Main Stage. They spent the last 10 years touring and recording three albums and are now in the process of making new music so, who knows, we might have a sneak peek on the weekend. They take their influences from the likes of Nirvana, Weezer and Smashing Pumpkins but also incorporate the sound of bands like The Beatles and The Beach Boys.
When: BBC Music Introducing Stage, 12pm on Friday
Emerging from a damp terraced house basement, this Leeds four-piece band draws influence from the likes of Johnny Cash, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and The National in order to weld together a blended sound of americana and alternative rock. If you also throw in poetic lyrics and dynamic riffs you have yourself an incredible band that draws you into a gloomy, raw reality. Not bad for a band only formed in late 2016 but yet have already made an impact.
When: BBC Radio 1 Stage at 12:50pm on Friday
Indie meets pop in the form of Leeds band, Marsicans. Formed by three classmates and a friend in the local music scene, they released their first song Something English in 2014 and have since been earning a reputation in the British music force. Compared to the likes of The Beach Boys and Bombay Bicycle Club, Marsicans have worked relentlessly hard and have now made it to the second biggest stage at the festival.
Sounds Like A Storm
When:the BBC Radio 1 Stage, 12pm on Saturday
In their own words; “Youngsters redefining the rules.” A rock ‘n’ roll quartet that focuses on hard work and graft, and within under two years of being together have already become known and respected throughout the UK for their dedicated work ethic, articulated sound and galvanising live shows. Taking influences from the likes of Oasis and Arctic Monkeys, this band is going somewhere and fast.
When: BBC Music Introducing Stage, 12pm on Saturday
Coming into prominence in local music blogs and news, Tranqua Lite released their first recorded single Tempered Ties in October last year which was praised for its “cocktail of a sound” with a combination of “soft angelic harmonies with beefy, bold bass lines”. Self described as art-rock with an eclectic sound, the band take their influences from the likes of Kasabian and Pulp.
When: BBC Music Introducing Stage, 12:40pm on Saturday
A Leeds slacker rock band with grunge and psych elements, they burst onto the scene in early 2016 with their first single Atomis. 2017 saw them play memorable shows at Live at Leeds and Liverpool Sound City as well as releasing their follow up single ‘DD’. And this year? Expect a multitude of singles and EPs.
When: BBC Music Introducing Stage, 2:45pm on Saturday
Harrogate-based duo who met at school aged 13 at an ill-fated talent show. Since 2014 they have been supported by BBC Introducing in York and North Yorkshire and released their debut EP 4 Track last year. Their alt-pop sound is inspired by the likes of Kate Bush, George Michael and The Strokes.
When: BBC Music Introducing Stage, 6:25pm on Saturday
Within the space of four years since their formation Fizzy Blood have; released two EPs, shared stages with the likes of Dinosaur Pile-Up and The Dead Kennedys, have made appearances at Download Festival and Live at Leeds, and have been compared to Pulled Apart By Horses and Queens Of The Stone Age. Yet their refreshing musical bravery sets them apart from the typical retro-inspired rock.
When: BBC Music Introducing Stage, 12pm Sunday
A two-piece compared to the likes of Jack White while also inspired by, and formed by a mutual love of, Black Sabbath and Fuzz. As they would describe themselves: “Fuzzy noise and white t-shirts.” If you enjoy garage and punk music that covers a range of topics from politics to your favourite local pub then Teef is for you.
When: The Pit / Lock Up Stage, 6:15pm on Sunday
A hardcore band from the most unlikeliest place; Harrogate. Inspired by a mixture of bands from Slipknot to The Dillinger Escape to Every Time I Die to even The 1975, this band has grown massively since their formation in 2014 and have played at festivals including the likes of Download, opened for Prophets of Rage, have had their own successful tours and released three albums. Their performances are known for being lively so when they play on Sunday it’s guaranteed to be unforgettable.
When: Festival Republic Stage, 7:30pm on Sunday
A huge success story from Doncaster. He only became active last year when he released his debut single King Charles and has since; released debut album 21st Century Liability, made festival appearances at Rock Am Ring and Warped Tour, and has had a song, Falling Skies, appear on the soundtrack of popular Netflix show 13 Reasons Why. Self-described as a "socially conscious artist unafraid of delivering genre-bending protest songs”, he has a prominent hip hop/ska influence on his rock sound and has named his biggest influences as being Green Day, Bob Dylan and T Rex.
When: The Pit / Lock Up Stage, 4:35pm on Friday
A DIY punk band from Gloucestershire who built up their own fan base through hard work, constant touring and recording multiple releases including 2017’s EP Be Nice and 2016’s debut album Vile Child. As result they have been signed to Roadrunner (Slipknot and Stone Sour), toured with the likes of Frank Iero and Good Charlotte, and have been booked at multiple festivals like Slam Dunk and Download. Their sound has elements of grunge, punk and alt-rock whilst also not being afraid to dabble in pop, this band is only going to get bigger and better and this could potentially be the last time we see them perform at a small stage at Leeds Festival.
When: Main Stage, 1:25pm on Saturday
A pop-punk band that went from going nowhere to achieving massive success after the Madden brothers (Good Charlotte) picked them and signed them to their management and record label. Within a short period of time they were touring with the likes of Good Charlotte, All Time Low and Sleeping With Sirens, making appearances at Slam Dunk and Warped tour and were winning major awards in the rock music scene. Their music is unconventional as it is interesting where they sample elements of EDM and dubstep into their music and are not afraid to be labelled as ‘pop’. Given the success of their sophomore album Entertainment and tour to promote it, their performance on the Main Stage is surely going to be incredible.
When: The Pit / Lock Up Stage, 2:20pm on Saturday
A pop-rock band from Australia who were personally invited by John Feldmann (Goldfinger) to record and produce their debut record. They released their debut single Saints Of The Sinners, co-written with Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy, more on them later) which premiered on the Radio 1 Rock Show with Daniel P Carter. This year saw them tour with Lower Than Atlantis across the UK and make festival appearances at Slam Dunk and Download.
When: Main Stage, 2:25pm on Saturday
The band that is bringing horror punk back. The Southampton six-piece has received commercial and critical success in their four-year-long career. Compared to the likes of My Chemical Romance, Alkaline Trio and AFI, the band have been praised for their ambitious sound and when they rose to prominence in 2016 they were anticipated as one of the UK’s most exciting new rock bands. They most certainly didn’t disappoint with 2017’s debut album Eternity, In Your Arms, which came as an enigma when they ‘disappeared’ from social media and left behind a missing persons case when they promoted and announced the album in late 2016.
When: The Pit / Lock Up Stage, 4:50pm on Saturday
An Australian punk band that are not afraid to mix it up and include elements of different genres, and no, they don’t care what you think. Signed to Hopeless Records (Neck Deep, The Wonder Years) just five months after releasing their first EP Everything Goes Away in 2014 they have gone on to release three successful records and have been praised for their blend of aggressive pop-punk and melodic hardcore sound.
When: Main Stage, 12pm on Sunday
Starting out as an independent band in 2014 who self-recorded and released their debut EP Look Alive in 2014 and within a year went on to sign at Hopeless Records. They have since gone on to release two albums, been on tour with pop-punk legends New Found Glory and hardcore band Beartooth, and have made appearances at Warped Tour and Download. Whilst typically categorised as a pop-punk band they have been noted as being more heavier and grittier than their peers as they take influence from the likes of Blink 182, The Sex Pistols and Rise Against.
MAN WITH A MISSION
When: The Pit / Lock Up Stage, 2:10pm on Sunday
This is certainly an interesting group. Japan never fails to deliver on unique music artists whether it’s J-Pop or rock bands like One Ok Rock or Babymetal, but this group certainly stands out. Meet MAN WITH A MISSION, a wolf-human hybrid group...no we’re not kidding. Considered celebrities in their own homeland with countless sold-out shows, MAN WITH A MISSION are famous for their wolf masks and are never seen without them, not even people from their own entourage know what they really look like. Their sound is a blend of hard-rock and dance pop, with a Nirvana cover thrown into their set. Sounds bizarre and wacky? Good, go and check them out.
I Don’t Know How But They Found Me
When: The Pit / Lock Up Stage, 2:55pm on Sunday
Created by Dallon Weekes (ex-Panic! At The Disco) the duo was created over a year ago when Weekes began recording his own material and got the name from Back To The Future, a name, according to Weekes, implies a greater story. In the past year they have been building up their own fan base through pop-up shows around the west coast of the USA which were an immediate success. Their sound is described as having the vibe of Twenty One Pilots whilst also having the rock sound The Beatles would have if they were formed in modern time.
When: Festival Republic Stage, 5pm on Sunday
The goth-pop band that has been taking over the airwaves with a little help from The 1975. They only released their debut single There’s A Honey last year and almost immediately it garnered widespread acclaim. Only a few months later they opened for The 1975 at Madison Square Garden and would later go on to have their own North American tour as well as their own UK tour. They consider The Cure, The Cranberries and Prince to be their main influences.
When: The Pit / Lock Up Stage, 8:55pm on Sunday
Originally a side project for Caleb Shomo while he was still a part of metalcore band Attack Attack! but once they disbanded in 2013 it became a more serious thing. Within a year Beartooth went to release their debut album Disgusting to great success with their follow-up Aggressive achieving equal amount of success and acclaim. Now fresh off Warped Tour they are now in direct support for The Pit’s headliners Papa Roach and if one thing is for certain, their set is going to be loud and be anything but calm.
When: Main Stage, 7:20pm on Friday
Manchester’s popular indie rockers are back on the main stage performing as direct support for Friday’s headliners Kings Of Leon. This year marks the 10-year-anniversary of their debut album St. Jude which might hint at a potential celebration that will be held at this year’s festival, maybe they’ll play the album in full? It’s plausible given that Green Day did it in celebration of Dookie turning 20-years-old when they headlined in 2013. But if not it’ll still be an incredible set anyway, expect the classics like Not Nineteen Forever and the newer tracks from their 2016 album Mapping The Rendezvous.
When: BBC Radio 1 Stage, 7:25pm on Friday
As someone once said; “The posh boys of rock.” Bedford’s finest return to Leeds Festival to perform material from their newest release Technology and if it’s going to be anything like their live shows then, well, it’s going to be wild. Expect mosh pits, rowing in mosh pits (yes that’s a thing), pushups in mosh pits (again that’s real) and possibly a few cowboys doing a dance routine (watch the music video for Everybody and you’ll understand). If that sounds good plus you enjoy rock music that has elements of 80s pop, metal, funk and gelectronic then you need to watch their set.
Kings Of Leon
When: Main Stage, 9pm on Friday
It’s almost tempting to just write “It’s Kings of Leon” and move on but we need to write more than that. A legendary alternative rock band from Nashville who will undoubtedly bring all of the singalong anthems with their classics like Use Somebody and Sex On Fire, as well as the newer tracks from their more recent album WALLS. Do you fancy feeling a little nostalgic while one minute feeling emotional to the next wanting to shout at the top of your lungs? Then you can’t miss out on this headline set.
When: Main Stage at 3:35pm on Saturday
The artist who everyone is talking about. Post Malone first debuted in 2016 with Stoney and last year blew up in a big way in build up to his follow up album Beerbongs & Bentleys. Described as “melting pot” as he incorporates elements of different genres such as rap, trap, grunge, country and R&B, or, as he puts it, genre-less. But whatever you want to label it, there’s no doubt that his music divides opinion but keeps people interested. That’s what makes his upcoming performance one of the main ones to watch at the weekend.
Fall Out Boy
When: Main Stage, 9:15pm on Saturday
Pop-punk legends who may cause controversy for being ‘more pop than punk’ but there’s one thing no one can deny; they can put on an incredible show. Returning to the headline at Leeds Festival this year after previously co-headlining with Biffy Clyro in 2016 the Chicago four-piece will bring along with them their recent outing in MANIA, (although some people might run the other way). But regardless if you love or hate it no one will be able to resist their earlier material and there’s no doubt that tracks like Sugar We’re Goin Down or Thnks Fr Th Mmrs will bring everyone back to when they were in high school and will be reminded of their infamous 2007 emo phase.
When: Main Stage, 2:30pm on Sunday
A legendary name in rock music community. Mike Shinoda, the founding member of Linkin Park, released his debut album Post Traumatic in 2018 with a lot of the material used to process the sad passing of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington. The material of this album goes from covering the grieving process of losing a friend to being more upbeat about other topics, as Shinoda puts it; “ I’m basically trying to sum up in the most truthful way the things that are happening in my head as I go.” There’s no question about his performance being emotional in some parts.
When: Main Stage, 3:40pm on Sunday
Another classic band for all the pop-punk fans out there. Regardless of what you listen to there’s no doubt that you would’ve heard Fat Lip and In Too Deep growing up. If not, you must have had a deprived childhood. And their newer albums are also full of soon-to-be classic songs that you can picture teenagers shouting and fist pumping to in the basement of a house party. Sounds good? Go and watch them. They recently had a USA tour celebrating the 15-year anniversary of their second album Does This Look Infected? So there’s a possibility of them bringing it here.
When: Main Stage, 4:45pm on Sunday
Perhaps a little unusual for a Leeds Festival line-up but at the same we’ve seen a few pop/alt-pop acts appear at the festival over the years. Last year Dua Lipa blew up massively after the release of New Rules with a music video that now has over a billion views on YouTube and there is no sign of her slowing down as she continues to release singles that bring back that classic girl power vibe. Even Brendon Urie from Panic! At The Disco is a fan and even covered her in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge.
Panic! At The Disco
When: Main Stage, 7:35pm on Sunday
One of Sunday’s co-headliners. A legendary band, or technically solo project given that all but one member has left, in the pop-punk/emo music world. A band that is not afraid to experiment with different genres and switching things up with each album release. Going from emo rock to psychedelic to baroque pop to alternative to jazz to pop, they do want they want when they want and do it excellently. Frontman Brendon Urie has a vocal range equal to match of icons such as Freddie Mercury which he proves with the now staple cover of Bohemian Rhapsody that he will no doubt have everyone going.
When: Main Stage, 9:30pm on Sunday
The final headliner to close out the entire weekend. Kendrick Lamar aka ‘the greatest rapper alive’ (he said it not us) grew up with a range of musical influences which he incorporates into his music which now ranges from 90s gangsta rap to funk and jazz to spoken word poetry. Whether you enjoy rap or not, Lamar is an incredibly exciting artist who shows passion when he performs which is why he is perfect to close out the entire weekend. An incredible weekend closed out by an incredible performer? Seems appropriate.