Highlights: Leeds Festival 2009

Olly Hunter | Thursday, 10 September 2009

Highlights: Leeds Festival 2009

Mixed weather coverage made a solemn prmise to fans for the Bank Holiday weekend, but the line-up was something to be marvelled - every festival-goer we spoke to was hugely excited about what was in store from organisers Mean Fiddler. Come rain or shine, spirits were high and weren't about to be dampened by a smidge of rain.

As always, the line-up was split between a number of tents and stages in order to maintain a bit of variety for those attending – but as always with superb festival line-ups, those whom attended were left in a difficult position and had to unfortunately miss a significant amount of bands they really wanted to see. Meticulous planning meant we we able to grab the best scoop of the festival.

The alternative stage was superb, bringing a fantastic blend of genuine live music and comedy genius. A performance from Tim Minchin in particular, despite his slightly smaller reputation compared to other members of the bill, had the crowd cheering and chanting before, during, and throughout his set.

Over at the BBC Introducing stage, the line-up was kept interesting and quite obviously fresh without failing to please the awaiting crowds. This year the Introducing brand has championed the likes of Speech Debelle and - previously - Coldplay. British Intelligence wowed crowds with a niche blend of Rock and hip hop, whilst Soft Toy Emergency successfully presented an originally themed talent whilst still sticking to their Electro theme.

Quite the varied bill was one that graced the Festival Republic stage, however the vibes of the tent were kept consistent and crowds kept sedated with musical offerings. Hockey, Golden Silvers and Bombay Bicycle Club were amongst those we managed to catch as evidential invigilators of the atmosphere – on the relevant nights, such performances were flawlessly followed with electro genius La Roux and the formidable Marmaduke Duke, particularly significant since it was one of their last shows before moving major focus back to the Biffy Clyro project.

The interchanging Dance / Lock Up stage provided considerable surprises. Daytime dance showcased electro/rap guru Master Shortie making his presence felt early on combined later with a hugely responsive set from Deadmau5. The fact dance music isn't typical to the festival's theme didn't seem to bother anyone and certainly got people dancing.

A line-up to closely contend that of the main stage was without a doubt the NME / Radio 1 stage. The string of acts was very cleverly varied, and as a result caused some phenomenally large crowds. Gossip successfully managed to send their gathering crazy, while Passion Pit and Metronomy kept things slightly more chilled out. It's a good job organisers installed big screens outside of the tent, because the sheer size of the crowds for some of the performances - Jamie T and Florence + The Machine in particular - had people dancing both inside and out regardless of the considerable amount of rain that fell.

As could be expected, the main stage was a location that many festival-goers were more than content with spending their entire weekend at. The Prodigy didn't fail to please by combining carefully selected classics with their newer material. The fact that they have hit so many festivals this summer thankfully didn't have an impact on their show. Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead rightfully filled their headline spots and each put on a superb performance, their seemingly infinite energy being infectious to the crowds.

Other ear-benders of the main stage included outstanding sets from Enter Shikari, Vampire Weekend, The View and Deftones. That said, Kings of Leon's performance made them truly deserving Sunday headliners. They sifted through an impressive back catalogue of songs as well as showcasing their newer material. The audience didn't fail to shout the lyrics in unison at the fullest pelt their lungs would allow. Despite the controversy surrounding the Reading performance, at Leeds their sound quality and sincerity had the crowd more than happy.

The event was certainly a star-studded one, however it was the unique energy that Leeds Festival so famously manages to create which truly made the atmosphere what it was. A sure thing is that the weekend had a lasting effect on its attendants, and there was sufficient proof that - come rain or sunshine - the festival vibe was cherished above all else.