Music Pop Culture

Leeds Fest 2021

All photos are my own

Now that the festival season has come to an end and the ‘festival blues’ have well and truly kicked in; people are already planning for next summer. And like me, I’m sure many people are preparing for what they can do better next year to make it a more enjoyable experience. Leeds festival was my first experience of a full “weekender”, and there were definitely things that I could have done better.

Day 3, in the arena 

The first thing I learned is that people really don’t have care in the world when it comes to money and considering the amount of money it actually cost just to be there, I assumed people would be vigilant about spending their money. Around 90,000 people attended Leeds festival, which was noticeable on the last morning as everyone was leaving. Thousands of tents and sleeping bags were just left in the field, which volunteers from the charity organisation Raise the Roof collected to be given to the homeless. And as if it didn’t cost enough in the run up of being there, everything cost a small fortune inside too. Food was a ridiculous price, we paid £14 for a wrap one day, and that wasn’t even the most expensive thing there (and much to my disappointment, there were little vegetarian/ vegan options.) It cost £6 for a can of Carlsberg and people would throw half of it at someone into the crowd, same as every other overpriced drink they sold there that was wasted getting thrown over someone’s head.

From left to right: Josh, Kenz, Molly, Elisha (me) and Evan

Music has been the glue that has held people together throughout the decades, for centuries even. It has always been something that people have been able to relate to and talk about and when the first festivals came about in the 60s, it gave people the chance to celebrate music together for days at a time. With the restrictions lifting and being able to have a real taste of normality after so long, it made the experience extra special, and it really did feel like a celebration.

During both Gerry Cinnamon and Liam Gallagher people displayed how kind they could be. During Gerry Cinnamon, thousands of over excited people dancing, and we all came tumbling down, I was landed on by a big 6 foot something man, I landed on my boyfriend Kenz, Kenz landed on his cousin and it ended up being a huge pile up. As everyone was scrambling trying to get up, I was pulled up by the guy who landed on me, and so was Kenz, and looking around you could see everyone helping each other up and checking to see if they were okay, it was great to see how considerate people could be. Acts like this noticeably happened across the whole weekend.

Josh on Evan’s shoulders

Everybody reacts differently to watching their favourite artists performing right in front of them; the lights go off, the build-up music has stopped, and your idol has walked on stage, your eyes light up and everything stops, butterflies in your stomach and you can’t stop smiling. It’s at this point where everyone shows their excitement differently, people are screaming and shouting the song they want them to sing; and any gig you go to, you always hear that faint ‘I LOVE YOU’ from somebody. Some people are crying whilst others are being hoisted up onto somebody’s shoulders getting the best view ready to sing their heart out. There really is a huge warmth seeing other people react to live music and being surrounded by thousands of people all excited to see the same person.

Friday was the best day for us, woke up and strolled down to the arena, (take the term stroll lightly as we were a 2km walk to the arena) and I quite literally couldn’t stand still in the queue waiting to get our bags checked. As soon as we got through, I grabbed Kenzie’s hand, and we ran down to the stage we wanted to get to. First mistake: we left way too late to be anywhere near the front, but we were just so happy to be there to care. I climbed on Kenzie’s shoulders and was screaming the words; I was definitely the only one who knew the lyrics. Fast forward to around 18:30, we’ve found the rest of our group and were making our way down super early to try get to the front this time, which to our surprise we were quite close. We were cold, wet, our feet hurt but the excitement we were holding in was keeping us going; Gerry Cinnamon followed by THE Liam Gallagher, I don’t think I could put our excitement into words.

Kenz and me having a boogie 

I’ve never danced so much in my life watching Gerry Cinnamon, it was such a good vibe, listening to his pumped-up version of ‘Belter’, beer in hand, bucket hat on, the sun was going down, everyone was singing and dancing, it was immaculate. The set finished at 20:05, and we thought the best way to get to the front for LG, would be to wait, because obviously we would be the only ones with that idea and everyone else would leave right? Wrong. We did manage to get a bit closer, but it was so horrible, you couldn’t move your arms or feet, we had no water, and it seemed to be getting more and more full. But it was only an hour and a half wait, that’s not too bad, is it? Wrong again. I wasn’t even holding myself up by the end of it because it was that crowded, everyone was leaning on each other and, I have to admit; I have never not wanted to be 5’3 so badly in my whole life, I was constantly batting elbows away from myself and all I could smell was armpit, which isn’t good in the best of times but when people haven’t showered in over 24 hours and been sweating in crowds all day, it wasn’t nice.

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