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Leeds Festival 2024….Let The Countdown Begin!


Photo Credit Matt Eachus

Notably one of the biggest live music events in all the land, and with the weeks getting closer and closer, the countdown has officially begun for this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival. With a  huge array of some of the biggest and emerging names this is truly an international celebration of music, as people come from far and wide and create memories and form new friendships in the process. 


Intrigued to find out more about what Founder Melvin Benn and his team at Festival Republic had in store for this year’s festivities, on 20th May 2024 we headed to Brahman Park for a special Press Day, to explore just some of the many things which are guaranteed to make this year that little bit special. 


The Line Up


What I have always admired about this festival, is that they continue to invest their time in ensuring that the talent they invite onto the line up is a reflection of the music of today’s generation. With this year including the likes of Lana Del Ray, Blink 182, Catfish And The Bottlemen, The Prodigy, Liam Gallagher, as well as a number of rising stars such as The Last Dinner Party, Only The Poets, James Marriott, Swim School and Beabadoobee to name but a few, there will be no shortage of great music to discover, with organisers guaranteed to leave punters spoilt for choice. 


New Features


However, dear friends, with the constant evolution the delights of this festival do not end here, thanks to the news of other features such as the debut of The Aux Stage, a brand new area devoted specifically to content creation. With the voices of the youth being such an important part of today’s culture and society, this new stage will serve as a platform for those important voices to be heard and acknowledged in a safe space, with the key purpose of ensuring that people are given the confidence to feel empowered and heard about the topics that matter most to them. 


Eco Vibes & Wellbeing


Of course music is just one element to Reading and Leeds Festival, so it was great to hear some of the other features Melvin had in store to make the festival as enjoyable and safe in other ways, including the return of the Eco Campsites. Sustainability has always been a fundamental part of the core values of Reading and Leeds over recent years, with them introducing  a number of different incentives over the years to ensure the grounds of each festival are treated with respect. Following the success of 2023, where the Eco Campsite was left absolutely spotless as people took their recycling seriously, this has given the inspiration to provide not one but two Eco Campsites this year. 


Whether you are going to the festival for the first time ever or have been going for a number of years, there will moments where things can feel a little bit overwhelming especially with the buzz of activity, but thankfully with a commitment to making sure that mental well being is taken seriously, there will also be a dedicated Sensory Zone - a space to refocus yourself before heading back out to resume the fun. 


BBC Introducing Artists


Before concluding his summary of this year’s official press day announcement, there was also a special recognition to the ongoing partnership with BBC Introducing, a platform which continues to have such a powerful impact especially in the UK music scene, as one of the many pioneers for supporting emerging talent. Some of the artists performing on this year’s BBC Introducing Stage include Sun King, Ellur, Delilah Bon and Jodie Langford.


Sun King - Photo By Sam Wall
Jodie Langford - Photo By Sam Wall

This press day was also an opportunity to quench our thirst before this year’s festival, we also had the opportunity to be treated to some live acoustic performances from both Sun King and Ellur, as well as speak to just a couple of the artists performing on the BBC Introducing stage. 


Ellur


Ellur - Photo By Sam Wall



Delilah Bon


Delilah Bon - Photo By Sam Wall



The Aux Stage


With The Aux Stage being a brand new feature this year, I was delighted to grab a quick chat with Milly, one of the team working hard behind the scenes to bring the stage to life. 


When asked what it feels like to premier the stage at this year’s festival, Milly explained:


It is really exciting, i think 2024 has been a big year in terms of Leeds and Reading announcing new changes, so it is just really great to be a part of that. 


With this stage having a special focus on digital creators, when Melvin came to you with the vision what were your initial thoughts?


Well it has developed a lot. The vision was basically to present a stage that reflects the talking points of this generation. It wasn’t necessarily starting as a digital creator stage, but that just felt natural because they are really the icons of the 16-18 year old demographic at the moment, so it was a natural tie in. it evolved from having a place where we could talk about relevant subjects and what interests the youth outside of music.


How does it feel knowing that you are creating a space for youth voices especially to feel empowered?


It feels great. I think at Leeds and Reading we have had so many young people come through on the music side from things like the BBC Introducing Stage, so for that to be reflected outside of music is really great. They have a lot to say, so it feels really important we are able to give them a platform. 


With there being a couple of months left to go, what has the lead up been like for you and your team?


It’s been good! It always gets a bit crazy in the lead up to the show, but in a good way. The excitement now really starts to build now especially since there are less than 100 days left to go. 


Any tips for anyone taking a trip to The Aux stage?


Just go with an open mind, Leeds and Reading listens to the punters' opinions, we always have and always continue to do so, so go with an open mind and tell us what you want to see in future. 


A few last comments from Melvin Benn...


With time ticking away and almost time to head off, all that was left to do was left to speak to Melvin himself as I asked him what has been the most rewarding thing about working on this year’s festival as well as his tips for embracing the experience of the Reading and Leeds for anyone coming for the first time. 



After spending the day with the Festival Republic Team, and some of the emerging artists, it is safe to say our hunger and adrenaline levels for Reading and Leeds Festival has intensified even more!


So if you haven’t already head over to www.leedsfestival.com


Grab your tickets and see you all in Bramham Park for one of the biggest UK festivals of the Summer!


Article By Thushara Chandrasiri // Photography By Sam Wall

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