Younger sibling to southern Reading Festival, Leeds Festival is one of UK's leading music festivals, taking place annually over August Bank Holiday weekend. The Leeds event is held in Bramham Park, near Wetherby, on the grounds of a historic house. More than 75,000 festival goers enjoy legendary shows on bigger and numerous smaller stages on the infield. The artists' staging not seldom includes innovative accents by pyrotechnic special effects.
Rock, Alternative, Indie, Punk, and Metal artists tend to dominate the line-up. Headliners ever since the first event in 1999 included The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, The Who, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Blur, Pulp, Muse, The Cure, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Biffy Clyro and Oasis plus top overseas names such as AC/DC, Metallica, Guns n' Roses, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Kings of Leon, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Weekend and day passes are available as well as campervan sites or more luxurious accommodation offers.
Radisson Blu is always a great hotel choice when in Leeds or visiting Leeds Festival and you don't want to camp at the festival itself. As for sightseeing and shopping in town, everything is in walking distance. Also Leeds University (The Refectory) isn't far if you want to visit a legendary place in music history. The breakfast is scrumptious - a great start into your festival day before heading to the infield again for concerts.
When in town, you definitely need to visit Leeds University. Not only a place to study, but also to enjoy live music in three different venues, with The Refectory the most popular one. Situated in the heart of the campus, it hosted legendary performances since the 60s such as Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. The venue is highly renowned for The Who live album Live at Leeds which was recorded there. There is a plaque outside the building marking that legendary event. Why not take a walk around the beautiful campus and have a snack with the students.
If you have tickets for Leeds Festival and want to stay the more luxurious way apart from camping and festival mud - Hazlewood Castle & Spa is the one hotel you should try. Surrounded by beautiful, quiet parkland, and gardens, Hazlewood is a striking ancient building, thoughtfully restored and tastefully renovated.
The Castle Inn is a nice hotel option if you don't want to camp at Leeds Festival. Situated in Spofforth, it's a cosy and intimate spot with unique and welcoming atmosphere. Very nice furnitured individual rooms - for quiet nights apart from festival campground noise.
When the Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen opened in 2013, it responded to a need for a large-room live music venue with a decent bar, craft beer, and reliable street food. What was once a large nursery school in the city’s Northern Quarter is now a vibrant, youthful, three-storey hangout and one of the city’s best live music venues. Ultimate highlight: the spectacular roof terrace.
Leeds University, really? Yes, it's not only a place to study, but also to enjoy live music in three different venues, with The Refectory the most popular one. Situated in the heart of the campus, it hosted legendary performances since the 60s such as Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. The venue is highly renowned for The Who live album Live at Leeds which was recorded there.
Brudenell Social Club is a non-profit community and live music venue northwest of Leeds city centre. It is a centrepiece of the local music scene and most famous for hosting secret gigs for bands like Franz Ferdinand, British Sea Power, and Kaiser Chiefs. It is owned and run by members, for members.
The arrival of this first large-capacity venue was undoubtedly long-overdue. Before, Leeds was left behind as huge Rock bands toured the country, who were forced to play in Sheffield, Liverpool, or Manchester, instead of the city equally famed for its contribution to music. The calendar of First Direct Arena has a strong emphasis on Rock ‘n’ Roll.
It's an impressive Gothic building that hosts O2 Academy Leeds. With global superstars as well as local newcomers on the event calendar, this is one of the most renowned venues in town. Also centrally located in walking distance to main sightseeing attractions, shopping options and numerous bars and restaurants, O2 Academy is a hotspot for both locals and tourists.
The Wardrobe offers a full event calendar of gigs, combined with excellent drinks and food. Also a great choice if you are looking for smaller shows - whether music, comedy, or art performances. The basement venue hosts bigger, yet intimate live performances. As for the kitchen, The Wardrobe provides a delicious selection of pre or post gig snacks, salads, and burgers on its menu.
Headrow House opened up in 2015 and has since become one of the most popular music venues in Leeds, helped by it’s amazing beer hall, cocktail bar, restaurant, and rooftop terraces, no doubt. For a really cool relaxed feel and definitely worth a visit. Also hosting numerous live performances from both renowned and upcoming artists and bands.
This is the place when you are fond of heavier music. May it be Punk or all variations of Heavy Metal - this intimate live music venue is all about a great gig experience.
Festival season (Photo by Bachmeier / Ramsthaler)