Tickets on sale for 2022 event after Leeds Festival's success this year with Sports Team and Stormzy and more

As the dust begins to settle on this year’s Leeds Festival and its record-breaking 90,000 crowd, tickets are already on sale for the live music extravaganza’s 2022 dates.

By Graham Chalmers
Thursday, 9th September 2021, 11:46 am
Updated Thursday, 9th September 2021, 11:53 am
Indie band Sports Team impressed at this year's Leeds Festival at Bramham Park.
Indie band Sports Team impressed at this year's Leeds Festival at Bramham Park.

The return of the event after the pandemic has led to complaints from some residents and councillors in the area of the festival over traffic jams in the Bramham Park area.

But, in general, arrangements for the return of Leeds Festival were hailed, in particular, the extensive precautions taken to mitigate for the Covid virus and the idea of two main stages for headliners (east and west) worked well.

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Melvin Benn, managing director of the Festival Republic Group which runs the Reading and Leeds Festival, said: "One of the things I wanted to create was a space where people can come and feel relaxed and comfortable and not looking over their shoulder and I think we did that."

Early Entry passes for next year’s event are now on sale with Reading & Leeds Festival chief Melvin Benn hinting that three of the six headliners have already been booked, though he has remained tight-lipped over who they are.

The three key days of the 2021 Leeds Festival saw its most diverse line-up to date with a significant slice of the urban pop world, showing how far the event has left behind its original rock and indie band reputation.

Its rap and urban line-up was also the strongest since it was originally launched at Temple Newsam in 1999 before moving lock, stock and barrel to Bramham Park in 2003.

The musical content of some of British rapper Stormzy’s set on the Saturday night at Bramham Park may have been questioned by some of the critics but there was no doubting its power as a dramatic performance and a theatrical experience featuring spectacular visusals, great choreography and a series of live guests.

As a whole, the emphasis on a hot, sunny weekend from much of the diverse line-up was on the energy of the performance rather than the quailitycontent, from rappers to indie bands.

From Wargasm, a London-based frenetic rap and nu-metal rap duo Milkie Way and Sam Matlock, to the four-piece pop-indie outfit Sea Girls, triumphs of stage craft overwhelmed the material being delivered.

None of this affected the response of the largest and most youth-dominated crowd that Leeds Festival has, perhaps, attracted in its entire history.

In contrast, under-stated acts such as the quintessentially British Sports Team, the intelligent, slightly slacker six-piece indie rock band led by swaggering lead singer Alex Rice looking resplendent in a lurid green string vest, whose debut album Deep Down Happy was nominated for a Mercury Prize last year, fared less well with the crowd, though the reaction to a strong set of songs wasn't exactly bad.

In that context, the brooding, smouldering North Shields musician Sam Fender came across almost like an old blues man...

It was down to the more veteran hands to offer some old-fashioned musical quality.

Scottish alt-rock trio Biffy Clyro, last-minute replacements for Queens of Stone Age on the Friday night, gave a blistering performance shorn of modern-day niceties.

Backed by a tight band featuring his old mate Bonehead, opening night headliner Liam Gallagher grabbed Leeds Festival by the scruff of the neck, though it took a run of Oasis classics from more than 20 years ago to do the trick.

It must say something about 2021 that the once platinum-selling Catfish and the Bottlemen, whose sophisticated guitar band talents and dramatic intensity of frontman Van McCann were sufficient to make old music fans assume they must be back in the golden age of rock in the 1970s, received some undeservedly iffy reviews.

In a nice bit of kismet, after Sports Team's impressive set, I ended up being asked to take a keepsake photo for Al Greenwood, still inexplicably one of the few female drummers in indie-dom, with some of her friends and/or family in the press area after I spotted her Leeds crowd-pleasing red and cream Tetley's Beer top.