The Leeds Festival has become an essential element of the late August Bank Holiday weekend for many followers of rock and indie music in the north of England – about 70,000 of them each day of the Festival. Now held in the ample grounds of Bramham Park country house, the Leeds Festival shares more or less the same bill as the Reading Festival, as they are jointly promoted and organized by Festival Republic. In addition to the Main Stage, which regularly features some of the world’s leading rock, alternative and indie performers, festival-goers have access to the Radio I stage featuring less well-known artists, the Unsigned stage featuring local acts, a Dance tent and an Alternative tent featuring mainly comedy and cabaret performers.
The Leeds festival became linked with Reading in 1999, when the latter was finding it impossible to meet the demand for tickets. Originally, the festival took place in Temple Newsam Country Park but, especially in 2002, there were security problems which led to the relocation to the current site. Thankfully, recent years have been much safer and the Leeds Festival has developed a good reputation with music fans. With the very best British acts regularly performing here and with artists such as Eminem, Marilyn Manson and Iggy Pop coming from the USA, it’s easy to understand the festival’s appeal. The current arrangement is that the Leeds’ opening day line-up is repeated on the last day of the Reading Festival and the first two days at Reading become the second and third days at Leeds.
Bramham Park is about 5 miles south of Wetherby, half way between Leeds and York. Car parking on the site is possible, although it’s much cheaper to reserve your space in advance. During the festival, access roads to the park are strictly controlled. The only routes into the site by car are via the A1 and M1 – organizers are at great pains to stress that drivers should ignore their SatNavs and just follow signs!
Many people arrive at Bramham Park using the excellent shuttle bus service from Leeds, which takes about 45 minutes and can deliver you straight to the festival entrance from both the main train and bus stations.
Most music fans prefer to camp at the Leeds Festival site, although it is possible to also have caravan and campervan permits – again, they are much cheaper if booked early. The camp site itself has plenty of useful facilities such as cash points, an Information tent, Left Luggage, a Welfare Tent and the Samaritans. Additionally, of course, there are plenty of bars and food and gift stalls – as well as hot showers. All of the site areas are accessible from car parks. It is possible to purchase Day tickets.
It is worth noting that there is no separate programme for children at Leeds; although those aged 12 and under are admitted free, accompanied by an adult, the organisers stress that they don’t really consider it a suitable event for them. For information on tickets and the line-up of artists take a look at the official website of the Leeds Festival.