Leeds Festival: Final day highlights

Joe Newman, singer with Leeds band Alt J who headlined the NME/Radio 1 Stage on the final day of the Leeds Festival. Picture: IAN HARBER
Joe Newman, singer with Leeds band Alt J who headlined the NME/Radio 1 Stage on the final day of the Leeds Festival. Picture: IAN HARBER

The 2013 Leeds Festival came to a close with fans wading through a sea of mud to see their favourites on day three at Bramham Park.

Thankfully no further rain fell, but the damage had been done with the park turned into a quagmire throughout and just standing up becoming a challenge in itself, never mind joining in with the entertainment on show.

Eminem brought the event to a big close in front of probably the biggest crowd of the three days and treated his fans to his biggest songs.

He had a variety of guests to help him, including Dido, who joined him for a rendition of Stan, and after a less than thrilling start closed his set strongly with a plethora of hits.

Disappointingly for some, perhaps, there was little controversy, apart from the small matter of coming on 15 minutes late and going off before the scheduled close.

Eminem’s chief support on a less than thrilling main stage line-up was dance act Chase & Status, who pulled in a crowd almost as big. Whether they would have been more suited to the dance tent is open to question, however.

Earlier on the main stage Foals lacked the charisma to pull off their big arena slot while White Lies overcame technical difficulties to deliver a solid set and Earlwolf appeared to find their appearance hard work.

More music of the dance variety could be found from the likes of Devlin, Magnetic Man and A-Trak on the smaller stages with rock music harder to find than on the first two days.

For the real treat of the day it had to be the NME/Radio 1 Stage and a truly fantastic appearance by Johnny Marr, who mixed classic Smiths songs with material from his excellent debut solo album.

The likes of How Soon Is Now, Bigmouth Strikes Again and particularly There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, which was accompanied by a big audience sing-along, went down superbly and helped make this the show of the day.

Not far behind on the same stage later on was young pretender Jake Bugg, who showed again that he is a star in the making with great renditions of the best tracks from his first album plus three new songs and an impressive cover of Neil Young’s My My Hey Hey.

Imagine Dragons also pulled in a big crowd, of mostly younger people, in this tent and Palma Violets also proved popular.

Alt J, who formed while at Leeds University, had the honour of playing the closing set on the NME/Radio 1 Stage and attracted a healthy size crowd of fans, who obviously didn’t rate Eminem. A decent alternative they proved to be.

British Sea Power headlined the Festival Republic Stage to a much smaller crowd, but this tent was packed earlier for The 1975 and there was a warm welcome here for Charlatans singer Tim Burgess in his solo slot.

The Lock Up Stage had its usual bunch of enthusiastic fans and featured Tomahawk, with various members of Faith No More, as well as Sick Of It All, The Bronx and King Prawn.

Over at the Alternative Stage, Josh Widdicombe was in great form and more laughs were provided by Lee Nelson, Lucy Beaumont, Ellis James and American Rob Delaney. MC Andrew O’Neill was an energetic host and the tent also featured a slightly mad novelty dance competition presented by Carl Donnelly.