Red Hot finale to Leeds Festival

Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis on stage at the Leeds Festival.

Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis on stage at the Leeds Festival.

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The Leeds Festival saved the best until last if the size of the crowd was anything to go by for the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ headline set on the final day of the Bramham Park event.

The Californian funk rockers pulled by a long way the biggest crowd of the weekend as more than 50,000 made their way to the main field to see the headline act - and the band responded by delivering a classy show.

Right from opening with a blistering rendition of Can’t Stop followed by two of their greatest songs, Dani California and Scar Tissue, to an encore finale of oldie Give It Away, they were in sharp form and were much better than in their previous top slot at this festival.

Not afraid to slow the pace down a little, the Chili Peppers also included classics Californication and Under The Bridge in their near two-hour set.

There was none of the pyrotechnics of Fall Out Boy on the opening day or the lighting show put on by Disclosure on Saturday, but the audience did not seem to mind as it was the music doing the talking this time.

On a strong day on the main stage, other highlights were provided by Imagine Dragons and their energetic set and Manchester’s Courteneers with their sing-along honest indie. Slaves provided some rawness and Eagles Of Death Metal pulled a big afternoon crowd with their own brand of guitar rock.

There was another “I was there” moment mid afternoon when You Me At Six, normally a main stage act these days, played a surprise set on the small Pit stage. But everyone seemed to know they were playing, particularly after doing the same thing at Reading a day earlier, and fans were 50 deep outside the tent with room inside full long before the band came on.

The Pit finished with a bang in the shape of heavy rockers Mastodon and also saw sets from Dillinger Escape Plan, Milk Teeth and Heck.

Talking of packed tents, there was no room inside the Alternative Stage arena when Billy Bailey was on and treating fans to a fantastic mix of stand-up and musical wizardry.

It was a brilliant way to end a brilliant weekend of comedy on a stage that just seems to get better each year at this event.

Earlier in the day there were plenty of laughs provided by Marcus Brigstocke - and his outstanding handling of an annoying heckler - Dane Baptiste, Lee Nelson and Carl Donnelly with Leeds compere Dan Nightingale also doing a fine job.

The NME/ BBC Radio 1 Stage was full several times, notably when band of the moment Blossoms played a quality set that showed why they are expected to be a main stage band next year.

Two Door Cinema Club had the honour of closing the weekend on this stage while Nas, Krept & Konan and Jack Garratt were other attractions.

The Festival Republic Stage finished on a high with Brian Fallon and the Crowes and saw a classy set from York-born singer-songwriter Lapsley as well as promising acts Vant, The White Room and the fantastically named King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.

Another no-show saw a late change on the BBC 1 Extra Stage with Travi$ Scott pulling out, but Stormzy stepped into the breach to do a good job and head up a line-up that included Section Boyz, Logic and Bugzy Malone.

The non appearances have been something of a running theme this year with Parkway Drive unable to take up their early afternoon slot on the main stage.

But it was hats off to Skindred who did half-an hour extra and new band Judas, who were given their big chance as a very late replacement.

So that’s it for the 2016 Leeds Festival. It did not pass without problems - no shows of certain booked acts, the tragic drugs related death of a young fan reported last night and the awful weather on the Saturday after the torrential downpour of Thursday night had already left the field and car parks muddy. But many more memorable moments were added to the festival history and no doubt preparations are all under way to do it again in 2017.