Leeds Festival gets off to brilliant start on day one

What a fantastic start to the 2021 Leeds Festival. as a simply magnificent line-up of acts greeted the welcome return of Bramham Park's summer spectacular.

Saturday, 28th August 2021, 11:06 am
Updated Saturday, 28th August 2021, 11:08 am
Legendary show: Liam Gallagher.
Legendary show: Liam Gallagher.

After the cancellation of last year's event due to Covid restrictions there were maybe surprisingly few restrictions this year, but how great was it to be able to enjoy live music in this superb setting once again?

And how great to have acts of the calibre of Liam Gallagher, Gerry Cinnamon, Wolf Alice, Tom Grennan, Biffy Clyro, Blossoms and Yungblud to be enjoyed by a predictably mad for it crowd.

There were a few surprises thrown in as well with Jake Bugg and The Sherlocks playing "secret", unannounced sets enjoyed by those who found out about them.

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Fans show their excitement at Liam Gallagher's appearance at the Leeds Festival.

With fewer stages than usual it was quality over quantity and the pace of the day's entertainment never let up, especially with timings between the two main stages set so clashes were kept to a minimum throughout.

It was hard to pick who was the most impressive.

For energy, Yungblud must be up there as the Doncaster lad put everything into his set and was quickly into his stride to lead the predictable "Yorkshire, Yorkshire" chant. He has future headliner written all over him.

Perhaps surprise of the day - apart from the unannounced Jake Bugg show on the Festival Republic Stage - was that the biggest crowd at the newly created main stage west was pulled by Blossoms in their late afternoon slot afforded them after they were brought in as late substitutes for Machine Gun Kelly. They did not disappoint either with their melodic sound getting better every time you hear them.

More fan excitement at the Leeds Festival.

The main stage west earlier featured well delivered energetic sets by Neck Deep and opening act Hot Milk while headliners here Biffy Clyro were all class with a crowd pleasing set that showcased why they have become one of the best rock bands in the UK.

The Struts gave the main stage east a perfect start with their showy style of guitar rock while in complete contrast Tom Grennan brought more of a pop flavour. Both in their own way were infectious.

Wolf Alice brought some class to this stage and KSI added some hip hop flavour with a big crowd there to see him.

But the biggest crowds and cheers were reserved for the two acts at the top of the bill.

Simon Neil on stage with one of the headliner, Biffy Clyro.

Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Cinnamon went down a storm with singalongs aplenty and some brilliant guitar playing.

And, last but not least, there was the legend that is Liam Gallagher and he reminded everyone of his legacy with a set that went over the curfew time a little and was top heavy with songs from his Oasis days.

He opened with three Oasis tracks - Hello, Rock'n'Roll Star and What's The Story - and played an entire Oasis encore of Roll With It, Supersonic, Cigarettes And Alcohol, Live Forever (dedicated to Charlie Watts) and, of course, Wonderwall, to finish with.

With Stand By Me, Acquiesce, Fade Away and D'you Know What I Mean in the middle of his set too there was not so much time for tracks from his excellent two solo albums, although we did get some classic Liam quips, mostly unprintable of course.

Kiaran Crook, of The Sherlocks, who played a surprise set at the Leeds Festival.

A brilliant finish to a brilliant day that reminded us all how good this event can be.

Now the attention turns to day two and how the heck can it top the opening day. Top grime star Stormzy will be planning his own spectacular when he headlines the main stage west and there are plenty looking forward to rap star AJ Tracey and new kids on the rock block Inhaler.

Catfish & The Bottlemen will be flying the flag for indie over at the main stage west where Sam Fender and the entertaining Sports Team will also perform, while Joel Dommett and Reginald D Hunter are the big names in the comedy tent and the second day sees the return of the popular Lock-Up Stage with Leeds-based Dinosaur Pile-Up as headliners.

Blossoms fans, who flocked to watch the band in big numbers.
Blossoms' Tom Ogden on the main stage west.
Neck Deep's Ben Barlow, who delivered an energetic show.
Tom Grennan on the main stage east.
Yungblud in unusual attire on the main stage west.