Leeds Festival 2013: Highlights of day one

Fred MacPherson, of Spector, who headlined the Festival Republic Stage on day one of the Leeds Festival. Picture: IAN HARBER

Fred MacPherson, of Spector, who headlined the Festival Republic Stage on day one of the Leeds Festival. Picture: IAN HARBER

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The weather managed to do its worst in the evening, but rain failed to put a dampener on spirits as the Leeds Festival got off to a wet start at Bramham Park.

A crowd of more than 70,000 flocked to the 15th Leeds Festival and were predictably met by mud after a thunder storm the previous night. But the event began just before midday amid warm temperatures that helped to give the day a chilled out feel.

Early highlights included Villagers and AlunaGeorge on the NME/Radio 1 Stage and The Virginmarys on the new Rock Stage before the real excitement kicked in during the evening.

The day really belonged to Biffy Clyro, who’s richly deserved main stage headline slot was their seventh appearance at the Leeds Festival.

The Scottish rockers have steadily risen through the ranks and now have a catalogue of songs that ranks them with the best of British acts. They did not disappoint the biggest crowd they have ever played in front of with an hour-and-a-half set that included all their big numbers.

It was not easy for them as rain fell throughout their appearance and they had a few technical glitches early on, but it said everything that the big crowd stayed with them throughout and were delighted with plenty of sing-alongs and some impressive special effects.

Earlier on the main stage, Nine Inch Nails were a bit of a disappointment and in failing to play some of their biggest songs they lacked magic.

Fall Out Boy’s enthusiastic set, which mixed new songs and old numbers, showed they are still popular after splitting and re-forming, while The Lumineers were quieter, but no less well received.

Editors tried hard with a strong set of songs, although they maybe struggled a little to engage with the big field crowd.

That could not be said of Pure Love, whose frontman Frank Carter managed to crowd surf in an inflatable dinghy during his amazing set on the Festival Republic Stage. This tent also played host to a triumphant headline set by Spector.

The NME/Radio 1 Stage only really came to life in the evening with Disclosure pulling in a huge crowd and Phoenix proving an interesting alternative for those who didn’t want to stand in the rain.

There was dance music everywhere, not to everyone’s liking at what has always been a traditional rock festival, but after thin crowds in the afternoon the dance and BBC1 Xtra tents filled for the likes of Baauer and Wretch 32.

The Alternative Stage provided a welcome alternative indeed, although the newly positioned tent did not help with a surround sound of music to cope with. Nevertheless, there were top comedians on show, with the pick being Seann Walsh, Mark Thomas, Russell Kane and Tiffany Stevenson.

The festival continues today with one of the world’s biggest acts, Green Day, headlining the main stage, supported by fellow Americans System of a Down, The Deftones and Frank Turner.