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Festival Preview: Leeds Festival 2017

  • Published in Live

Though the UK plays host to countless music festivals every year, some short lived, others more established, Leeds Festival stands head and shoulders above the majority, not just in size, but in scope as well, curating line-ups that feature some of the biggest names in alternative music alongside those from the more mainstream end of the spectrum.

Thanks to a slight shift away from its more alternative beginnings, Leeds has been able to retain its relevance when so many other festivals have failed, evolving its line-ups in tandem with the ever-evolving tastes of its attendees. And while that might have meant a scaling down for stages such as The Lock Up, it’s also seen the introduction of further, more specialist stages, allowing for an even more diverse line-up in recent years.

This year proves no exception. With what is arguably the festival’s most eclectic line-up to date, next week will see the likes of Giggs take to the Main Stage, sandwiched in between Architects and Blossoms, while over on the NME/Radio 1 Stage You Me At Six follow R&B star Tory Lanez. And though it seems that the genre distinctions between stages are becoming less important these days, this has seen the sense of community found in the festival’s campsites flowing in to the arena more freely, as punk kids rub shoulders with house heads, and metalheads mix with grime fans.

It’s this feeling of eclecticism that keeps the punters returning from Bramham Park year after year, much like many people’s annual pilgrimage to Glastonbury, only distinctly more Northern. Of course, while many see Glastonbury as the pinnacle of the UK festival calendar, Reading and Leeds are themselves rites of passage, with everyone remembering, at least parts, of their first one. And though the site and style of the festival has evolved dramatically over its lifespan, it’s still one of the strongest festivals around.

Below are the top five acts we’ll be catching this year:


A guaranteed way to inject some sunshine in to your Sunday, no matter whatever the weather, the Macclesfield three piece will be hitting the BBC Introducing Stage following on from there inclusion as artist of the week. Expect calypso melodies and massive singalongs from a band you’ll be seeing much more of before too long. 

Bear’s Den

Having watched Bear’s Den progress since their inception in 2012, it’s clear the band have gone from strength to strength over the past few years, with the departure of founding member Joey Haynes only strengthening their resolve. Headlining the Festival Republic Stage on Saturday evening, huge swells of instrumentation will backbone the band’s heartfelt lyricism, not a set to miss.

At The Drive-In

A band who barely need an introduction, At The Drive-In are post-hardcore legends, and a turbulent history of break-ups and reunions, as well as a revolving cast of members, means there’s every chance this could be the last time we can see them on stage. They play the Main Stage on Sunday afternoon and you guarantee their set will blow away any lingering cobwebs.

Jimmy Eat World

Playing the Main Stage on Saturday afternoon, Jimmy Eat World are Leeds Festival favourites, having appeared four or five times over its history. Offering up a set of rousing emo anthems, their combination of midwestern indie and polished production are the perfect afternoon accompaniment and are a definite must see.


Back at Bramham Park for what will be his third appearance at the festival, Eminem last headlined back in 2015, in which a mammoth set of almost 30 of his most well-known tracks saw a special appearance by Dido on ‘Stan’, suggesting that this year he’s bound to have some surprises in store. Closing out the Main Stage once again on the Sunday night, it’s going to be the last of a string of highlight performances across the weekend. 


Sylvia Patterson - I'm Not With The Band : A Writer's Life Lost In Music + Book Giveaway

  • Published in Books

Equipped with a notepad and pen, dictaphone and an unwittingly sharp sense of humor Sylvia Patterson scrawls through three decades of the music industry recalling her wonderful and frankly odd interviews with famous faces. I’m Not With The Band starts in foggy Perth, at a time when music journalism was arguably at its best, and follows the decline of the trade and the rise of celebrity culture.

Patterson reminisces about past interviews, from jovial tales about the Smash Hits glory days to the whirlwind of freelancing for the NME. The book not only showcases the storytelling talents of Patterson, but also pinpoints famous music and historical milestones in a way that fills you with nostalgia. This frankly honest and personal account takes you through the Britpop '90s heyday and the rise of rap, to the gloomier present day - the music industry has without a doubt changed dramatically in the last 30 years. 

Musical quips with Oasis, awkward meetings with Damon Albarnweird encounters with the likes of Eminem and unforgettable moments with legends such as Prince; through the highs and lows Patterson’s story is an exciting one. Her fast paced, yet undeniably unstable career saw her fall head first into a rabbit hole of parties, romance, feminism, bankruptcy, mouldy rentals, all whilst befriending and upsetting the industry's finest.

Her account is like a love letter to her youth, growing up alongside the bands she admired without over romanticising the notion of meeting music’s biggest artists like Madonna. She opens up a world that many only dream about, but describes each encounter as, in most cases, business as usual. Reading this book is like taking the head off of Mickey Mouse at Disneyland to reveal a weedy, under-washed guy in his early twenties trying to make some extra cash over the summer - I’m Not With The Band may kill the magic that comes with daydreaming about your favorite band or artist. 

The book is broken up by a candid autobiography, which at times only mimics the running theme that flows through the pages; the decline of music journalism, its censorship and the rise of pop culture. Patterson gives a detailed account of the shift away from liberal writing into a culture where artists are media trained and ruthlessly safeguarded. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does open up an interesting debate.

Unstable yet thankfully long, her career covering three decades of music places Sylvia Patterson firmly amidst an earlier breed of respected music journalists. I’m Not With The Band is written from the heart of one music lover with the intention to be read by another. Through tales of interviews with ‘the stars’ to tribulations about growing up, you can see why Patterson took such a path and we are consistently glad she decided to relentlessly record every word.

(448 Pages, ISBN: 978-0751558685, Sphere) 

I'm Not With The Band : A Writer's Life Lost In Music is available from amazon and iTunes.

Here at Musos' Guide though we have one copy of the book to give away. Simply tweet us @musosguide with the name of one of the publications Carris mentions Sylvia writing for, including the hashtag #INWTB so we can filter the entries and the first out of the virtual hat wins. Only open to UK residents as the book's a hardback copy & not open to contributors to the site. Competition closes at 17:00 on June 29.

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