Festival Review | Live at Leeds In The Park

Published on 29 June 2023 at 11:48

By Craig McInnes


It’s the start of festival season and there’s fewer better places to kick off the festivities than in the stunning surroundings of Temple Newsam in Leeds. The festival returned to these grounds for only their second time after a highly successful first year in 2022. 


Being one of the first festivals of the season I would say comes with the added pressure to get things going strong - this line-up was certainly that. 


With the sun beaming down on the festival, it was already set to be a great day out - I mean incredible music and a rare UK heat certainly go hand in hand. As the gates opened, the crowd flood the open field for the first time this year and festival season has officially began, there’s just something about a big green space filled with stages and vendors that instantly gives you those festive vibes. 


The event is in full swing and the first band on the agenda are recent number one achievers, The Lottery Winners. Teamed with comedy between songs and a killer set - the Mancunians produced such a fun show. The first time seeing seeing these guys and I can be sure it won’t be the last. 


Singer Thom gets the crowd going with his own rendition of Freddie Mercury’s famous chants. Supporting the recent release, the set was filled with new tracks from Anxiety Replacement Therapy, including singles Worry and Burning House. You can tell exactly why this record reached number one in the U.K. charts, it fits perfectly for days like this. Closing off things with their 2021 single Start Again



Sticking with the main stage, next up for viewing is Harrow based indie queen, Kate Nash. A midday set drenched in beautiful sunshine, there’s one woman perfect for times like this. With a packed crowd looking on, Kate strolls on to the stage with silver boots & dressed all in pink kicking straight into 2007 single Mouthwash setting the scene for an incredible set. 


Although Kate has a backlog of classics, it was nice to hear new material including new song released last year, Wasterman - it’s nice to hear what the next chapter has in store having not having an album drop since 2018. Now, there’s one song everyone who came to see Kate wanted to hear, and by the deafening screams it was time for Foundations. This song is a classic and to hear it live again is always a pleasure and ending her set on a proper high. 




Between sets, it’s fun to explore the going’s on around the festival and seeing what’s happening in all areas of the site. Across the day over at the far side of the arena was the signing tent, a special place to make memories meeting your favourite bands and artists to have things signed and a photo with them - The Big Moon, James Marriott and Black Honey all appeared and I was lucky enough to meet rising stars The Crawlers before their incredible set in the DIY tent. Local record store Crash Records were also on site offering their amazing store in field form with records from bands across the lin-eup and beyond - if you never got the chance to visit, do pop in the Leeds city centre store for all the best records old and new with the best customer service you can ask for.


Back to the music and it was a dash over to the Dork stage to catch the band of the future in Prima Queen. The all female indie/alternative band brought their incredible summer vibes to the festival under the still baking Leeds sun, it was the perfect fit. Singing duo Kirstin & Louise’s voices both sounded on top of their game with the whole crowd having their attention firmly fixed on the band. The set itself was a really settler to show this band have what it takes to go as far as they want in this industry.


Being a festival it’s only right we get a festival theme song - new tune Ugly giving us a taster of what’s to come from the band, a song that’s written about a festival romance we’ve all had that’s the perfect thing for the 4 days and dies before the first big wash is on. Taking it back to last year and one of their most popular singles, Butter Knife was one of the more well received songs on the set that saw some beautiful strings brought in for this. With a new ep on the way, the future is bright for Prima Queen and certainly a band to look out for. 


From the future stars to festival royalty - Aussies, DMA’s return to the fields of the U.K. in support of studio album number 4, How Many Dreams. Despite the mixed reactions to the record, the crowd turned up in their numbers as always knowing they’re in for one of the sets of the day - and as predicted, this was another blinder. Kicking off the show with the album title before taking it back to 2020 with a double hitter from album 3 with The Glow and the amazing Silver, a song to this day brings the emotions. 


Fading Like a Picture is a personal favourite from the new record for me and to hear it live for the first time is special feeling - it’s one of the many DMA’s songs that’s as good live as it is on the record. A band the covers a classic anthem always comes with several risks, with this band, there’s no concerns - their 2019 cover of Cher’s Believe hit the ultimate heights and is now a regular on the bands sets. I heard them play this live for the first time in 2019 as they supported The Courteeners at Heaton Park, to hear it live again to another rammed crowd was a surreal full circle experience. 


To round of such a perfect set, the classics are rolled out taking things back to where they all began with Hills End. Delete is greeted with a huge crowd singalong with people on shoulders singing at the top of their lungs with so much passion. Feels Like 37 followed by Lay Down concludes things in the most perfect way. For as long as I’ve seen DMA’s, the band just get better and better each time I see them and their stage presence is forever flawless and shows exactly why they’re one of the best live bands to ever grace the stage. 


This festival is fast becoming a big thing both in the fields and on the streets of Leeds when In The City takes place at the end of the year. The bands booked in recent years show the amazing growth the organisers are making in this festival scene. They are firmly here to stake their claim and from things shown so far, the sky is the limit for the amazing festival.