With festival season finally starting to rev its engine, four days off at the start of June feel like a real gift after two disrupted years of pandemic sponsored chaos – and if there’s one place you can bet we’re eager to get back to, it’s Live at Leeds.
But this year, there’s a difference. The knock to the calendar caused by a worldwide shutdown has allowed the traditional inner-city new music extravaganza to make some changes. That long-established multi-venue blowout – usually held over the May bank holiday – has moved to October after last year’s successful return in a later slot. That earlier slot in the calendar hasn’t been abandoned though. With a little shift back into a traditionally sunnier month, 2022 will see the first edition of Live at Leeds: In The Park, taking place at Temple Newsam. The original home of Leeds Festival, and current location for the northern leg of Slam Dunk, it’ll welcome some exciting names this Saturday, 4th June.
From Bombay Bicycle Club and The Vaccines to Sports Team, Holly Humberstone, Easy Life, Arlo Parks, Alfie Templeman and Lauran Hibberd, it’s a bit of an indie pilgrimage. But that’s not all. We’ve got our own stage featuring some exciting new talent, and a brilliant little twist.
Dork’s tent will feature not one, but two stages. Running back-to-back, there’ll always be something happening – no long gaps or waiting around for us. With The Mysterines, Kid Kapichi, ADMT, Coach Party, Courting, Finn Askew, Kynsy, Lime Garden, L’objectif, Molly Payton, Porij, Sfven and Zuzu, it’s gonna be brilliant.
With so much changing for this year’s event, we pinned down Live at Leeds’ chief promoter type Joe Hubbard to quiz them on all the new developments for 2022.
You must be super busy at the moment, what’s a typical day like for you?
It is ruddy busy right now, but I can’t whinge, really. Typical days involve listening to as much music as I can in-between meetings with the team here, where we talk about the things that make the festivals happen. We have a ping pong table we use when we need to let some stress out, and we’ve got really good at ping pong…
Tell us about Live At Leeds In The Park’s beginning – where did the idea come from? How long has it been in the works?
The idea of us creating this festival has been around a while. There were conversations on how it’d look, which took many guises, but we kept coming back to the same ethos and vibe as Live at Leeds In the City (just in a field instead!), so it made perfect sense to marry them together and create Live at Leeds In the Park.
Is organising an outdoor festival very different from a multi-venue one?
Some core ideas are the same, but overall it’s pretty different. With Live at Leeds In The City, most of the infrastructure already exists, and it’s happened for over 15 years, so we’re pretty well drilled. Creating a new festival on a greenfield site throws up a few new obstacles, but all part of the fun, eh!
What are the main challenges when it comes to organising an event like Live At Leeds: In The Park?
I suppose the things that come with an event of this scale. Infrastructure, logistics, all those exciting things. It’s also a bit nerve-wracking, but thankfully we have a lovely team here who support each other all the way.
What have been your main points of consideration when curating the line-up? Does each LAL event have different criteria?
With both Live At Leeds In The Park and The City, we try to book great artists who we think will go down well in a festival atmosphere, with a leaning towards emerging talent as much as possible. The bread and butter of the company is supporting and doing our bit to nurture new talent and help them through their career.
Live At Leeds has a reputation for booking buzzy up-and-coming acts, who are you most excited for at the moment?
Thanks! We do try. From the line-up, I’m especially excited for Lime Garden and Molly Payton, who I saw at The Great Escape last week and were awesome. It’s also great to watch local band L’Objectif going from strength to strength, and I look forward to seeing them on a bigger stage.
Do you have any further surprises in store for 2022’s events?
Yep! Wouldn’t be a surprise if I said what, though, eh?
What advice would you give someone who’d like to launch their own festival?
Start small. It took a long time to build Live at Leeds to the point where we had established ourselves enough to take the plunge into a festival of this size. When you’re new, and your event is new, just make sure you do it for the right reasons and don’t overshoot it early on.