Mudbath conditions dominate second day of Leeds Festival

Russell Howard, who proved a big attraction on the Alternative Stage at the Leeds Festival.

Russell Howard, who proved a big attraction on the Alternative Stage at the Leeds Festival.

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Fans and bands had to battle the elements on the second day of the Leeds Festival at Bramham Park.

With the heavens opening and several torrential downpours throughout the afternoon and evening the usually picturesque but already muddy site was turned into a quagmire and made it hard going for the main stage acts whose audiences were feeling the full brunt of the weather.

On what turned into a tough day for everyone it was pretty much downhill after a bright start provided by Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls who celebrated 10 successive years of playing the festival with a midday opening slot that attracted a bigger than usual crowd for the first act and put all who saw it in the mood for a party.

Blowing away any cobwebs and hangovers the crowd had, the singer-songwriter and his band entertained superbly as Turner got fans to join in a circle pit and a wall of hugs instead of the more usual wall of death found at metal gigs. Of course, Frank wanted to join in and finished by jumping off stage for a crowd surf. He will be much missed if he is true to his word and gives the event a miss next year.

While Disclosure, Foals and Chvrches went on to appear on the main stage, the other biggest highlights of day two came in the tents.

Heavy rain naturally drives people to look for the shelter of the tents and all the “indoor” stages were pretty much packed to the rafters throughout.

Top marks for best of the show of the day had to go to Twenty One Pilots in the NME/ BBC Radio 1 Stage.

Headliners they were not - that honour went to Jack U - but they acted like they were and pulled out all the stops to entertain with various costume changes, acrobatics, drumming and singing in the middle of the crowd and the most unusual crowd surf you are ever likely to see.

This was huge entertainment to back up the eclectic music delivered by a duo set to be future main stage headliners on this evidence. With too many people to fit in the huge tents, they had fans dancing in the rain on the edges and it was a real “I was there” show.

Dance beats came to the fore elsewhere with Wiley on the BBC 1 Extra Stage and Oliver Heldens on the Radio 1 Dance Stage.

But there was good old indie to be found on the Festival Republic Stage in the shape of the old and the new - the old provided by Maximo Park who were lovingly received on their return to the festival after a number of years absent and the new by teenagers Blaenavon and South Yorkshire’s rising stars The Sherlocks.

There was a good Yorkshire element on this stage with Leeds rockers Pulled Apart By Horses second from top in the running order and giving an energetic performance in front of a crowd every bit as big as it was for headliners Maximo Park.

More rock music of the heavier variety was provided at The Pit, where Asking Alexandria topped the bill, supported by the likes of Americans Thrice and Leeds’ own Dinosaur Pile Up.

For another “I was there” moment it had to be on the Alternative Stage where Russell Howard pulled a huge audience for his stand-up spot.

Interacting magnificently with the crowd, he mixed stories he had prepared with spur of the moment jokes inspired by members of the audience and went down a storm. If ever there was a comedian made for a festival it is Russell Howard.

The support cast on this stage was pretty good too with Mark Steel delivering some great political gags and some classy stand-up coming from three talented ladies, Shappi Khorsandi, Sara Pascoe and Angela Barnes.

The Leeds Festival continues into day three, weather permitting, with highlights set to include main stage headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers, Two Doors Cinema Club, Nas and Blossoms on the NME/ BBC Radio 1 Stage and Bill Bailey on the Alternative Stage.