Festival Preview: Leeds Festival 2018

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Ever since first taking place all the way back in 1999 as a spin-off sister-event to the by then well-established Reading Festival, it’s safe to say that Leeds Festival has by now grown alongside its elder sibling to become one of the biggest annual events in the UK’s music festival calendar. With the 2018 edition of the festival now just a week away, and set to feature headline performances from Kings of Leon, Fall Out Boy and Kendrick Lamar, we thought it wise to take a look at the line-up and show you some of the very best in rock and metal set to hit the stage over the course of the weekend including the likes of Panic! At The Disco, Hollywood Undead, Papa Roach and tons more.

Friday’s Main Stage might seem like relatively slim pickings for most dedicated rock fans on first glance, but one surefire highlight are Ontario punk-rock favourites Billy Talent, who make an early-afternoon appearance for a set that’s undoubtedly likely to be one of the best of the day for that particular stage, thanks in no small part to the band’s lengthy back catalogue of absolutely colossal ragers like Red Flag, Devil In A Midnight Mass, Saint Veronika and Afraid of Heights. Those after a wider range of rock and metal for their day however, are likely to find it over at The Pit Stage. Headlined by LA rap-rock outfit Hollywood Undead, it’s here that punters will find everything from seminal US hardcore punks The Bronx, to Long Island metalcore mainstays Stray From The Path, to hotly-tipped English trap-metal rap maestro Scarlxrd, to fast-rising Gloucestershire garage-punk trio Milk Teeth, to the enigmatic and entirely anonymous masked metal collective known as Sleep Token, amongst many, many others.

Saturday sees things starting off strong with a pair of early afternoon sets from two of the rock world’s biggest up-and-coming acts, both making their Main Stage debuts. Firstly, Texas pop-punk trio Waterparks are making the leap after a strong 2016 showing on The Pit/Lock Up Stage. They’re followed by arguably one of the most hyped British rock bands of the last few years as Southampton’s Creeper are set to bring their gothic punk-rock to Leeds once more, playing the Main Stage for the first time, and also following on from their 2016 appearance on The Pit/Lock Up Stage. Having enjoyed massive success over the last 18 months or so with the release of their debut album Eternity, In Your Arms, and subsequent worldwide touring, both newcomers and devoted members of The Callous Heart alike are sure to find something to love about this Alkaline-Trio-meets-the-Misfits band of uniquely theatrical punks.  Over on The Lock Up Stage meanwhile, it’s Christian metalcore luminaries Underoath who take up the headline spot. Having released their first album in eight years back in April with Erase Me; a record which also saw the return of founding drummer/clean vocalist Aaron Gillespie after a decade’s absence, the Tampa sextet are sure to deliver a memorable performance spanning their now nearly-two-decade-long career. They’ll be joined on the day by an extensive supporting cast that includes the likes of Utah emo/post-hardcore veterans The Used, poetic post-hardcore quartet La Dispute, Swedish rock n’ rollers Royal Republic, Aussie punk-rockers Trophy Eyes, Aberdeen alt-rock power trio The Xcerts and more.

Sunday sees perhaps the best Main Stage line-up for rock fans, with Brendon Urie’s genre-bending pop-punk/emo/whatever-you-want-to-call-them icons Panic! At The Disco sharing top billing with rapper Kendrick Lamar. Having released their sixth album Pray For The Wicked, to critical acclaim back at the end of June, fans can likely expect to hear massive pop hook-laden new singles such as High Hopes, Say Amen (Saturday Night) and (Fuck A) Silver Lining alongside old favourites like Nine In The Afternoon, The Ballad of Mona Lisa, Miss Jackson and of course the iconic I Write Sins Not Tragedies. Elsewhere, Linkin Park co-vocalist Mike Shinoda returns to the UK for the first time ever as a solo artist following the death of Chester Bennington in what’s undoubtedly set to be an incredibly emotional affair, pop-punk royalty Sum 41 are set to grace Leeds Festival for the first time in their two-decade-plus career, Welsh reggae-metal party-starters Skindred are promising Big Tings as Benji Webbe and co. look to bring their massive canon of unique dancefloor-ready rock anthems and riotous stage antics to the Leeds masses, and St Albans quintet Trash Boat are set to kick the day off with a stage-opening set of massive melodic-hardcore anthems from this year’s sophomore album Crown Shyness. If that wasn’t enough either, The Pit Stage is also absolutely packed with riff-based heaviness, headlined on this final day by Californian nu-metal survivors Papa Roach. Now onto their ninth album with last year’s Crooked Teeth, Jacoby Shaddix and co. are sure to bring things to an appropriate close with anthems like Born For Greatness, Getting Away With Murder, Between Angels And Insects and the ever-brilliant Last Resort. They top the bill on what’s set to be yet another incredible day, alongside the likes of metalcore heavyweights Beartooth, hotly-tipped progressive/post-rock outfit Black Peaks, alt-metal quintet SHVPES, Blood Youth, electro-rap-punk songstress Ecca Vandal, wolf-masked Japanese rap-rockers Man With A Mission, and loads more.

On the whole, fans of alternative music are sure to find something to enjoy at this year’s festival, but with 7 stages total during the day spanning just about every genre you can think of, along with a stand-up comedy stage and loads more, there really should be something for everyone at Leeds Festival 2018.

Very limited tickets for both the whole weekend and individual days are still available and can be obtained from https://www.leedsfestival.com/tickets.

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