With Reading braving the downpours, the weather gods were reassuringly kind 200 miles away as Bramham Park managed to avert the usual quagmire, and in turn, bolster the spirits of the mainly youthful crowd – many of whom were here celebrating their GCSE results.
This year was arguably one of the strongest R&L line-ups for a while, with the NME / BBC Radio One tent particularly strong from top to bottom. The first band to really get the NME / BBC Radio One going early doors was Years & Years, who celebrated their recent debut number one debut album with a packed out tent.
People have (rightly) been crapping on about there not being enough female fronted bands on festival bills these days, hopefully that will change in due-course with the likes of Black Honey and The Big Moon, who are shining examples of emerging female-led bands, and neither did anything to slow down their blossoming career’s as they got the ball rolling on Day One across The Festival Repubic and BBC Introducing Stages.
One band whose career has already blossomed is The Cribs, who were enjoying their eighth appearance at the Leeds leg – The Jarman brother famously made their debut back in 2002 on the Comedy Stage. This year they played the main stage (for the third time) and they gave another good account of themselves, with a set littered with singles from their six album back catalogue.
If one band confirmed that Friday was very much the ‘indie’ day, it was The Libertines, who made their triumphant return five years on since they last graced the main stage – compared to their nervous and under prepared appearance in 2010, the band were tight, appearing to finally be at ease with themselves on the big stage.
You expect a Libertines set to be teetering on the brink of disaster, but there was a distinctive air of authority around this headline performance. It may have taken 14 years – but they finally look ready to be the giants they threatened to be, when emerging with ‘Up The Bracket’ all those years ago.