Metallica finale puts a golden sheen on Leeds Festival

Leeds Festival, Bramham Park - Day 3'Metallica on the main stage.
Leeds Festival, Bramham Park - Day 3'Metallica on the main stage.
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THE Leeds Festival this year will not so much be remembered for what it had but more for what it did not have, namely mud.

The Great British summer arrived at Bramham Park – for the most part, anyway – giving three days of sunshine and music.

29 august 2015.'Leeds Festival at Bramham Park.'Alt J on the main stage.

29 august 2015.'Leeds Festival at Bramham Park.'Alt J on the main stage.

Last night’s closing set from Metallica brought a fitting finale to this year’s festival.

The band had promised the most expensive show in the history of the festival, and one could tell from the second they hit the stage this would be the case.

With gigantic LED screens ensuring the band could be seen from all over the site, every inch of the stage was used with the band even bringing up selected audience members to rock out behind drummer Lars Ulrich.

Taking the stage to the sounds of The Ecstasy of Gold, known to most as the music from the film The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, the band brought big riffs and even bigger pyrotechnics to Bramham Park.

29 august 2015.'Leeds Festival at Bramham Park.'Marcus Mumford of Mumford and Sons on the main stage.

29 august 2015.'Leeds Festival at Bramham Park.'Marcus Mumford of Mumford and Sons on the main stage.

As they returned for the encore, singer James Hetfield paid a touching tribute to the band’s first bass player, Cliff Burton, who was tragically killed in a road crash in 1986.

Dedicating a cover of Whisky in the Jar by Thin Lizzy to their departed bandmate, he received a roar of appreciation from the assembled fans.

Speaking before Metallica took to the stage, festival director Melvin Benn said: “It has been amazing – it could not have been better, and tonight we have a huge band for us.

“I saw Metallica at Reading last night and it was immense.

“I’ve seen them play, I don’t know how many times, and I was genuinely blown away by how big it was. I think it will be the best thing anyone has ever seen at Leeds.”

When asked how he and his team will top 2015, Mr Benn told The Yorkshire Post: “I just don’t know. Every year we push ourselves to be better than the previous year. The Metallica stage presentation is absolutely spectacular. In terms of next year, we can only wait and see who we will announce. We already have one headliner secured.”

There was an emotional return to Yorkshire too for American band Baroness. In 2012, following a gig in Sheffield, the band were journeying south when their bus was involved in a road crash, seriously injuring the group.

It took nearly a year for 
them to play live again and yesterday they appeared on the Pit Stage.

Elsewhere, English two-piece Royal Blood handed in what can only be described as an application form to headline the 2016 event with a rapturously received set in front of a gigantic crowd.

Taking the stage to the deafening sound of an air-raid siren, they brought a huge set to the assembled faithful.

Saturday saw English folk/indie band Mumford & Sons headline the Main Stage.

The band played to the audience, telling them how much better looking they were than their southern counterparts.

Leeds band Alt-J supported them gainfully with an emotional set as the sun went down.

Keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton told the crowd: “It’s great to be home.”

“Thank you for such a wonderful reception in the city where it all began,” he said, referencing the fact that the band formed in Leeds in 2007 while the members studied at the University of Leeds.

Greg Carter of Growth Street Photo: Lana Kropyvna

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