As a cast of thousands arrive at Bramham Park for the 2015 Leeds Festival, Mark Casci looks at the five performances that shaped the event.
1) Arctic Monkeys 2005
Within months the Sheffield foursome would release their new debut record Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I Am Not, but at the 2005 festival the band were already fast becoming household names.
The first band to develop a significant following via the internet, the band drew a crowd that would impress a Main Stage headliner on one of the arena’s smaller stages.
Hits of the future such as I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor shook the site. Legends were born.
2) Metallica 2004
After years off the road and serious doubts over their future Metallica looked to be done. Singer James Hetfield was in rehab, their bassist Jason Newstead had quit and nu metal was all the rage. However, out of nowhere, Hetfield cleaned up and the band roared back with their heaviest album to date, St Anger, culminating in a ferocious set at Leeds in 2004.
“Metallica loves you baby”, shouted Hetfield as the band left the stage, leaving the crowd in no doubt at all that they were back.
3) Pearl Jam 2006
They said the would never play a festival again. Years earlier the band were headlining the Roskilde Festival when tragedy struck. The Denmark festival got out of control and people were crushed to death in front of the band’s very eyes. The trauma led them to swear off festivals for good.
However in 2006 they were coaxed back. The band took the stage with singer Eddie Vedder imploring the crowd to look after one another before kicking in to one of the festival’s most epic and emotional sets ever.
4) Foo Fighters 2012
Almost the festival’s house band the Foos have headlined several times. This particular night was emotional, with Dave Grohl eulogising about his long history with the festival dating back to the 1990s. They will be back, it’s almost certain.
5) Eminem 2013
A decade had passed since his glory days of Number One albums the world over but Eminem still had the draw to headline a festival as big as Leeds.
However controversy followed. It was clear from the start that he was rapping over a backing track, leading to accusations of miming.
As he came to his set’s end it was evident that perhaps the rapper’s day had come and gone.