Leeds Festival 2021 brings back happy memories of extraordinary live music events - Laura Collins, YEP Editor

There is something rather remarkable about live music and its extraordinary power in bringing people together.

Monday, 30th August 2021, 4:45 am
Revellers at Leeds Festival. Pic: Mark Bickerdike

The beat of the drum can stir emotions, boost your mood, leave you dancing like nobody is watching and, above all, shape special memories to cherish with your favourite people.

I felt rather nostalgic seeing the dozens of photographs of smiling music fans enjoying Leeds Festival’s long-awaited return this Bank Holiday Weekend.

The festival at Bramham Park is one that will always hold some very special memories for me.

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Leeds Festival 2021: The best crowd pictures as music lovers enjoy Bramham Park ...

As someone who is vertically challenged, I regularly find myself struggling to see any singers at a live music event – and Leeds Festival in 2007 was no exception.

I’ll admit it wasn’t the best of opening gambits but a rather tall young man asked me if I needed a lift to see the stage. Little did we know that one question would lead to him becoming my husband almost a decade later.

We still chuckle about that Bank Holiday Weekend as we relive the time I managed to get lost for almost an hour and lose my jumper after Razorlight’s headline set.

And it is no surprise that Leeds Festival even got a well-deserved mention in our wedding speech.

For at least five years following our first meeting, our group of friends would venture to Bramham Park every summer to bask in the sound of live music and that shared communal experience with tens of thousands of people who love music just as much as we do.

It was a feeling of liberation – a sentiment that has been echoed by festival organiser Melvin Benn, who said this year has given young people a chance to not think about coronavirus.

Speaking from the site at Bramham Park, he said it was an “absolute joy” to see the festival’s return following its cancellation – along with so many other cherished events – last year.

Ultimately, he said he wanted to “create a space where people can come and feel relaxed and comfortable and not looking over their shoulder”.

Young revellers have also been encouraged to have their jabs while there, with specially established vaccination centres on hand.

And those festivalgoers were delighted to be back after lockdown and praised the initiative to help with the take-up of the jab in younger people. One reveller even went as far to say that vaccinations will be a way to get back to normal and, in turn, attend more festivals in the future.

It does feel like there is a sense of optimism in the air as we start to adjust to a new normal and big calendar events, such as Leeds Festival, come back to life once more.

My festival camping days might be long gone – the thought of spending four nights under the stars is enough to make anybody’s back start to creak.

But the memories of spending weekends there with my other half and our best friends, alongside those who have a common love of music, will always bring a smile to my face.

And for many more, this year’s festival signals a return to a new normal as it shows that the beat really does go on.

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