Live at Leeds: Over 120 acts. 21 Venues. 12 hours.

These numbers are not the friends of the unprepared so we’re here to guide you through how you can have the best day possible at this years festival.

Get down early…

Last year Idles smashed open the Wardrobe at midday, there’s always a headline act on around 15:00 in the O2 so don’t think this is an event to rock up to at 5pm, get out there and explore Leeds. This year you have Vant taking up the early Wardrobe slot and you’ll also find a host of local talent to wet your appetite (read on to find out more…). You’ve paid for a day of music and time is limited so get on it.

The headliners aren’t worth it

Live at Leeds involves a lot of queuing so if you’re not careful you’ll end up waiting outside a venue listening to the muffled sounds of who you thought were your favourite band. Seeing a headliner means missing out on four or five other incredible artists, one of which will probably be headlining in the future so you can catch them early and pretend you’re cool to your less informed friends in the queues. Use this guide, make the most of your ticket, don’t waste time on the big boys.

Make your day better than just indie-soft-bois

Sundara are smashing it right now and I’m not going to lie it’s great to have a around bounce to King City but there’s more to Live at Leeds than just indie guitar bands playing indie pop. The Pretend team have come together to suggest the best alternative Live at Leeds out there.

Easy Life Emily caught them at their home town gig at the Leicester O2 recently and it was MADNESS. They have such a unique and fresh sound, which is not only super accessible but also produces utter bops. If you like to dance/to crowd surf/to belt along to anthems/brass instruments, get on it. (Emily) 

Check out James’ interview with the nu-jazz lad poster boys from when they were last in Leeds at Oporto:

Ibibio Sound Machine – Smashed their set at World Island last year and it was loads of fun. They got everyone dancing at like 2pm (Safi)

Goat Girl – Prob one of the best names on the lineup, Goat Girl will bring their seedy, bad-ass and country-flecked punk, which simultaneously exudes attitude and doesn’t give a shit. A nice change to some otherwise quite average indie boy band-y bookings. (Safi)

Kate Tempest –  I can’t express how much I love this booking. Tempest is an absolute master of lyrics, and an artist of the times. People who saw her at Glastonbury a few years ago absolutely raved about her performance. If you’re in the mood to have your mind blow, or just wanna get rallied up about Brexit/the tories, this will not be one to miss. (Emily)

Elder Island – The light disco noodlers are back in Leeds after a massive SXSW and a short American Tour. Guaranteed to get you grooving, a great band to warm your dancing shoes (James) 

Watch Alex Storey’s interview with the band from when they played Belgrave last year

Confidence Man – The only 100% must see band on the line up. (James)

Support your Local!

Local acts are the backbone of Live at Leeds and have the best crowds because everyone in the scene is out and about, dancing, having a good time and living their best life. It’s a great opportunity to discover the local scene so here are the best local acts playing.

Ormstons – Catchy pop-rock fun. Hifi, 17:30.

Far Caspian – Enchanting lo-fi indie-pop taking the internet by storm. These guys have found themselves on every indie playlist out there so you might find yourself singing along. Oporto, 19:00

Marsicans – Anthemic indie-pop taking the UK by storm. If their sold out gig at Church last year is anything to go by this will be one of the biggest shows of the day as the storm the O2 Academy. O2 Academy, 16:45. Back when pretend was a baby on student radio Lucy Bradshaw Caught up with them at Church…

Household Dogs – Good but growley boys. Their latest single Lonely Lover bangs so hard I love it. Oporto, 14:00.

Talkboy – Just over a year old and getting featured on every indie playlist and publication you can think of… aaah they grow up so fast. A tight live set and always the potential of an ABBA cover if you’re really lucky. Hifi, 15:30

The Golden Age of TV – The first gig in a long time for the wonky indie outfit. HiFi, 19:30.

Team Picture – 2018 was a big year for Team Picture as they released their mini-album recital, played the Great Escape and a whole host of gigs around the country but 2019 has been quiet so far since they were features on the NME 100 to watch list. HiFi, 20:30.

Tranqua Lite – Clean and colourful indie rock. Chapel, 12:00. Learn more in our Interview.

Tall Talker – Instrumental Math Prog Jazz band… we don’t really know what that means either, but trust us it’s good.  Hifi, 13:30.

La Rissa – Spooky Synth sounds, recently expanded from solo gal to full blown band. Oporto, 12:00.

What to actually go see…

If you’ve got this far you’d probably like to know what we would actually go see. This isn’t a complete list, but it’s something you could base a day off, we’ve kept everything on a reasonable route so you won’t be jumping in and out of taxis too much and can maximise your music time.


Time Act Where How to get there Who’s pick?
12:00 La Rissa Oporto Make sure you get down to pick up your wristband early, this is normally at the arena or at the college of music. So it’s a little walk from there to Oporto. James
12:30 Mollie Coddled Northern Guitars Cafe Bar Hop just 10 meters down the road from Oporto. (Please do actually hop) Emily
13:30 Tall Talker Hifi Walk to the top of call lane, cross the road and the venue is just up a side street next to Pie Minister. (it’s an underground venue) Emily
14:00 Bloxx The Wardrobe Walk down past the market, past the bus station and then up towards music college. Emily
15:00 Breather? You’ve had a busy start to the day, maybe sit down a bit, have a break?
15:30 Talkboy Hifi Okay break is over head back to HiFi from wherever you were sat drinking. Emily
16:30 Marsicans O2 Academy Head up to the Headrow and up towards Leeds University, the venue is behind the big Weatherspoons James
17:30 EAT Food is good and things get a bit hectic as the night goes on
19:00 Sports Team Wardrobe We’re starting to get into potential queue danger so if you want to catch these guys make sure you’re early after whatever you’ve eaten…
20:00 Ibibio Sound Machine Leeds Beckett Taxi. It’s time, you’ve made it 8 hours. Treat yourself. Safi
21:00 Confidence Man Leeds Uni A short walk up the hill from Leeds Beckett Everyone
21:30 Emily
22:30 Metronomy Leeds Uni Stay RIGHT where you are… Safi
23:00 Easy Life Brudenell Alternative to Metronomy, you’ll have to head up to Brude right after Confindence Man. Walk left out of the union and go pretty much straight all the way to the best venue in Leeds. Live at Leeds without Brude is kind of weird so try and make it. Emily
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