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Review – The Garden Party Leeds

The August bank holiday is often seen as the last hurrah of the summer, and the folk at Garden Party Leeds sure know how to put on a bit of a show. We sent Hayley Kendall down to check it out.

On the tenth birthday year of the Garden Party Leeds, only a collaboration between the likes of seven renowned promoters including The Warehouse Project, Sound Channel and Canal Mills would do to bring the city of Leeds alive over the August bank holiday weekend. Hosted at The Tetley with an array of impressive acts, all that was left to hope for was that the sun would bless the dancing revellers beneath.

Chalk art at Garden Party at The Tetley, Leeds, 30th August 2015Along with the likes of Roisin Murphy, Joy Orbison, Black Coffee and Redlight on the Saturday, revellers could look forward to a host of unique and tantalising food stalls to stave off hunger, and art pieces to add their own unique creativities too. Sunday hosted a plethora of acts with performances from Little Dragon, Craig Charles and Talib Kweli, to name a few.

I had the privilege of joining the party on Sunday and my prayers of sunshine were answered. The VIP area of The Tetley was uncrowded and provided reasonably priced drinks plus VIP portaloos – worth the extra £5-10 for a VIP ticket alone when compared to the typical-festival-loos on the rest of the site.

Street art courtesy of Mad Ferret Productions, at The Garden Party at The Tetley, Leeds, 29th August 2015The first rammed tent of the day belonged to Julio Bashmore, who kicked out solid beats that built the buoyant crowd into a frenzy. Playing some of his older material like the bassy ‘Au Seve’, Bashmore also included his more recent sounds such as ‘Holding On’ . He also went to host one of the afterparties later in the evening and the queues to get in stretched far down the street; an impact had clearly been made at his earlier show.

Todd Terje was the next eagerly awaited DJ to take the main stage. The Norwegian disco king attracted a tent full of revellers, who stepped and stomped to every beat he played. A real passion seems to ebb from Terje and this was clearly felt by those who worshipped the sounds, especially when he finished his set with ‘Inspector Norse’. Terje could have kept the crowd shimmying all night long and was a definite highlight of the Sunday.

Next up was Patrick Topping. In the short space of two years, Topping has become one of the most in demand names in dance music and he didn’t fail to disappoint. With a cool attitude Topping kicked out a range of beats that kept the crowd dancing and looking particularly cool under the colourful canvas.

The ultimate highlight of the Sunday had to be Grandmaster Flash. A set full to the brim, the crowd got to enjoy a glorious mix of disco, R ‘n’ B, reggae and funk all brought together masterfully and with the crowd on his side. There was no room for any latecomers, Grandmaster Flash owned the last set of the evening.

Overall, Garden Party Leeds have done a fine job in providing a mix of artists to satisfy those who crave the more known, to giving guests the opportunity to discover talent and beats they might never have heard of before. In terms of festivals this is on the small side, but it was perfect for the venue, with little to no queues at the bars, no ridiculously priced consumables and just a friendly, uplifting and amazing atmosphere. There are some improvements that can be made, such as the location of the tents to avoid sounds clashing from the others nearby and providing further opportunities for shelter if the heavens decided to open, but this festival is set to grow.

Get yourselves down next year and enjoy this bank holiday gem whilst it shines, before the masses realise what a super little event the Garden Party Leeds is.

Photos: Jess Rowbottom, Hotfox Media.

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