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LOUDER FEATURES: Our Favourite Festival Memories

This summer's festivals may have been even more of a washout than usual, with the pandemic snatching away our chances of experiencing our favourite weekends of the year. However, we will always have the memories of muddy days gone by to look back on - and those magical moments that will forever live burned onto the inside of our eyelids! So here are some of our picks for the best festival moments from our gig-going days!

Charlotte Claber, Editor-In-Chief:

Photo Credit: Gareth Bull

Festivals come in all shapes and sizes, my love for Reading Fest comes from the idea that there's no other place that I could go see Of Mice & Men and Charli XCX in one weekend. However my best festival memory comes from none other than 2000 Trees 2019, a sublime festival with a friendly atmosphere it definitely made a lasting impression. Oh, and the weather was glorious! A festival that encourages you delving into new sounds and new acts, it's easy to stumble into a tent you don't expect or re-discover an old favourite. You Me At Six are a band I was never really into growing up but over the years I've started to really enjoy them and for me, they've become that festival band that appear everywhere. Always a good sing along as the sun sets, mates on each others shoulders and beers in hands.

Charlotte Hardman, Deputy Editor:

Signs I painted for Fall Out Boy's headline set at Leeds in 2016

My favourite festival memory will always be watching Fall Out Boy headline Leeds Festival in 2016. I had a rough time during my final year of high school, and they had been the band who had gotten me through the worst of it. I had seen them once before from the very back of Leeds Arena, but this time I managed to get within three rows of the barrier. I could go on for hours about their set (and I did in my review at the time!). The setlist was a brilliant blend of old and new; the production value was beyond belief; and the genuine humility and gratitude of all four of the band was wonderful.

But above all, the most precious moment was when I held up the sign I had made for the band, which simply read: ‘Thank You’. As Patrick walked over to our side of the stage, his eyes flicked in my direction, and I saw a little smile break on his face – and then I promptly broke too, but into tears! That small moment meant everything to me as a teenager, and is such a testament to the incredible power of live music.

Naomi Sanders, Deputy Editor:

Slam Dunk 2018 - whilst I was there as press, it was a way to celebrate finishing my undergrad in Leeds, especially when hanging out with friends and other musicians. Chatting with musicians about their future plans in music, running all over the city to view acts like CREEPER, Palaye Royale, Can’t Swim, and more. The best moment, however, was finding my friends and standing on the balcony as Jimmy Eat World played. Hearing 'Hear You Me' on a late-night with some of my favourite people was a perfect way to end a busy but brilliant day to close out 3 years of university.

Sadie Maude, Writer:

Josh Dun, drummer of twenty one pilots, Leeds Festival 2019

My favourite festival moment has to be seeing Twenty One Pilots perform at Leeds Festival in 2019. Me and my dad have listened to them for years but for whatever reason have never been able to see them live. When they were announced as joint headliners at Leeds Fest I immediately bought a weekend camping ticket with my friends. My dad obviously didn’t want to camp with me and my friends but he bought a day ticket specially so that we could see them live for the first time together. Being able to watch one of my favourite bands with my best friends and my dad made the moment even more special. To top it all off, the performance was outstanding! They went above and beyond every expectation I had for the set and they were by far my favourite artists I have EVER seen live. I laughed and cried with happiness and by the end of it I was filled with an overpowering feeling of pride!

Kris Kielich, Writer:

My high school years often feel like the halcyon days of my concert going career. There was always an innocence and pure fun that encapsulated the concert going of that era of my life. Every summer, my best friend and I would drive to Six Flags Darien Lake outside Buffalo, NY and see the annual Rockstar Energy Mayhem and Uproar festivals, touring rock and metal festivals organized by Kevin Lyman and John Reese. The sheer joy of walking the grass parking lot and tailgating, meeting friends, and traveling from stage to stage seeing bands 'til the sun went down and we lost our minds to the main acts against the silhouette of the rollercoasters. Disturbed, Godsmack, Machine Head, Trivium, In Flames, Avenged Sevenfold, Rob Zombie, and many others provided our live soundtrack, and those festivals, once thought to be gone forever but recently revived, gave me memories and music that I won’t soon forget.

Sean Hubbard, Writer:

A personal festival highlight absolutely has to be 2000 Trees 2019, watching Every Time I Die do 'Hot Damn!' in full, before The Armed absolutely annihilated the Neu Stage. Two bands both absolutely on top of their games, and ETID playing an iconic album in full alongside an extra half hour of greatest hits just can't be beaten, but The Armed gave it their best shot by practically attacking the crowd with a table. Not only two of my favourite festival performances ever, but probably two of my favourite live shows ever!

Simone Barton, Writer:

My stand-out festival memory is Slam Dunk 2014. Not only was it my first festival but it was also in my hometown of Wolverhampton which made it extra special for me. The reason it’s so memorable for me was because it was the first time I saw Bury Tomorrow live and I had never experienced a band that had the same energy and connection with their fans. I also had the opportunity to meet the band and they were all lovely, I still have the poster that Davyd wrote “666” on because I was wearing a Suicide Silence t-shirt. From that day onwards they became my favourite band and I’ve seen them live every year since.

Courtney Peterson, Writer:

Fever 333’s secret set at Download 2018! This was a new band and the set had been announced just days before the festival. I’d split off from my friends to head to the Avalanche Stage, caught Rolo Tomassi and got a front-row view of Fever’s first UK appearance. Props, politics, stage presence, even a bit of climbing, everything you could expect from this band; it was intimate, but an absolute spectacle. The beginning of the set stands out to me. Having created this buzz with cryptic messages and secrecy, the band started their ‘demonstration’ with video recordings on a screen with a line of people standing in front, all in black, with bags over their heads. As the screen dropped, the band kicked off the set immediately and Jason Butler’s energy, of course, didn’t wane once throughout the set!

Nathan Lagden, Writer:

It was Sunday evening of Download 2012 and I was in a state of feverish excitement because I was about to see Black Sabbath. Not only are they arguably the most important band in the history of heavy metal, but they were one of my foundational gateways into the genre I love and a band I never thought I’d get to see. Having braved five days of the most horrendous weather and mud, I finally made it to the main stage for the Godfathers of metal themselves. With the age of the band and this being their first performance in several years, there was concern among many that it would be a bit of a let-down. This concern was unfounded however, as Sabbath put in a flawless show, going through all the hits and making me remember exactly why I got so hooked on this music in the first place.

Jase Smith, Writer:

As It Is, circa 2018

I have so many amazing memories from festivals but my stand-out favourite has to be Slam Dunk Festival 2018. This was my first Slam Dunk, the lineup was incredible and it felt like every friend I had was there. The environment was so good I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. I remember watching As It Is with a big row of friends all on peoples shoulders, screaming the words at each other, it felt so magical. I met some incredible artists who I still look up to now, saw some of my favourite bands and crowdsurfed more times than I can count. The thing I remember most about that day is just being sat in a big circle of friends in the middle of this field watching the sunset and just thinking ‘this day is the most fun I have ever had’.