Highlights of day one of the Leeds Festival

The Cribs on the main stage stage at the 2015 Leeds Festival. Picture: Ian Harber
The Cribs on the main stage stage at the 2015 Leeds Festival. Picture: Ian Harber

The sun shone on the first day of the 2015 Leeds Festival and there was hardly any mud in sight as the annual spectacular got off to a bright start yesterday.

The opening day of the 17th Leeds Festival saw plenty of highlights and a chilled out atmosphere despite drawing a smaller crowd than usual with estimates putting the figure at maybe half of the 70,000 of a few years back.

A bigger attendance is expected for the remaining two days of the event when Mumford & Sons and Metallica are the big draws, but it will have to go some to beat the sheer enjoyment of day one.

While there was something of a flat atmosphere at times in the main arena with the huge field half-empty the tents were well populated most of the time and were the places to be for the real highlights.

The festival was given a rousing start by Sheffield band The Sherlocks - set for bigger things on this evidence - who were impressive first up on the Festival Republic stage.

This stage also finished on a real high when Frank Turner delivered a joyous headline solo set. It was the ninth year on the trot that he has appeared at the event in some guise or other and is no wonder he has become such a favourite as a packed tent were treated to a fantastic set and joined in the singing with raucous sing-alongs a plenty.

The Festival Republic Stage also hosted decently attended shows by Little Comets, We Are The Ocean, Mini Mansions and Manchester Orchestra - who are strangely not very orchestral and definitely not from Manchester.

Over at the NME/Radio 1 Stage there was a huge crowd - and a mostly young one - to watch chart stars Years & Years with their electro-pop. All very lightweight, but singer Olly Alexander was an engaging presence and genuinely looked thrilled to be doing so well at the event where he revealed he came as a kid when celebrating his GCSE results.

Headliners Deadmau5 also pulled a healthy crowd and Gorgon City had plenty of people dancing along as they made up an unusually dancier line-up for this tent.

Earlier, The Skints brought reggae to the NME/Radio 1 stage to open up proceedings impressively while Ghostpoet and Kwabs brought more r’n’b and Awolnation added a little electronic rock.

The Alternative Stage was the place to be for big names in comedy with Milton Jones’ one-liner act going down a storm in a packed tent and lively and funny sets here from Chris Ramsey, Seann Walsh, Daniel Sloss Russell Kane and relative newcomer Dane Baptiste.

The Pit was where the heavy rock could be found with the very loud Refused headlining and equally raucous sets from the likes of Yorkshire band While She Sleeps, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Frnkiero and The Cellabration, the band led by My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Lero.

On the main stage it was varied fare, ranging from the hip hop of Kendrick Lamar to the earnest rock of the Gaslight Anthem and Against Me! who are led by the extraordinary Laura Jane Grace.

Wakefield band The Cribs flew the flag for West Yorkshire in what they said was their eighth appearance at the festival and worked hard to get the crowd going with a set of old favourites and tracks from recent album For all My Sisters.

Jamie T also worked the crowd well and The Maccabees brought indie to the main stage.

The first day closed with headliners The Libertines reviving memories of a decade ago when they were a vibrant band.

They revealed some new songs and played all their old favourites in an hour-and-a-half set in which they largely let the music do the speaking for them as they did not have much interaction with a crowd that was on the thin side for a main stage headliner. File under solid rather than spectacular.

The festival continues today with Mumford & Sons the big headliners and a great looking main stage line-up, including Alt J, Bastille, All Time low, Panic! At the Disco and Palma Violets.