Under the Radar: Leeds Festival Edition

Leeds Festival is officially back tomorrow and there are some incredible acts spread out across the weekend. We all know about the big hitters like Foo Fighters, Post Malone, The 1975 and more who are hitting the Main Stage, but what about the lesser-known bands?

There are some top small bands across the smaller stages and the main stages that deserve a little bit of recognition. I’m going to take you through some of them to try and persuade you to peel away from the Main Stage and take in some new music.

Vistas – Friday, Festival Republic Stage, 12pm

First up is a band who are perhaps a little lower down than they should be. Edinburgh locals Vistas hit the scene with songs like Retrospect and Tigerblood, which have already racked up over 10 million listens on Spotify. They’re bound to pack out then tent so it could be a good opportunity to see a band who are set to hit the big time. 

For fans of: Sam Fender, Night Cafe and Blossoms

SWMRS – Friday, Main Stage, 12:40pm

Hot off the back of their Radio 1 set last year, SWMRS have been bumped up to the Main Stage thanks to the drop out of Lil Uzi Vert and they deserve it. If you want a band to shake the shackles off your hangover then SWMRS are the band for it. Songs like Lose It and Berkley’s on Fire will get the crowd nicely warmed up for Dave Grohl’s men later on in the evening. 

For fans of: Waterparks, Green Day and FIDLAR

Himalayas, Friday, Festival Republic Stage, 4:10pm

Fresh from their popular set on the Introducing stage last year, Himalayas step it up a gear and take on the Festival Republic stage. With Thank God I’m Not You amassing 15 million listens on Spotify, they’re bound to pull a crowd in so make sure you’re there early to catch this mid-afternoon set. 

For fans of: The Pale White, The Blinders and Yonaka

Kawala – Saturday, Main Stage, 12pm

Kawala were formed in Leeds and are set to make their Main Stage debut this weekend. Do It Like You Do is bound to get the crowd going and this may well be their platform to move further up the bill in future years. 

For fans of: Jade Bird, Tom Grennan and Isaac Gracie

Blackwaters – Saturday, BBC Introducing, 6:40pm

The BBC Introducing stage is teeming with talent this year and Blackwaters are a welcome addition to that list. They’re well known for their raucous live performances and this set is bound to be no different. Make sure you catch their most recent single I’m Not Your Man before their set. 

For fans of: Retro Video Club, SHEAFS and The Blinders

Marsicans – Saturday, BBC Introducing, 8:10pm

Marsicans are a local Leeds band with huge potential. Fresh off the back of a huge show with Kaiser Chiefs, these lads are a headline set you don’t want to miss. Their new album is due soon so you can expect to hear plenty of new tunes from that, including favourites like Too Good and Throw Ourselves In.

For fans of: Sea Girls, Circa Waves, Sunset Sons 

Ten Tonnes – Saturday, Festival Republic Stage, 8:25pm

If you’re looking for an act to fill the gap between The 1975 and Royal Blood then head up the hill and catch Ten Tonnes in the FR Tent. With songs like Lucy and Better Than Me, this London act are renowned for being impressive live and are another act that it’s worth catching before they hit the big time.

For fans of: Sundara Karma, Magic Gang and The Hunna

King Princess – Sunday, Radio 1 Tent, 3:20pm

King Princess is on the verge of something pretty special. Her unique sounds are the perfect pre Billie Eilish tonic, with songs like Holy and 1950 set to wow the audience. This is a set that will take you to a whole new place so embrace it, because you may well find yourself a new artist that you love. 

For fans of: Hayley Kiyoko, Billie Eilish and Maggie Rogers

Blood Youth – Sunday, The Pit, 4:35pm

Sticking with the local theme, Harrogate’s Blood Youth are returning to The Pit which has just about recovered from last year’s raucous set. With a new album in tow, this set is bound to turn up a gear so if you like your music heavy, then definitely check out what these lads have to offer. 

For fans of: Stray From the Path, Architects and Rage Against the Machine 

Sports Team – Sunday, Festival Republic Tent, 6:10pm

The Festival Republic Tent is home to some of the best new music around, Sports Team are about to add to the teeming list of acts that have taken their first steps on this stage, including headliners The 1975. Make sure you’re in that tent at 6:10pm because this is not a set you want to miss.

For fans of: Boy Azooga, The Magic Gang and Night Cafe

That’s all for now, hopefully, you get a chance to take in just one of these incredible acts over the weekend. I’ll be back after the festival with a review of all the bands I saw over the weekend and very soon an interview with Birmingham’s latest hotshots The Clause. Thanks for reading! 

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