Live Review: Leestock Festival ’23

One year passed, and I returned to one of my festival favourites; I couldn’t be more excited. It is, of course, Suffolk’s sold-out Leestock Festival, which takes place in Kentwell Hall. There is something quite special about Leestock. For me, for the second time in a row, it kickstarts the annual season with the best entertainment and an impressive selection of musical acts.

Local music lovers gathered around the weekend of 27th and 28th May to enjoy this year’s line-up, including Saturday’s headliner Natalie Imbruglia, the pop princess of the 90s, and other legendary formations such as T’Pau and Katrina and The Waves.

Saturday’s program rolled out very female-empowering energy with featured acts and their nostalgic chart-topping records, such as ‘Walking on Sunshine’ by Katrina and The Waves, T’Pau‘s ‘Heart And Soul’ and ‘China In Your Hand’ and the song I was waiting for; Natalie Imbruglia‘s ‘Torn.’ What a moment.

Another act I wanted to highlight is Saturday’s performer Shab who, despite technical difficulties, kept a smile on her face and maintained composed. Her performance was short but sweet, and I still thoroughly enjoyed it and was leaving the show a new Shab fan.

The main surprise of the day was young artist Dici, who brought a whole new energy and style to Leestock and left an impression with his rap verses and engaging stage presence.

I sensed more of a band-focused schedule on Sunday, but I was ready to fangirl and discover new rock jams. With the fortunately sunny weather, I got to enjoy an entertaining set by Aliens Don’t Ring Door Bells that came to ensure everyone was having a good time. ADRD’s combination of light-hearted lyrics and infectious, catchy choruses was exactly what people of Leestock Festival craved for their Sunday musical seance.

Later on, the energy was maintained at high levels with the help of Cast, one of the most traditional guitar bands to emerge during the Brit-pop era of the mid-90s with their hits ‘Walk Away,’ ‘Alright,’ and ‘Fine Time.’

For Sunday’s headline act, Leestock Festival hosted Black Grape, an English rock band featuring members of Happy Mondays and Ruthless Rap Assassins, who famously fuse styles of funk and electronic rock. Closing the festival with hits from their ‘It’s Great When You’re Straight..Yeah’ album.

If you live in the area, or fancy a little getaway trip, visit Leestock Festival and all its festivities next year around.

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