Leeds Festival is defended by Northerners but still considered the less significant site of the Carling Weekend – and quite rightly so. Reading Festival has roots dating back for generations of rock whilst Leeds only gained itself the festival in the 1990s. Since day one, the festival has been fraught with problems ranging from rejected licenses to mini-scale riots. One memory of waking up in 2001 and seeing a gentleman running past my tent on fire remains at the forefront of my mind as we cautiously arrive at the festival fearing that Bramham Park may be our final resting place.

After getting lost around Leeds, it’s a matter of running straight in to the arena to catch The Rasmus perform the first set we get to see all weekend on the main stage. They may receive some bottles – but nothing compared to their one song and four chord set at Reading that resulted in them being taken off stage two days later.

The Radio One stage is always going to be a better place to see bands than the main stage – it’s more intimate and a lot of the time better bands play. Dogs Die in Hot Cars and 22-20s take to the stage on Friday afternoon resulting in sets that it would take a lot to top – but Canadians, The Stills, manage to pull something out of their arses later in the day that sets a bar on the second stage.

Melissa Auf der Maur is certainly a rock legend – and with her experience in bands ranging from A-Z it’s about time she finally got the chance to put her own material out. Auf der Maur’s set is simply stunning and lets you realise just what a versatile musician she really is.

The rest of the day sees the main stage play host to Placebo who run through a set that every person in the country could relate to at some point and Green Day who, to put it simply, play a career-defining show – pulling out no stops. It would be hard to find any set ever performed better – the band certainly meet their own criteria of “best live performers in the world”.

Saturday at Leeds is the big one as far as most fans are concerned – The Darkness are in the building. Before Justin and his gang can take the stage though – it’s time for everyone else to justify their places on the bill. Infrasound, whilst hammering out their punky sound on The Carling Stage may be pretty decent – but they fail to live up to festival expectations, whilst The Open have more than enough star quality to now be playing on The Radio One Stage. Since their T in the Park performance they’ve gained experience, talent and a skill for live performing that is only let down by their lack of crowd interaction.

Reel Big Fish are renowned for being able to motivate crowds – but whilst they jump around on stage with far too much energy for a sleepy Saturday morning, they seem to be holding something back and are capable of far more – unlike Hundred Reasons who follow them on the main stage with a set that deserved to be so much more. Putting their whole in to the performance the only thing that was lacking was a crowd to appreciate it.

Modest Mouse may turn up twenty minutes late and cut their set short, but it doesn’t matter as the few songs that are played justify their lateness. Playing with cool and style, Isaac and company are worth a watch when you get the chance. Later in the day the same stage is graced by The Donnas who prove that femme-fronted rock bands can kick the socks of their male counterparts. With stunning vocals – and looks to match – The Donnas deserve great things now they’re finally gaining acclaim in the UK.

The main stage for the rest of the night sees the controversial Hives winning a crowd over like no others and Ash taking to the stage with their catchy toe-tapping tunes. Changing away from the pop-rock, The Offspring may be an amazing live band, but tonight they fell short of the punk mark that Green Day set the day before. Songs that are performed with style and energy but simply lack the intangible qualities that Green Day possess.

The Darkness close the night with a bang – quite literally as fireworks rain over Bramham Park – but it is their performance that many fans love. Whilst they are certainly a cheesy pop band, they’re also talented musicians that know how to get their adoring public on-side.

Sunday sees very little activity on the main stage – yet the Concrete Jungle stage has opened up for action meaning that Fireapple Red are ready to launch into their sonic attack on the crowd and, whilst having a totally insane front-man, wake everyone up for the rest of the acts that follow. The Holiday Plan’s emo may be somewhat of a let down after FAR’s wake up call but, none-the-less, they do have merits if you fancy crossing the emo line.

With Agent Blue on The Carling stage, it becomes apparent that we have crazed front-man number two of the day. As he throws himself in to the crowd whenever possible security seem somewhat scared – as do the photographers he’s throwing lit cigarettes at. Their performance is followed by local boys, The Glitterati, who may in fact be the saviours of UK rock. Possibly Guns n’ Roses – just from Leeds fifteen years on – these guys are a must at any UK festival.

Coheed and Cambria prove that whilst crazy hair has gone out of fashion long ago, it is still possible to pull it off. After their energetic and crazed performance, Roxy Saint fails to impress anybody at The Carling Stage in the slightest. Her vocals are almost as bad as her sense of dress and its definitely a case of run with your ears covered.

Funeral for a Friend play one of the festivals defining sets whilst The White Stripes play what is rumoured to be one of their final shows. Questions are still in the air as to whether The Stripes will ever record another album. If not – this could have very well been their last UK performance… it, however, is hard to imagine that their performance could possibly top Wales’ FFAF’s stunning performance that left a security guard lying on the floor writhing in pain from one of the many crowd surfers.

It’s not Reading, there is no doubt that Leeds is still a weak counterpart to Reading. The crowds are subdued by comparison and the site itself isn’t as impressive – but don’t let that fool you in to thinking that Leeds isn’t a force to be reckoned with. Even if you just fancied a hot-tub in the Aftershock tent – the campsite itself is a great place to be.

This year’s festival saw dry weather and an atmosphere that has previously been lacking in Leeds. It may well be the time that Leeds has risen out of Reading’s shadow.