Packed to the nines with art and culture as Yorkshire is, it’s no surprise that the last weekend of August is a busy one for the county. It is the weekend that will see 75,000 people flock to Bramham Park for Leeds Festival, whose reputation for variety, society and inebriety precedes itself; it is also, more pertinently, home to a cultural weekender of a very different ochre: ex-brewhouse-turned-art-gallery The Tetley is putting on a festival, and it looks incredible.
The weekender goes by the name of The Garden Party, and is the result of a divine collaboration between the Tetley, The Warehouse Project, Canal Mills, Metropolis, Chibuku, Now Wave and Eat Your Own Ears. With an executive committee of such titanic proportions, it would be entirely reasonable for one to expect a star-studded line-up of the modern underground’s greatest over two decadent days of artistic endeavour and culinary delight of hedonistic proportions. One would be entirely correct. In fact, the collective clout of these founding parties has secured a line-up so solid it, in its capacity as a man-sized one-venue urban weekender, threatens the gigant, the cycloptic crown of Leeds Festival.
The first day, on Saturday 29th August, boasts live sounds from Roisin Murphy, Joy Orbison, Mr Scruff, Dutch Uncles, Errors and more, while the Sunday sees the likes of Little Dragon, Todd Terje, Julio Bashmore, Grandmaster Flash and Lonelady take the stage amongst a litany of others. This might have been enough for an inner-city music weekend, but sights, sounds, smells and tastes available the whole weekend through take proceedings to an unprecedented level of brilliance. Sounds of another provenance can be expected from heavyweights Drop The Mustard, Butter Side Up and Eat Your Own Ears amongst a whole host of other DJs and soundsmiths, while a prodigious selection of food and drink will be available from stalls including Sela, Fish&, Banh Mi, a dedicated craft beer bar and a dedicated cocktail shack.
A predicted highlight of Saturday night is Mr. Scruff’s set; loyal as he is to the Canal Mills cabal, and popular and regular as his 5-hour nights are round these parts, a chance to show off his best amongst a crowd of his peers, in the undeniably hip setting of The Tetley, is not something any self-respecting odd-tronica fan would want to miss. As for Sunday, Lonelady’s peculiar but wholly necessary and refreshing brand of post-punk neo-funk promises to blow socks from the feet of those that watch.
The Tetley and their national/local contemporaries risk monopolising a very particular, and very sought-after, kind of market in the conception and composition of The Garden Party; with great food, great booze and even greater powerhouse musicians packed into an innovative, richly cultured space just south of the Corn Exchange, it can be said with pre-emptive assuredness that The Garden Party deserves its definite article.