Driffield NewsNEWS

Priestgate hit the big time at Reading and Leeds Festivals

Frontman of Priestgate, Rob Schofield, has told the Wolds Weekly how it still ‘feels like a joke’ that the Driffield band took to the stage at the Reading and Leeds Festivals last month.

The five-piece, made up of Rob, Bridie Stagg, Kai Overton, Connor Bingham and Isaac Ellis, joined the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, Dave and The 1975 over the summer bank holiday weekend, taking to the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading on the Friday, before travelling to their native Yorkshire for a set on the Saturday.

Priestgate’s Reading and Leeds bookings were the latest chapter in the rise and growing reputation of the indie band, which has seen their music played on local and national radio stations, whilst they have also been featured on NME’s website.

We never thought we would play Reading and Leeds. In the past, we have joked about things that might happen and then they do.

rob schofield

It’s been a busy 12 months for the band who completed a mini tour of the UK at the end of 2021, released their debut EP and have performed at various festivals over summer.

Rob said that playing at Reading and Leeds was a dream come true for Priestgate.

“We’ve played a number of festivals this summer,” said Rob. “Two of the standout ones were Latitude in Suffolk and Community at Finsbury Park in London.

“Community particularly stood out as we expected there to be 25 people in the audience and there was probably around 1,000.

“When we were backstage, we didn’t realise how many people were there, so when we went on, it was a bit of a surprise.

“Ever since, before every gig, we try and guess how many people will be there, and it’s a game that has become quite fun.

“Latitude and Community were seen as warm-ups for Reading and Leeds and we’d also done a gig in Hull to shake off any cobwebs, as we needed to be on the ball during festival season. By the time we had done those shows we were ready for the rest of the summer.

“We played Reading on the Friday and Leeds on the Saturday. We preferred Reading to Leeds as both a performance and a festival.

“I’m not sure why. There were more people watching us at Reading and there was a better atmosphere at the festival.

“They were both really good shows and we enjoyed them but Reading just had more of an edge for us.

“It wasn’t like headlining Glastonbury but there was a good crowd for us. Even when we don’t have a good crowd, we’ve got to a stage where we value each member of the audience.

“That’s just something that has come over time, as when you start out as a band, you think every show is going to be the best you have ever played.

“That’s unrealistic and not very beneficial for the progression of the band. We never thought we would play Reading and Leeds. In the past, we have joked about things that might happen and then they do.

“It still almost feels like a joke. Why are we, a band from Driffield, playing at Leeds and Reading?

“It was surreal. It’s a massive festival. We always want to play at the biggest shows and get on the biggest bills.

“That’s every band’s goal. You want to be as big as you can whilst still enjoying it.

“We’re going at a good pace. I feel if we were progressing any quicker, it would be overwhelming.”

Next on the agenda is The Gathering Sounds festival in Stockton-on-Tees, followed by four more festival appearances in October and November – Neighbourhood Festival, Wild Paths Festival, SWN Fest and Mutations Festival.

Rob added that as well as making fresh tunes in the studio, getting out and performing is a key ingredient to success.

“We’re looking for more of the same during the rest of the year,” he said. “Keep plodding away and get some more shows under our belts, as well as writing new music.

“Getting more exposure is so important these days. We’re at a stage where we can pick shows that add value to us.

“But as a band, playing as many gigs as you can is so important as it gives you the experience.

“Playing one gig is like rehearsing 10 times. You can rehearse as much as you want but gigging is always different.”

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