Five Right Now: LEISURE Festival

by Bilge Nur Yilmaz

In a slightly different take on our Five Right Now series, Oxford based songwriter, Tendertwin, looks ahead to Margate hosted, LEISURE Festival, and tells you exactly who you should stick on your festival planner!

A truly female-led, aquatic, in-and-out bliss kind of deal: run by the independent promoters of Bird on the Wire, LEISURE Festival is seeing its first happening this year. A refreshing take on the summer scene, LEISURE’s boutique line-up won’t make you worry about which stage to run to as you spill your warm beer over your seaside fit. There are only two stages where the streamlined set times allow full enjoyment of this carefully crafted cohort of artists. Alongside big names such as Mitski whose Laurel Hell marked 2022, Clairo whose Sling aged beautifully, and Soccer Mommy whose awaited new release Sometimes, Forever aligns perfectly with the festival day, June 24 — LEISURE Festival also promises to take you on a discovery frenzy full of new artists to watch.

Here’s what we’re excited to catch:


L’Rain is Taja Cheek, and she is everything and everywhere. The Brooklyn-based artist is multidisciplinary, not only in her fields of practice, but also in the way her music materialises — L’Rain drifts between moods, genres, and sonorities gently yet amorphously. It’s almost impossible to box her in a genre, but experimental is as close as it gets — with a mysticism similar to that of Moses Sumney’s. Her stellar sophomore album, Fatigue, threads the songs almost in dream sequence. Layers and layers of vocal samples, offbeat claps, and unpredictable harmonies enhance the technical mastery of each track. Sounds in Cheek’s music are treated as ‘approaching songness,’ in her own words — a radical turn of phrase only an experimentalist of her calibre can handle. It’s a special one for Dreamland. 


Goth pop isn’t dead – it lives in the attics of Australian suburbs. HighSchool is the name in LEISURE Festival that brings in the glitter dark eye shadow to the house party. New Order is invited, so is My Bloody Valentine — calculated chaos, soft sentimentalism. Hues of Luke Scott’s infiltrating bass lines lay smoothly under Rory Trobbiani’s The Radio Dept. esque vocals. It’s a sibling deal with his sister Lilli Tribbiani on the synth. Fresh sign of Dalliance Recordings, HighSchool is a band of the full aesthetic from their post-punk non-chalance to their Super 8 music videos. Hear their afternoon set, and stay for the after-party DJ set to watch them spin records. 


Build up the fire properly before Clairo kicks in at the festival. Sorry’s pop-bordering-grunge drive allows anthems like Starstruck to reign: provocation, ‘yugggh’ hooks, DIY music videos soaking in originality add up to an equation for success for the North London band. Word on Sorry is certainly not new – they’ve been steadily stepping on their golden path for some time now as a new member of the Domino roster — this is a prime opportunity to catch them on their UK tour, following the release of their latest single, There’s So Many People That Want To Be Loved, which promises new music on its way following the 2021 EP, Twixtustwain. 


‘Global pop star. Lives in Dublin with her grandparents. Currently recovering from an AliExpress addiction.’ reads CMAT’s bio. Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson is Ireland’s rising pop artist who might shine over Dreamland like a rainbow during the festival, as she sings about honest heartbreaks with brutal humour and full-fledged originality that delivers scandalous lyrics through a wild folk twang. Every bottle is her boyfriend, she wants to be a cowboy, and she doesn’t really care for you — vulnerable and bold in her hyperfemininity, CMAT’s hooks are ones to shout out loud live following her Primavera appearance this summer. Comic book class.  

Léa Sen

A South Londoner via Paris, Léa Sen is an act to keep above the radar and bringing many greats such as Lianne La Havas and Khruangbin to mind. Hers is a natural match next to Nilüfer Yanya’s name on the bill as a follow-up to Sen opening for Yanya’s UK and EU shows this year. Having crossed paths with Joy Orbison for his single better in 2021, Léa Sen’s signature style stellarly grows her freshly out solo EP You of Now, Pt. 1. Expect an intimate meeting of several pedals, soft presence of electronics, and a soul-reaching rule of vocals over them during the live set.  

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