Festival Preview: Five acts to see at Dreamland Margate’s inaugural Leisure Festival

We’re looking forward to a day out at the good old jolly British seaside, next Friday, 24 June.

In the days when we took things for granted (you know, pre-COVID), there was an annual argument about the ubiquity of phallocentric festival line-ups. From the supposed godhead events Glastonbury and Reading all the way to smaller, more potentially progressive festivals like End of the Road and Arctangent, there was a growing discourse about the under-representation and omission of female artists on bills.

Leisure’s promoters Bird on the Wire have put together a bill that’s not only great, but it’s to their credit that they haven’t billed this one day event as a challenge to the norm – press releases aren’t making overt mention of the female-heavy line-up, nor is it being marketed as a FemFest (TM me, ironically). They’ve simply put together a kick ass bill with great artists.

Here are the five acts we’re most looking forward to seeing on the Kent coast at the end of the month.

Nilüfer Yanya

Miss Universe, Nilüfer Yanya’s debut album from 2019, was a heady concoction of indie-guitar bangers and jazz inflected soul. A clear knack for a deep earworm and delving into a rich tapestry of styles and sounds, it’s a great example of a postmodern record. 2022’s follow up, Painless, takes the template established on her debut and cranks it up several gears. A sure bet for a high place on lots of end of year lists, Painless heralds the point where Yanya establishes herself as a force in this murky old popular music business. 

It’s great. She’s great. Simple as that, really.


There is a really nice and well-balanced mix of styles at Leisure, and L’Rain is the most leftfield act on the bill. Brooklyn resident Taja Cheek creates lush, sweeping waves of splendour that morph into various genres as they develop and progress. R&B, ambient drone, found sounds, jazz and rock are all aspects of the sonic template L’Rain employs to spellbinding effect. Last year’s album Fatigue is a joyous ride of loops, oblique instrumentation and lush vocals.


Post-punk meets goth for this band of early 80s nostalgia heads from Melbourne, Australia. Imagine a mix of Bauhaus, Strawberry Switchblade and Power, Corruption and Lies era New Order and you’ve got a good idea of the lovely, trashy noise that HighSchool make. Goths in the sunshine are always a treat for the eyes, too, and the songs of HighSchool are a treat for the ears so it’s win-win all around.

They’re also are confirmed to DJ at the Leisure after party at Margate’s excellent Elsewhere venue. Expect to hear The Birthday Party, The Cure, and The Organ (I would imagine, I have no real idea – but that would be fun, right?).


Headliner Mitski, fresh from a number of dates supporting Harry Styles, is only making two UK festival appearances – here in sunny Margate, and another at a farm at some place called Glastonbury, wherever that is. Expect lots of material from the wonderful new album Laurel Hell, along with inevitable crowd pleasers such as “Washing Machine Heart” and “First Love / Late Spring”.

Soccer Mommy

The date for Leisure falls on album release day for Soccer Mommy, so an air of celebration is to be expected. The third Soccer Mommy is called Sometimes, Forever and it sees Sophie Allison cement her place as a great songwriter whilst also expanding her sound with the help of Daniel Lopatin of Oneohtrix Point Never on production duties. Her best work to date, the dark subject matter is hidden beneath the sheen of the production, the pop sounds masking the pain within.

Leisure takes place at Dreamland in Margate on Friday 24 June.

See the full line-up and buy tickets here.