The past few years have seen Handmade Festival grow into one of the highlights of Leicester’s entertainment calendar.

This year, as the festival returns to the O2 Academy on 5th & 6th May, the line-up looks better than ever, from headliners Drenge and Circa Waves right through the line-up, including The Wytches, Idles, The Big Moon, Future of the Left, Spector and so many more. With so many great acts on the bill we caught up with Festival Director, John Helps, to pick out his highlights.

handmade festival John helps
Handmade Festival Director, John Helps

We didn’t think it was fair to ask John to pick just 1 act, so here he’s chosen his top 6 broken down to 3 per day! With the full line-up out now and available to see over on the Handmade Festival website, you can start planning your weekend and the start of the festival season!


Delta Sleep

Brilliantly intricate indie rock from the Brighton based math-rock quartet. Delta Sleep are Handmade veterans having played an early edition when the festival was still in the city centre and at The Academy.

Future of the Left

Big riffs and acerbic lyrics, Future of the Left are two parts Mclusky, one part Million Dead and so, so much fun. They played Handmade a couple of years back to a packed Queens Hall – this time they’re taking to the Academy 1 stage.

Grace Petrie

Grace has played every single Handmade in some form or other, often curating stages, bringing so many brilliant musicians and comedians to the festival. I genuinely believe she’s one of Leicester’s most important exports. This year she’s where she deserves to be on the main stage.


The Spook School

Indie-pop quartet The Spook School have just put out their new full length through Alcopop! records and they join a host of bands from the label and sister-label Big Scary Monsters on the bill.

Thought Forms

Thought forms have been a favourite of all of ours for a long time, and we’re really glad they’re back for another Handmade. Mixing shoegaze and doom textures, they release their music through Portishead’s Invada records.

Little Comets

Brilliantly infectious indie rock from the North East, Little Comets are loads of fun. The band scored their first top 40 album after leaving their major label and releasing it through their own imprint, which is the sort of ethos and work ethic I can really get behind.


Tickets to Handmade Festival are on sale now priced at £45 for the whole weekend. Visit the Handmade Festival website for full info.

handmade festival