Taking place in the esteemed surroundings of Leeds University, Constellations was a brand new early winter festival taking place for the first time in 2010. Far more than your usual university shindig, this festival had a carefully-crafted lineup and also heavily promoted art, film and anything else you can think of that is creative and would inspire people. It was to Constellations’ credit that the packed crowd was a cross-section of all ages, and you’d struggle to find something that people would not enjoy. With bands spread across three rooms, it was inevitable there would be some clashes and you would miss out on something a little bit special elsewhere in the building. Having driven 200 miles on four hours’ sleep to get to Yorkshire, it’s fair to say I was a little tired for the start of the day but made my way to watch half of Dog Is Dead’s set and this soon perked me up. Playing in what looked like a sci-fi style tube, at the back where I was standing there were a few distractions, but the band’s bouncy harmonies, saxophone solos and general uplifting spirit were a joy to start the day with. I followed this up to see iLiKETRAiNS, (yes, I’m old school and still spelling it in that font), on the main stage in the refectory. The hall had been decked out in style, with plates and sticks making light of the constellation theme and these pieces of art gently swayed to iLT’s dulcet tones. Although I haven’t yet made a connection with their more recent output, it was a joy to hear ‘Terra Nova’ in the flesh and their closing song especially made your hairs stand on end. Another Leeds band, the mighty Sky Larkin, were on next and the hometown crowd really got behind Katie, Doug and Nestor as they tore up the stage with their all-too-short set. Nestor was in typically inspired form, asking for more drums in his monitor despite broken cymbals and making an already thunderous racket. Celebrating the fact no less than seven of their Wichita labelmates were playing on the day, Katie spoke with genuine pride when she said she was able to tell both of her current US tourmates, Les Savy Fav and Cloud Nothings, that this great day was all taking place in her city. Fleeting between stages, I also managed to catch parts of impressive sets by Breton and Liars - who were the recipients of some kind of intense hero worship. Back on the big stage, Local Natives were in a mood to party, and rightly so. Coming to the end of a year-long tour supporting the release of debut record ‘Gorilla Manor’, they told the audience they’re going to go away to write some new songs, so go on and make the most of the set. Lots of bobbing heads and ‘Camera Talk’ inspired the first real singalong of the day. A band that have grown in stature in the live arena over the past few months, their Talking Heads cover went down well and the likes of ‘Airplanes’ prove they’re a band impossible to dislike. Los Campesinos! were late on and rattled through their set at breakneck speed as they thought they had to catch up on the time missed out. Gareth thanked the crowd for being patient and warned there would be no time for tuning guitars between songs, and if anything this made the show even more special, as the sheer energy displayed by the eight members rubbed off on the crowd with moshpits, screaming and dancing breaking out in increasing numbers. During ‘Death To Los Campesinos!’, a very intoxicated girl near me decided the glockenspiel “sounded like Tinkerbell”. She soon disappeared as the rest of the instruments came crashing in. Thanks to a gentle nod to the stage organisers from Kevin Drew, LC! had been given an unexpected extra ten minutes on stage and the look on Gareth’s face when told this was priceless: “That’s longer than we were going to play in a best-case scenario”. Unperturbed, they dropped in a couple of songs including a rare outing for ‘…And We Exhale, And Roll Our Eyes In Unison’, and then ‘Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks’ made the whole crowd burst into smiles. The little chat from Kevin was an example of the communal spirit that seemed to exist within the festival - bands were hanging around watching their contemporaries, chatting to punters and just generally having a good time. As the time ticked towards Broken Social Scene’s headline slot, there was a definite buzz around the place – whether it was because everyone had had such a good day (acts I personally didn’t see included Les Savy Fav, Chickenhawk, Cloud Nothings, Gold Panda, Sleigh Bells and Dam Mantle – a tremendous lineup in itself) or the all-day drinking session many seemed to have been on, it was hard not to get caught up in the euphoria. And BSS only added to this atmosphere – the inevitable changing and swapping of instruments, adding band members at will for each song and Johnny Marr coming on for a cameo guest spot all combining to the exceptional character of the event. There wasn’t a single person not welling up during an affectionate ‘Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl’, ‘Texico Bitches’ took on a life of its own and when, just before the set and festival closer ‘Meet Me In The Basement’, Kevin demanded the audience summon their last ounce of energy, and forget about whatever the shit was that was holding them back, and just go for it, no-one argued. A celebratory end to a festival that couldn’t have made a better start, it is already exciting what the organisers have planned for the future.