With the UK’s biggest festival, Glastonbury, on its biennial hiatus, its up to the Leeds and Reading Festivals to fly the flag for England’s rock scene in 2012 and with a line-up that reads like a who’s who of the alternative music industry, it looks likely that they’ll live up to demand.
Dating back to 1971, Reading is one of the UK’s longest running festivals and since its sister festival started up in Leeds in 1999, the two festivals have run simultaneously over the final bank holiday weekend of the summer. Reaching legendary status for the consistently popular line-ups (The Ramones, Guns’ n’ Roses, Nirvana and Jay-Z are some of the diverse headliners who have taken to the stage over the years) and hitting headlines year after year for the debauched post-festival riots (think exploding port-a-loos and huge groups of festival-goers mud-sliding in their underwear), the festival always manages to rank among the most memorable events of the year.
This year’s Reading/Leeds festival is held between August 24th and 26th, with the Leeds leg taking place in Bramham Park and its counterpart at the Little John Park in Reading, with over 150,000 attendants expected between the 2 venues, many of who will camp on-site for the festival duration. Bands and artists will be spread over 7 stages with headliners including Foo Fighters, The Cure, Kasabian, At The Drive-In and the acts rotating between the two locations. Bullet For My Valentine, Paramore, Florence and the Machine and The Shins are amongst the other acts on the bill.
If it’s your first time at a British festival, or if you’ve simply managed to avoid the yearly snapshots of mud-ravaged festival-goers and sunken tents, you should be warned that a little rain is inevitable. Thankfully, rain never stopped the Brits from having a good time, so just follow this bit of advice and you’ll be fine:
1) Arrive early to secure a good camping spot – this means high ground to avoid getting water-logged and staying away from the portaloos, entrances, and water sources (convenient as they may be, they’ll be the first places to succumb to the mud).
2) Wear layered clothes– a rain poncho and quick-drying clothing that you can peel off when the sun pops out again, are a must.
3) Take wellies (that’s rain-boots to the non-Brits) – all it takes is a 10-minute downpour to turn the ‘dance floor’ into a mud bath.