16th September 2016
Hey guys, welcome back to my blog! In the last weekend of August, I ticked off something which has been top of my bucket list for a while: Reading Festival. If you don’t live in the UK, then basically this is one of the biggest music festivals in the calendar, attracting audiences from all over the world. I’ve always wanted to go, and this year I finally had the opportunity to. Although, to be fair, I did originally accidentally buy a ticket to Leeds (Reading’s Northern sister festival). Check out my Youtube video for the story in full!
Reading certainly exceeded every possible expectation I’d had. I’d heard horror stories of how rowdy everything is, but I was pleasantly surprised by how chilled out the whole weekend actually was – I haven’t been so relaxed in a long time! Sure, everyone is having a great time, but you can easily steer clear of any drama and excitement if that’s what you prefer. It’s odd, but you sort of get caught up in this weird Reading-bubble. The campsite becomes your home; your camping chair your most precious possession. Those around you become your family; those in the camp next door become your fun neighbours (though, in all due respect, our neighbours built a rather impressive beer-can tower over the course of the weekend which was an impressive work of architecture). The portaloos become your worst nightmare; the arena toilets (which have an actual toilet seat) your idea of heaven. I think this is why the post-festival blues hit you so hard when you get home. That, and the post-festival flu WHICH I AM STILL SUFFERING WITH NOW. Three weeks later.
My main tips would be not to overpack, to take replaceable clothes, pack portable charges a-plenty and try to make the most of every second. Also, make sure your tent is waterproof. From the mosh-pits to the silent discos and “dicks out for Harambe” t-shirts, Reading is an experience like no other. It was my first weekend festival, as I’d previously only been to one-day-only events. This was definitely a good stepping stone, and I’d fully recommend trying out one day at a festival before committing to an entire weekend. Also, maybe get used to the idea of baby wipes and dry-shampoo being your only shower for a few days.
This year’s line-up was right up my street, with a huge variety of bands, singers, DJs and even comedians filling the bill. Since most of my stories from Reading are probably not appropriate for my blog at my ripe old age of 17, I’ll save those for another day and instead tell you about the music. Because the music is all that really matters, right?
Two Door Cinema Club were the band I was most excited to see, simply because I’ve been waiting YEARS to finally see them live. This band provided the soundtrack to my early teenage years, with their infectiously catchy beats. Headlining the NME stage on the Saturday night, TDCC were effortlessly cool. 13 year old Jack was in heaven.
The 1975 smashed it as ever, closing off the entire festival on the Sunday night, with a high energy show packed with adoring fans. This was my second time seeing them live this year, and though the set list was much the same as last time, it just never gets old. There's something enthralling about Matty Healy's passionate performances, and they certainly deserve the headline slot next time they're on the bill.
The Vaccines were one of those bands who I liked but wasn't necessarily a die-hard fan of. However, they were one of my favourite sets of the weekend and I've been listening to their songs non-stop since. Before their set was a fantastic and tasteful to the amazing Viola Beach which was well-executed and tasteful.
On Sunday, Fall Out Boy headlined the main stage. Don't hate me, but I've never been that into Fall Out Boy. However, they completed blew me away and became one of my favourite sets of the weekend. With acrobats, fireworks, fire-breathing and an amazing stage presence, FOB certainly put on a show.
In the dance arena, Sigma, 99 Souls and Aluna George pulled off some amazing performances, while Jack Ü and Rat Boy had an electric energy over in the NME tent. Twenty One Pilots were also incredible; crowd-surfing in a zorb-ball just part of the package.
Disclosure were the only real disappointment for me, which I can't believe I'm saying, but they really failed to get the crowd going. Two guys standing by a CD player isn't exactly my idea of entertainment. A$AP Rocky also wasn't really worth a slot on the main stage, with his frankly stupid lyrics and awful voice - he even had someone sing for him at points. Also, A$AP, you can't try and get people to 'mosh' to your songs if they don't have a beat drop. It doesn't work like that.
Other highlights included The Wombats, The Japanese House, Imagine Dragons and Half Moon Run, who each performed some of my all-time favourite songs. My heart was happy.
Photography credits go to my lovely friend Alice Clegg, who captured this during The Courteeners' set. Unfortunately, I totally forgot to take any pictures the entire weekend. Though, I do have to say, I've no idea how people managed to smuggle these smoke grenades into the arena when I couldn't even get away with a bottle of water...
So that was my weekend at Reading Festival! I'd do absolutely anything to re-live this weekend, and I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone who's on the fence about next year. And, if you do decide to grab yourself a ticket, I'll see you there! Don't forget that I also made a Youtube video about my experience, which you can find by clicking my face just above! ^^^
Thanks very much for reading, and, until next time, goodbye!
By Jack Edwards