Newest Review: ... if people don't like rock music they dont have to sit through anything they don't like. The main acts I went to see was 30 seconds to m... more
3 days of mud, sweat and booze! And music of course...
Member Name: kirsty_tinx
Advantages: Usually incredible bands, good atmosphere
Disadvantages: Everything is pretty expensive, not for everybody
Reading and Leeds Festival are on the August bank holiday every year. The same bands play both Reading and Leeds, just on different days. It is a three day festival, starting on Friday and ending on Sunday, although if you're camping, you can stay on the Thursday night and leave on the Monday morning. (Early bird tickets can also be purchased when you can stay from the Wednesday...)
According to Wikipedia, Reading Festival (as we know it today) begun in 1971, and Leeds did not join them until 1999! Despite this, the two festivals have grown in popularity and sell out very quickly, the 2008 festival selling out in less than 2 hours!
Tickets can be pretty difficult to get. As I said before, the 2008 festival sold out within 2 hours, and this meant the phone lines were jammed, the websites were slow, and to get tickets you had to be extremely lucky.
There are two types of ticket, a weekend ticket, and a day ticket. Last year the weekend tickets came in at around £155 I believe, giving you access to the campsite as well as the arena. A day ticket will set you back around £65 I think, but I'm not certain on this as I didn't have day tickets, and postage, packaging and the usual handling fees etc have to be added on to the cost.
It's also possible to buy 'Early bird' tickets for £10 which gives you an extra night of camping, and time to find a decent spot to pitch your tent and things. I didn't do this last year, but wish I had because we ended up around half an hour away from the arena!
The line up is released literally seconds before the tickets go on sale. This is very frustrating because you don't really have time to look at the line-up and think 'Do I want to go...?' because if you spend too long contemplating, it'll be sold out! This is a big downside of Reading & Leeds festivals!
As of last year the different stages at Reading Festival are as follows:
- Main Stage
This is where the major rock/indie/alternative etc acts play. 2008's headliners for this stage were Metallica, The Killers and Rage Against The Machine. Other acts from 2008 were Tenacious D, Dizzee Rascal (?!? I don't know why either...) Bloc Party, The Fratelli's, Plain White T's, Biffy Clyro and many more! This is obviously the biggest stage, and generally the most popular, although there are some bands in the NME tent which many people usually flock to see!
- NME/Radio 1 Stage
This is usually bands that are still fairly well known, but not as major and 'important' as the acts on the Main Stage. 2008's headliners for this stage were Babyshambles, Manic Street Preachers and The Cribs. Other acts from 2008 were The Wombats, Pendulum (absolutely MENTAL... they should have been Main Stage to save so many people being crushed.), Bullet For My Valentine, The Ting Tings, Hadouken, Vampire Weekend and more. This is basically a really huge tent, with a decent sized stage inside. I personally think it's too small, because many of the bands playing in the NME tent are usually pretty popular.
There is also an NME signing tent, where various bands go to sign stuff for people. To be honest, although I'm sure it's amazing if your favourite band is there, it looked like a bit of a waste of time. The queues look excessive, and I think I'd rather spend my time watching other bands, personally. Although I'm sure it's something that some people would not want to miss.
- Festival Republic Stage
Another tent basically, less popular bands, although once again, there are always a few which many people want to see. The only time my friends and I ventured over to this part of the festival was to see Ida Maria's 'I like you so much better when you're naked!' which became a bit of an anthem to our Reading Weekend (I LIKE YOU SO MUCH BETTER WHEN YOU'RE DRUNK!) Last year this had Does It Offend You, Yeah? Ida Maria and Elliot Minor, to name a few.
- Radio 1 Lock-up Stage/Dance Arena
On Friday and Saturday this stage was referred to as Radio 1 Lock up. On the Sunday it became the Dance Arena - clearly trying to cater to more people. It's surprising how popular the Dance Arena is really, but if there is nothing better on, it's good to go and have a good jump around to some dance music.
There is also an Alternative Stage which features some comedy acts and other things. And another stage, whose proper name has escaped me but it is something like the 'BBC Introducing Stage' with unsigned bands playing. Usually worth a look, because you never know how good these people could be.
There are many different campsites in Reading. As far as my memory serves me there are Red, Green, Yellow, Purple, Brown and White. White is known as the 'Quiet camping area' usually for families etc. Yellow and Green are supposed to be the most mad and lively at night. Last year there was an Indigo as well, but I just looked on the website, and they're getting rid of Indigo this year and just adding more space to Brown and Purple.
Green and Yellow are also nearest the Arena. If you camp here, you'll have pretty much everyone walking past your tent. SUGGESTION, don't pitch your tent near a pathway. You're more likely to get squashed, damaged and possibly set fire to. We were next to a pathway yesterday and we had people pee and throw up on our tent. It was disgusting. Anyway, where you camp is pretty important.
Close to arena = close to arena, but noisy.
Further away = frustrating in the morning, but quieter. It depends what you're really looking for I suppose.
There is also some magical thing called 'Tangerine Fields' I wish I had enough money for this! They operate in different festivals around the country, and they set up tents for you, big tents, with lights and things, and porches, and places to sit in the middle, and separate rooms for people. They give you sleeping bags, and chairs (I think) and all sorts of things. And then when you're gone, they pack it all up for you and wash it, or recycle it, or whatever, and you haven't done a thing. You don't need to take ANYTHING to the festival which isn't your own personal belongings. No tent. No sleeping bags, mats etc. Just your clothes and the other things you want. It's pretty expensive though (although I can't remember how much, I'm obviously too poor for the luxury!) But if you have enough money, it sounds pretty awesome, although I'm not sure where it's located.
The last night in the campsites is mad. It almost put me off for life. Some people become really lazy, and can't be bothered to take all their things home, so they burn their tents, sleeping bags, etc, everything that they don't want. I suppose this is fair enough, but then every now and then, you get the idiots who decide they also can't be bothered to carry home their gas canisters, and so they throw them on the fire too... And it bursts into absolutely huge flames! It's mental! I was terrified, but obviously survived!
According to the websites they're clamping down on this, although I don't know how easy it is to stop it happening unless you have people patrolling every part of the campsite, which would be difficult.
The food both inside the campsite and in the arena is ridiculously expensive. I think one day I bought a plate of Chinese chicken chow mein for about £6. Chips tend to be around £2 - £3. It's so expensive, and not really worth it, but if you know you're not going to cook for the weekend, what can you do? I saved emergency money for food, however my friends did not, as they spent all their money on alcohol, so my emergency money went on their food too, and we were extremely poor by the Sunday. The plus side is, you can collect cups and some plastic bottles and get money back for them. I think it's 10p a cup and possibly 20p a plastic bottle. Helpful if you've run out of money, but takes a lot of work, and they're very fussy about what you bring back at times.
The choice of alcohol onsite is limited because of the sponsors. Last year the sponsors were Tuborg and Gaymers. Apparently Carlsberg was also,
but I don't remember this!
There are two Tesco's "near" the Reading site. I say "near" because they're both actually pretty far away! Despite this, it is worth going there to get a cheaper supply of alcohol and food. Last year me and my friends pretty much survived on crisps and beer throughout the weekend - all courtesy of Tesco!
There are (apparently) a couple of merchandise stands in and outside of the arena. The only one which I saw was in the arena, and I purchased a Reading hoodie on the Friday, which was good because they sold out pretty soon after I got mine! There is merchandise for all the bands playing, and all the bands that are supposed to play. I say this because last year although Slipknot and Avenged Sevenfold both pulled out of Reading last minute, I am told they both still have merchandise on sale!
There is a 'market' in the camping area where you can buy various bits and pieces. I believe last year there was a Guitar Hero tent here as well. There are also various water points in the arena and in the campsites. These are useful in the mornings and evenings to freshen up. There are, indeed, showers but try and find them! I felt completely disgusting by the end of the weekend, covered in what was probably stale beer and all sorts of rubbish, but I had no clue where the showers were, so I had to make do with trying to clean myself a little bit with the water points in the camp site - which was rather unsuccessful. So finding, and using, the showers would be recommended.
In the nighttimes there is also a Silent Disco (which I never quite made it to last year, because my friends and I never managed to find it?!) and a Fun Fair! Last year both of these closed on the Sunday night, because I think they were worried about what people might do to them, seeing as everyone was burning their stuff and wrecking the toilets and things. I'm planning on trying both of these this year though, if we manage to find them! There is also a late night cinema, showing various films throughout the night until 3 or 4 am, in case you can't think of anything else to do.
2008 was my first Reading festival. I wasn't really sure what to expect, and it was a bit up and down for me, but I'm definitely going back! The live music is always amazing, as is the atmosphere in the arena. There are usually some phenomenal bands playing, and things you wouldn't want to miss. Some of the bands are new, and awesome, and there are also some good old friends there (Like Metallica!) but it's good for everybody really.
A FEW TIPS:
~ I'd say if you're easily frightened, maybe leave on the Sunday evening just as it all finishes, avoiding all the mass fires and riots and things, because it can get quite scary!
~ Buy a programme! As expensive as they are, it's definitely helpful. I think they cost around £6 but I'm not entirely sure. It's very handy to be able to work out when to get out of bed and what you want to see.
~ Bring toilet roll, your own hand wash (the ones they provide don't last very long and smell disgusting) and mobile phone (I lost my friends last year, and it was a nightmare)
~ Bring a torch! The amount of times you might struggle to find your tent without it... It's an essential.
~ Pitch your tent away from the pathways. You're less likely to be set fire to, destroyed or peed on if you're further away from where everyone walks through. However, you're more likely to make new friends if you're by the pathway. So it's a win-lose situation.
~ Be prepared to lose things or for things to get ruined. I lost a torch, £20 and a t-shirt last year. Two of my friends lost lilo's. I also ruined my converse with mud on the first day and they were basically ruined.
~ Wet wipes are a godsend!
~ Wellies are a complete necessity. You will not survive the weekend without them if you are camping
Well I clearly rambled a lot... I hope this was useful though.
All I have left to say is that tickets for Reading Festival 2009 are on sale from 7pm on Monday 30th March. I'm definitely hoping to get mine!
Summary: I'm going again this year hopefully!
More reviews in the field of Other UK / Ireland topic
- LA Bowl - All Under One Roof!
- My views on the world - Cineworld!
- Who loves shopping
- 2 bog-standard multiscreens and the fab Duke of York's Picturehouse
- Can you picture it
- Living the Dream?
- Thank you for flying with Emirates Air line.
- The Island line on the Isle of Wight
- Great place
- Ladies Day at Aintree