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This is a local festival for local people...
Member Name: glitter_princess
Date: 13/10/02, updated on 13/10/02 (276 review reads)
Advantages: Fantastic bands all on one stage, Get to meet loads of like minded people
Disadvantages: Not for those who like their creature comforts
---What do I get for my money?---
A weekend ticket (including camping) will set you back £95 which sounds a lot but really is worth it when you consider all the great bands you get to see. Bands which graced the hallowed fields of Reading this year included Muse, Incubus, The Foo Fighters, Prodigy and Pulp. A one day ticket costs about £35. Security has been upped in recent years, with festival goers having to exchange their tickets for a wristband in order to enter the arena. Basically, if you haven't got a ticket, you're not getting in!
There are four stages in the venue:
The Main Stage- where all the well-known bands play eg. Muse, Ash, Pulp, Offspring, Prodigy.
The Evening Session Stage- where the lesser known bands play but is really worth a look- bands that played here included Feeder, The Vines and Haven.
The Boutique Stage- for those annoying people like me who like all types of music! This stage plays funky dance sets throughout the day (The Herbalizer
were great to pass the time while Slipknot played!)
The Carling Stage- where you can see unsigned bands who are set to make it big display their talents.
If for some reason you find yourself at a loose end or need a break from all that music, there is always the comedy tent to satisfy your needs.
This years highlights (in my personal opinion!) were the entire Muse set (despite the heavy rain but hey- it adds atmosphere!), the White Stripes' cover of that Dolly Parton classic- Jolene, and the Incubus set. I cannot describe how magical it was to see Muse play! I had been doubtful as to how well they would suit the festival atmosphere but in the dark with the pretty coloured lights illuminating the rain it was spectacular!
In past years I have found the sound quality rather disappointing but this year I could find no fault with it whatsoever!
---Food and drink---
If you go to a festival expecting culinary masterpieces, then you will be seriously disappointed! The food is typical festival fare- burgers, pizza, stir-fry, etc and there are many vans around the site. However, the prices are outrageous- expect to pay about £3.50 for a burger and £2 for a bottle of coke! Either you accept the prices and pay or you try a little flirting with the vendors and try and get them to knock the price down. Shameless I know, but I have found that it really does work!
Alcohol wise, there are numerous beer tents around the arena but, as the festival is sponsored by Carling, do not expect to be served much else! If you are like me and not a huge beer drinker, you will have to leave the venue and venture into the town (where everything is much cheaper anyway!)
There are many stalls selling clothes, CDs, hats, sunglasses so even shopaholics can get their daily fix!
---So what about the toilets?---
The camping conditions are truly an experience! For some reason the festival organisers seemed to fe
el that the increase in the number of people should equal less toilets! Obviously this is going to lead to a very sorry (and smelly) state of affairs! If you think that the toilets can't possibly be that bad- think again! My advice is to try and go in the morning when they have just been cleaned and definately not to use the toilets inside the arena after 6pm- you will regret it! The campsite areas were actually reasonably rubbish free this year, due to the fact that a 'litter exchange' program was set up whereby you were given a free beer token in exchange for a bin liner of rubbish! Despite the hideous conditions, the camping really is all part of the experience and if you go with a big group of friends is really fun! For the hygiene conscious there are even showers (although expect a long queue- I snuck home for mine!)
There is a medical cabin with staff avaliable 24 hours a day to tend to your medical problems, as well as a temporary police station, payphones and cashpoints.
The only other problem with the festival is that it seems to have been a victim of its own success! This year the venue seemed hugely overcrowded and at points it was hardly possible to move!
---A note for concerned parents---
Many parents worry about their children going to festivals due to the repuation they have for drug taking. All I can say is that while it does occur, it is not as widespread as people assume and really is nothing to worry about. If you are concerned about your child going, why not buy them a day ticket this year and let them go for the weekend the next?
---Tips for festival survival---
*Bring your own toilet roll- there almost certainly will not be any in the toilets and don't expect anyone to 'lend' you some!
*Buy a programme! Expensive they might be at £6 but, as anyone who has missed their 'sole purpose for being at the festival' band because they were in the beer tent wil
l tell you, they are an essential item. Split the price between a couple of friends and it won't seem so painful!
*Prepare for all types of weather! This year I experienced my first ever dose of sunburn as well as getting completely soaked!
*Bring your mobile phone! Although you may worry about it being stolen, it is such an essential means of communication- I don't know how I'd ever manage to find my friends without one! Orange also provide a re-charging point so you'll never be caught out!
For those who want to experience the festival atmosphere but aren't prepared to brave the portaloos, can I suggest the Holiday Inn on Richfield Avenue- literally just down the road from the festival ground!
Tickets can be purchased from any HMV store nationwide or from ticket selling companies.
For more information visit www.readingfestival.com
Hope to see you all there next year!
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