It is that time of year once again. The end of the festival season is fast approaching and Reading and Leeds Festival is ready to stake its claim for being the best of the summer, with one of its most eclectic line-ups in years. You only need to look at the Main Stage headline acts to see that Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn has taken a few more risks than he did with last year’s line-up.
Friday night headliner Mumford and Sons is one such gamble. There is no doubting the live pedigree of the folk rock quartet – they demonstrated that they are more than capable of topping the bill when they headlined Glastonbury in 2013 – but the Reading crowd can be notoriously unpredictable and much less accommodating than those at Pilton. It says a lot that their step up at Reading has come after they went electric on album three.
They will be supported by two bands that are making a big step up to the Main Stage. While both alt-J and Bastille are hugely popular, it remains to be seen whether the music of the introverted three-piece can hold the attention of a crowd on the scale of Reading Festival, although they headlined the final night of Latitude earlier this summer. There are no such worries for Bastille, whose infectious, sing-a-long tunes are tailor-made to be sung by thousands.
Palma Violets and Drenge will add a bit of edge to the Main Stage line-up on Friday, while Limp Bizkit will provide a more than suitable alternative to Mumford and Sons on the NME/Radio 1 Stage. The nu-metal legends will be ably supported by hip-hop duo Run The Jewels – off the back of their celebrated second album RTJ2 – and New York punk rockers Parquet Courts, who have built up a formidable live reputation.
The return of Metallica on the Saturday for their fourth headline performance at the festival is one sure to be approved by the Reading faithful. Coming off the back of last year’s successful headline slot at Glastonbury, Lars Ulrich and co will be itching to make the most of their return to Reading’s Main Stage – 18 years on from when they first played it – with their heavy metal hits reminding everyone of the festival’s origins.
In fact, the Saturday line-up is by far the heaviest of the weekend, with Sheffield metal band Bring Me The Horizon, Marmozets and Fidlar set to shake up the Main Stage. They will be joined by Brighton duo Royal Blood, whose riff-heavy power rock will draw one of the largest crowds of the weekend, especially after last year’s packed out performance on the NME/Radio 1 Stage.
Elsewhere on the Saturday, the NME/Radio 1 Stage is packed with acts to compete with the Main Stage line-up. Catfish And The Bottlemen, Wolf Alice and Circa Waves are all up-and-coming bands with something to prove, while Manchester quartet Everything Everything cannot be far off headlining themselves, following the widespread critical-acclaim that greeted third album Get To Heaven.
But it is the return of The Libertines to the scene of their triumphant reunion at Reading and Leeds in 2010 that is arguably the most anticipated booking of this year’s festival. The quartet have already produced one of the highlights of the summer with their surprise appearance at Glastonbury and with their first new album in 11 years set for release just days after their headline slot, their set is sure to be one big celebration of the band.
The Libertines will need to be at the top of their game, though, as they will be preceded by the strongest Main Stage line-up of the weekend. Demonstrating the variety that the festival has only become known for in recent years, Kendrick Lamar will be supporting Pete Doherty and co with what is sure to be a highlight of the weekend.
Following the success of his brilliant second album To Pimp A Butterfly, the prospect of seeing King Kunta, These Walls and The Blacker The Berry live should ensure that the rap superstar has a sizable crowd. He will be joined on the Main Stage by Jamie T, who will return to the festival after last year’s surprise slot on the Festival Republic Stage, and sets from Reading and Leeds Festival favourites The Maccabees and The Cribs.
With the controversial Tyler, The Creator joining an eclectic mix of Gorgon City, Years And Years and Jamie xx on the NME/Radio 1 Stage, there is something for everyone across the Sunday line-up. This year’s Reading Festival is primed to be one of the best of the summer and with so much on offer, it will once again be a case of negotiating the dreaded clashes over the weekend.
Reading and Leeds Festivals take place from 28-30 August 2015. Further information at the official site here.