As the southern reflection of the Reading and Leeds mirror, this year’s Reading Festival has an insanely impressive line up of next big things, old favourites, and acts currently sitting pretty at their zenith.
On Friday Queens Of The Stone Age follow other main stage acts like NOFX, Biffy Clyro and gypsy punks Gogol Bordello, but the big news of the day will be Guns N Roses and whether or not they actually show up for the headline spot at their first ever Reading Festival. Official sources from the GNR and Reading camps both say the rumours of a cancellation are false and the band will definitely be attending. Lest we forget however that this is Axl Rose, possibly the person with the worst record of cancelling gigs in the history of live music.
Audiences might not stick around for any prima donna antics or late arrivals though, as just across the main arena at the Radio 1 Stage LCD Soundsystem is a better bet for a solid set, after Mumford And Sons and Phoenix have primed the top spot.
Arcade Fire have chosen Reading/Leeds as their only UK festival and headline here on Saturday. With the ocean of good press and public opinion surrounding their The Suburbs album the festival might not get any more transcendent than this for a lot of revellers. For those on the backlash train or just more interested in something more retrospective, Irish pop rockers Ash play the headline spot on the Festival Republic Stage churning out their impressive A-Z singles collection with their new guitarist, Bloc Party‘s Russell Lissack. Or there’s Bad Religion and their 30 year back catalogue of West Coast punk at The Lock Up Stage.
Saturday’s long list of varieties also includes Pendulum, Frank Turner and Crystal Castles – surely Alice Glass won’t be punching audience members this time, as she’s rumoured to have done at Latitude earlier this year?
Sunday night’s main stage line up comes mostly from our turn-of-the-millennium playlists with Limp Bizkit and Cypress Hill showing up before some brief contemporary respite from Paramore. Weezer also get a main stage spot on Sunday and with imminent new album Hurley and a re-release of Pinkerton due out soon, fans will be hoping for a thorough run through their catalogue. To close out the festival, recently reformed faux-punks Blink 182 play the second half of their only UK gig of the current tour after headlining Friday at Leeds. Expect much punk-emo nostalgia to close the festival proper.
Apart from the embarrassing amount of world renowned acts there is a plethora of local outfits filling out the slots across no less than six music stages. There’s also comedy, documentaries, beat box, and miscellany all day/every day at the alternative stage, as well as the usual mix of silent discos, funfairs and circuses, swimming pools and, dare we say it, sundry movie stars miling about. Fingers crossed for the return of the sun.