Why I Love... Reading Festival

Growing up in West Somerset, there weren't many gigs for me to go to. Actually, there weren't really any gigs for me to go to. Which is how I ended up in the slightly unusual situation of Reading Festival (2004) being my first ever gig...and what a gig it was.

I was probably a little bewildered by it all for the first few hours, hell I felt stupid even singing along, let alone screaming and jumping and waving my hands about. But by the time Ash came on on Friday afternoon I found myself pushing through the crowd, jumping along and screaming the words to Girl From Mars. That, my friends, was the moment when I got hooked on going to gigs.

There have been so many Reading Festival musical highlights of mine...Green Day in 2004, and again in 2013 (when they played THE WHOLE OF DOOKIE); Franz Ferdinand starting their set at the exact moment that the sun finally came out; listening to Johnny Marr playing some of my favourite Smiths' songs; Bloc Party headlining the NME tent (and The Futureheads playing just before them). That's just for starters.

But, as we know, festivals are about more than just the music. They're about the people, the vodka smuggling, the never-tempting 'free hugs', the rain coats that you fashion from bin bags, the cups, the disastrous trips to the female urinals, the testing of the theory 'beer before wine, you're fine', getting your digits away at the disco... Oh yes, the music's good, but that's just the beginning.

I went again in 2005 and 2006 and, after a massive gap, last year. A year ago today, in fact. 

Despite feeling waaay too old (it's the only big festival that falls within the school holidays, so there are a lot of people under 20 there) we all had an awesome time. To my considerable delight, the security in the campsites was a lot tighter, the toilets were cleaner, the whole thing felt more 'organisied', and (most importantly) there was a silent disco! Yeah, it's no Glastonbury, but what is? Regardless, I am deeply in love with festivals. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a long term relationship.


  1. I've never been to the Reading festival but have been to Leeds a couple of times and never loved it, to be honest. I don't know whether Reading is the same but Leeds is basically a massive piss-up for slightly intimidating blokes. Obviously there are some nice people there, but they're vastly overshadowed by the idiots. Of all the ones I've been to, my favourite festival is Latitude, although even that I haven't gone to for a few years. Every year I say "next year..." but I never manage it. DEFINITELY next year though!

    1. Reading isn't 'blokey' at all but it is very young. I'd definitely like to go to other festivals (my Glastonbury ticket buying attempts have all failed so far) but the school holiday situation makes things hard. Although now that I can drive that might make make things slightly easier. I've heard good things about Latitude, and also Secret Garden Party. Tbh I think I'm probably done with Reading now...must be getting old! X


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