PLEASE CALL FOR AVAILABILITY ON 0844 770 7788 Friday 27th - Sunday 29th August 2010
Held at the Rivermead, Reading, each late August bank holiday weekend, Reading has a reputation as the festival for the true rock fan. Three days of great bands, old and new, and usually good August weather! These tickets soldl out in record time,
Save yourself the hassle and get your tickets here now! We offer tickets for all days. With or without Camping.
The Reading Festival originates from the National Jazz Festival, which was conceived by Harold Pendleton (founder of the Marquee Club in London) and was first held at Richmond Athletic Ground in 1961. This festival, in turn, took inspiration from events held in America. Throughout the years, the festival changed names and moved around sites a few times, being held at Windsor Racecourse, Kempton Park and Plumpton, before finally reaching Reading in 1971.
The line-up settled into a pattern of prog rock and heavy metal during the 1970s. It did dabble with punk rock in 1978 when The Jam, Sham 69 & Penetration played. The festival attempted to provide both traditional rock acts and new punk bands, leading to clashes between the two sets of fans. Although The Ramones played the following year, the festival gradually became known for focusing on heavy metal and rock acts.
During this decade the festival followed a similar format to that established in the late 1970s. In 1984 and 1985, the local council reclaimed the festival site for development, and no festival was held. A proposed move to Northamptonshire failed, and a Labour Party council election win in 1986 saw the festival restored to fields adjacent to its original site. By the late eighties, however, the festival was seen as "out of touch" with the new British music scene. In 1987 although the first goth acts appeared on the bill (e.g. The Mission and The Bolshoi), the likes of Status Quo still appeared. In 1988, the festival hit its lowest point with the likes of Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler being bottled off the stage. The festival was declared a disaster and its future was under threat. Things were due to change for the better though.
In 1989, Mean Fiddler Music Group got involved for the first time. The festival started to change, leading towards its re-establishment in the 1990s as one of the UK's biggest music festivals. Notably, the new indie music of this decade started to appear on the bill and the future of the festival became more secure.
In 1991 Nirvana played the first of their two appearances to a massive crowd. This is also the year the first britpop bands such as Suede and Blur started to show themselves on the festival circuit.
The next year was one of the most famous in the festival history. Nirvana did their last presentation ever in Reading (and also in the UK) and what later became in one of their best concerts. The band's frontman, Kurt Cobain entered in a wheelchair pushed by journalist Everett True, parodying the speculations about his mental health. Then he got up and joined the rest of the band in tearing through an assortment of old and new material. At one point in the show, Cobain revealed to the crowd the recent birth of his daughter Frances Bean, and succeeded in having the crowd chant "We love you, Courtney!" (referring to Cobain's wife, Courtney Love) in unison.
Over the next few years the festival continued to grow as the popularity of outdoor festivals increased. Britpop and indie continued to dominate along with rock. Notably, rap acts such as Ice Cube began to appear regularly on the main stage.
In 1998 it absorbed the failed Phoenix Festival. This resulted in the infamous on-stage spat between The Beastie Boys and The Prodigy over the song 'Smack My Bitch Up'.
In 1999 the festival gained another leg at Temple Newsam in Leeds, when it was clear that the Reading site was far too small to deal with the demand. Though the 1999 Leeds Festival ran a day behind the Reading leg, a system where the line up of Reading play Leeds the following day, with the bands from Leeds' opening day playing the final day in Reading, soon developed.
After a successful first year in Leeds, a continued resurgence in the popularity of outdoor music festivals led to the Reading festival selling out more and more quickly every year. The Leeds leg, however, was plagued by riots and violence which led to problems in retaining its licence. Mean Fiddler moved the festival to Bramham Park, near Wetherby to the east of Leeds in 2003. Since then, security at both sites has increased and problems appear to have been quelled. However, this has also lead to an increase in demand. In 2006, Reading sold out in an hour, with only a 'handful' of tickets left for Leeds 12 hours after the sales started NETQUOTEVAR:1. The lack of a Glastonbury Festival in this year also fuelled the demand for Reading and Leeds tickets.
Musically, the festival has seen a return to its heavy metal roots, though it has retained a large indie, rap and punk influence. The "tradition" of unpopular bands being bottled off (being forced off stage by a barrage of audience-thrown plastic bottles, sometimes filled with urine) has continued; famously, Daphne and Celeste suffered this ignominy in 2000, with Good Charlotte unluckily experiencing this growing trend in 2003. They remained onstage and even encouraged the crowd to throw more. In 2004 The Rasmus were bottled off at Reading and 50 Cent (with urine, fireworks, mud, pieces of furniture and generally anything people could throw) in Reading only. Some question the wisdom of organisers placing 50 Cent, a rap/urban act, in between Placebo and Green Day, both rock acts (although The Streets, a rap act like 50 Cent, played earlier in the day with little or no incident). 50 Cent lasted nearly 20 minutes at Reading, before throwing his microphone into the crowd in anger after a deck chair was thrown onstage. In 2005, Fightstar, despite suffering a barrage themselves, remained playing throughout their entire set as the audience's bottle supply was quickly exhausted. This has given the band, featuring Charlie Simpson an ex-member of pop group Busted, a strike of admiration and praise for being able to remain onstage throughout the incident. In 2006 at Reading, Panic! at the Disco lead singer Brendon Urie was knocked down from a hit by a full plastic bottle thrown from the crowd, causing the band to stop for 3 minutes while he received medical attention, before continuing to play the whole of the set with no more bottles directly hitting them. Despite this, the band played their set at Leeds the following day with no incident (aside from a thank you and praise for being a better crowd). My Chemical Romance also suffering a barrage of bottles in 2006, but completed their set, encouraging the crowd to boo, hiss and throw more. Most of the throwing was commited by Slayer fans who felt an "emo" band shouldnt be playing after the heavy metal band. Though it should be noted that the majority of the crowd were supporters of the My Chemical Romance.
The Arctic Monkeys famously filled the Carling Tents at both festivals in 2005 despite having not officially released any material to the general public at this point. Many remarked they had never seen the Carling Tent so packed - people were standing outside up to twelve metres away, and more and more joined the crowd as the band played. In 2006 it was announced that they would be the second headliners of that year's festival - a remarkable jump up the bill.
In 2002 British indie rockers Feeder played the Radio 1 tent as headliners, having played the Main Stage in 1997, 1999 and 2001. This was because they wanted to keep the show low-key as it was their first official live appearance after the tragic death of their drummer Jon Lee in January of that year. However, despite playing a small stage the tent was filled way beyond its capacity, with people outside the tent trying to watch their performance despite Jarvis Cocker's band Pulp playing on the Main Stage at the same time. It would be their last show at the festival until four years later in 2006, when they played the Main Stage. They were apparently offered a Main Stage headline slot in 2004, but had to turn it down possibly due to their hetic recording schedule for the Pushing The Senses album and only played one gig that year as a result.
The same year in 2006, Muse headlined the second day of Reading. Frontman Matt Bellamy later said it was the best gig they had ever played.
The announcement of the lineup and ticket release for the 2006 festival saw weekend tickets for Reading sell out just an hour, breaking all records so far, and emphasising the growing desire for live music because of the "rock revival" of the past few years. Further Weekend tickets went on sale again soon after and went in 26 minutes.