There are music festivals and there are rock festivals … and then there’s Reading Festival, the granddaddy of them all! Starting off life in the 1950’s as the National Jazz and Blues Festival in Richmond, the festival eventually settled at it’s current home in Reading in 1971 with the likes of an early Genesis and Wishbone Ash making the cut. The 1970’s saw the likes of Sting-fronted The Police, Thin Lizzy, Status Quo and Peter Gabriel headline the festival’s single stage while the 1980’s drew everyone from Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden to Starship, Meatloaf and New Order while a second ‘Mean Fiddler‘ stage was added in 1989, expanding the range of music on offer.
Summers in the 1990’s and The Reading Festival were synonymous with each other with infamous sets from Nirvana and The Red Hot Chili Peppers leading into a Britpop-led ear of Blur, Oasis, Pulp, Suede, Manic Street Preachers and Garbage all headlining at the festival while 1991 saw the introduction of a Comedy Tent to the offerings.
Through the decades, Reading Festival became more than just a music festival and more of a right-of-passage for young music lovers. The hippies of all ages went to Glastonbury, the dance addicts jetted off to Ibiza, the rockers started heading to Download from 2003. But Reading drew the music-loving kids and all the bands they loved while still continuing to draw those of all ages who head back year after year with huge headliners such as Foo Fighters, Green Day and Biffy Clyro headlining in recent years.
And 2017’s stellar line-up demonstrates just how that Jazz & Blues festival from the 1950’s has evolved into the highlight of the UK music festival season. Now boasting six main music stages and many more attractions besides, those heading to Little John’s Farm on Richfield Avenue this August will be treated to massive headliners across rock and hip-hop with heavy-hitters Kasabian, rap superstar Eminem and anthemic rock trio Muse headlining the main stage across the three nights.
Indie-poppers Bastille have moved up the ranks over the last few years to main stage attraction alongside returning indie-rockers Two Door Cinema Club and Arizonian rockers Jimmy Eat World on the Friday while You And Me At Six, Tory Lanez, Anne-Marie and the always awesome London-based duo Oh Wonder hit up the NME stage.
But if you’re looking for something a little different away from the throngs, the Festival Republic stage offers up the enigmatic Bear’s Den to close out Friday following a feast including Aussie psyche-dance outfit Jagwar Ma, Anglo-Danish production outfit Off Bloom and the fabulous London-based four piece The Big Moon, hot off the back of their debut L.P. Love in the 4th Dimension.
Ahead of Eminem’s main stage headline set on Saturday we have Major Lazer, Korn (perhaps with their new 12-year-old bassist?), PVRIS, Taylor Momsen-led The Pretty Reckless and Honeyblood among others.
Straying to the tents and you’ll discover the likes of Flume, Glass Animals, Turbowolf, Japandroids, Black Honey, The Japanese House and East London five piece Pumarosa to feast your senses on.
Counting down from the mighty Muse closing the festival on Sunday, Liam Gallagher is making his solo comeback following the demise of his Beady Eye outfit, let’s hold our opinions until we actually hear any of his new material but he’s guaranteed to playing some Oasis classics to have bagged that main stage slot. Regardless, make sure you catch up and comers Blossoms who have been catapulted into the limelight in the last year following the release of their fabulous self-titled debut album.
The NME stage has some heavy hitters of it’s own with sun-soaked pop-rock offerings from Californian sisters Haim preceded by electropop star Halsey, both touring their sophomore album releases.
The dance stage has some great acts of it’s own with the likes of Charli XCX and Marshmello closing the night.
Start planning your weekend and all those pesky clashes, and then rip it up and throw it away for it’s highly likely that the best music you’ll hear all weekend is a band you’ve yet to experience.
While Reading Festival Saturday day tickets have completely sold out now, you can still pick up tickets for Friday and Sunday as well as for the whole, storming weekend over here: http://www.readingfestival.com/reading-festival-2017-tickets