We preview the legendary Reading & Leeds Festival, and point you towards the best acts to catch.
Reading & Leeds is one of the world’s most famous festivals. Now in its 53rd year, the festival return’s to host a chaotic display of alcohol-fuelled debauchery, impromptu mudslides and of course a killer line-up.
With such a massive line-up the task was too big for one man, so we got a different team member to preview each day of the festival.
Reading – Friday / Leeds – Saturday
By Adam French
Headliners, Queens of the Stone Age (arguably this generation’s greatest live rock band) take to the main stage to play some tunes from the band’s unblemished discography.
Hayley Williams fronted Emo rockers Paramore share the limelight as they co-headline with QOTSA. Their lmost recent sets have been heavy on material from their UK no.1 self-titled album 4th album but also with tracks from their breakthrough Riot!, which will please casual and hardcore fans alike.
If Jimmy Eat World put out a punchy, nostalgia laden festival friendly set it will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the weekend. You should also make time to catch Blood Red Shoes frenetic punk indie metal rock set where the tribes of metal headbangers and indie kids can find a common ground.
NME/ Radio 1 Stage
On the NME /BBC 1 stage, some heaviness is injected in the form of small band that makes a ton of noise, Drenge. Former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerrard Way is also set to make his world debut as a solo artist at the event where his old band were met with a hail of bottles on their first appearance.
Twin Atlantic have been getting a ton of air play with ‘Heart and Soul’ and these upbeat Glaswegians wil keep you on your feetif you find yourself flagging in the middle of the day.
A pop band designed to please Metronomy are probably the greatest thing to come out of Devon since clotted cream. Their expertly crafted lo-fi indie-electro tracks will go down a treat as day becomes night.
Best of the rest:
On the Festival republic stage Catfish & The Bottlemen have already sold out a date at Koko, and the buzz building around them is definitely justified judging by the quality tunes they have released so far. Fat White Family’s live show will definitely blow you away.
If you want to catch something other than bands, an Annie Mac DJ set will always have you on the edge of delirium. And one of the most underrated and wet-yourself-in-a-field funny comedian touring the UK, Milton Jones will round off an amazing day.
Reading – Saturday / Leeds – Sunday
By Lee Shelton
With a bump to the main stage of the festival, is the ever-brilliant Foster the People. The Indie band’s sets are explosive, brimming with high intensity energy and teeming with good vibes.
The overtly theatrical Swedish garage band, The Hives are also on the bill. In a review of a 2012 Hives show in Stockholm, NME gave the band the ultimate back-handed compliment, saying that all of their songs have and always will sound the same, “However, such is The Hives’ prowess as a live band they could make an entire set of LMFAO covers compulsive viewing”, then adding, “A decade after being everyone’s New Favourite Band they’re still one to cherish, for the dumb, brattish fun of it alone.
The biggest draw of the whole festival however is probably Arctic Monkey’s huge headline set. They blew Finsbury Park away twice earlier this year, and they have proven time and again that they are up to the task of topping the bill at our biggest festivals, so get down the front for a set that will go down in Reading and Leeds history.
NME/ Radio 1 Stage
Royal Blood have gained a lot of attention since Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helder wore one of the bands tee’s at Glastonbury last year. That attention is warranted as the Brighton based duo will crash through a loud and proud set of monster garage rock hits in waiting.
Chvrches and Bombay Bicycle Club also feature on a solid line-up for the second stage.
Best of the rest:
Once again you are spoiled for choice, A pendulum DJ set, We Are Scientists, Band of Skulls, Love Zombies and Beardyman all feature throughout the day. Just go for a wander, the line-up is packed with talent.
Reading – Sunday / Leeds Friday
By Christina Kutscher
Pop punks fans can rejoice – Blink 182 are back! If you weren’t lucky enough to catch them in Brixton this month you can re-visit your teen years at the festival’s main stage! Their 2010 set was epic – the crowd went wild – pints were thrown and mosh pits were started. I couldn’t imagine a better way to start or end your Reading and Leeds experience. You will walk away with tears of happiness, this I promise you – these boys (men?) will not fail you.
Now I have got you hyped for Blink 182, what about the rest of the main headliners? They’re all big in their own rights – if you like to sing a long and bang your head to the beat you are going to find it a struggle to leave this stage. If you’re a festival newbie and are trying to break yourself in easily, then maybe Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are the ones for you. Some say this was a controversial choice for a rock festival, I on the other hand think it’s brave.
Jay Z did it with Glastonbury, so maybe they will do it with all the fans at Reading and Leeds?! With tunes like ‘Thrift Shop’ and ‘Same Love’ you will be surprised how many hits you know.
The rest of the day’s line up will definitely feed the appetite of rock fans near and far – no complaints from me on this front. So who have we left? There’s You Me At Six and A Day To Remember – both theses British and American rockers are out to impress. You Me At Six released their eagerly anticipated fourth album in January, while A Day To Remember are back and ready to please after their insane European tour at the start of the year.
Let’s not forget Sleeping With Sirens, one of my favourite post hardcore bands from the USA and yet another one of my teenage dreams – Papa Roach – I can almost feel the crowd’s excitement when they blast out ‘Last Resort’… I am almost too happy to even consider the rest of the line up!
I can’t lie though, the list just keeps getting better and better, to add to this already awesome line up we have Young Guns (they’re back – whoop whoop) and finally there is Tonight Alive and The Story So Far. Don’t miss the Young Gun lads who I am sure will be performing their brand new single – could we be in line for an exclusive first live performance? The only way you will know is if you’re there yourself people!
NME/ Radio 1 Stage
If you’re more of a tent person, or equally you like to frequent tents to shield yourself from the great British weather, then head on down to the NME/ Radio 1 stage! Disclosure are thrashing out a live set that is sure to get the crowd going mental – I myself witnessed their powerful performance skills at Coachella circa 2013 (showing off here).
I am sure you don’t need to be warned, but if you want to see The 1975 then get to the tent early. The last time I attempted to see them at Reading I couldn’t fit into the tent – it was that rammed! The crowds were so impressed, they didn’t want to share – I had to hear about their amazing set days later *sad face*.
For nostalgic reasons I am very much thinking The Kooks will be a hit – we can all hope that they will get the tent screaming like babies if they serenade us with classics such as ‘Naïve’ (getting shivers already). For all you Indie lovers The Horrors are gracing the stage with their hits, fresh from their recent break. If your more into a touch of electronic then check out Clean Bandit – their chart/YouTube success with ‘Rather Be’ is only a hint of what lies ahead for these kids – definitely on my to watch list!
Lastly we have the soulful voices of Maverick Sabre and The Neighborhood, although both are yet to break into the mainstream, they are massive on the underground and are slowly rising, I can smell their chart toppers – they are that close.
Also to tickle your fancy on this stage will be Schoolboy Q, Jungle, Twin Shadow and The Wytches – remember you can’t be in more than once at a time – so choose wisely!
Best of the rest:
There are so many new things at Reading this year that I can tell it will be hard to catch everything that I want, it is even almost too hard for me to describe the goodness of it all. I shall be as quick and sharp as I can be! To begin with we have the Dance stage where you can see the Klaxons (You’re Names Not Down, You’re Not Coming In) and then we have the delightful Boys Noize who always impress with their sets.
Straight off of Disturbin London we have Sasha Keable on the 1Xtra stage – if she is good by Tinie Tempah – she is good by me. At some point you are going to want a little bit of a laugh, so why not head on down to the Alternative stage and see the ever amazing –Simon Amstell.
Sounds like festival heaven to me – is it time to pack our tent yet?
Like this? Then check out our other Festival previews here. Let us know your top tips for Reading & Leeds in the comments below.