Green Day at Reading Festival – Triumph, PR disaster (or somewhere in between)?

Our coverage of yesterday's Reading Festival is in two parts today. Firstly, the Green Day surprise / fiasco / incident. The full review will be the next and imminent post...

Rumours had developed into fact – Green Day were to play a “surprise” gig at Reading yesterday. On the NME website on Friday night it said, “at 12 noon on the NME / Radio One stage”.  So we got there nice and early, at 11.30 to find that they had already started – and worse, the NME stage was fenced off with no entry and security folk everywhere. Yet the area around the NME tent was almost empty, whereas on Friday night there were at least 10,000 people in that area, watching Foster the People and the Maccabees on the big screens.

So, two different analyses of this.

Me  - “The b*****s” ! Telling us 12 then starting early – that shows no respect for the punters who paid £200 a ticket. And why couldn’t they have let another bunch of people into the area around the tent? Or put them on the Main Stage where everyone could see them? I hate NME and the Festival!  And while 15,000 fans are delighted, at least the same again now feel really negative towards some combination of the band, the Festival and the NME – not a smart PR move”.

My wife – “That was a very sensible way of handling a potential safety issue – and rewarding the real fans and the campers rather than commuters like us.  It would have been a nightmare if they’d opened it to everyone. And they put most of the performance on the main stage big screen so at least we saw that. And we never expected them to be here at all - it's a bonus just to be in the arena and see the gig on the screen”.

Much more considered, as you can see, and I must say Green Day sounded great. And the truth is probably somewhere between the two views – I’m not sure it was handled that well from a reputation point of view, although it might be good for Reading ticket sales if everyone thinks there will be a another great “morning surprise” band next year.

At least we can watch the set courtesy of the BBC...

And to be fair, my mood was improved pretty quickly by Los Campesinos...(see next article!)

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