Reading Festival here we come – Friday highlights

Reading and Leeds Festivals are still the biggest and arguably the best rock music festivals in the world. I know, Glastonbury has bigger crowds, and arguably a greater range of music and other activities, but for three pure days of opportunity to see dozens of bands from the biggest in the world to those that aren’t even the biggest in Kettering, there’s nowhere else like it.

So here is part 1 of 3, (more tomorrow and Monday) of our guide to acts that are worth checking out. It can’t be complete because that would take just too long... but anyway, here we go.


It’s Green Day headlining, and they will be great I’m sure. Other than that, the Main Stage is mainly heavy stuff, not really my thing, except for the legend that is Frank Turner at tea-time. Expect the biggest sing-along you’ve ever seen when he sings “Long Live the Queen) – this was him in the tent at Reading three years ago.  A real moment...

So it’s a day for the tents. Night Engine, opening the NME Tentwe featured here, (breaking news - the also excellent Dry the River will open the NME Stage now at the ridiculously early time of 11.30am) and they’re followed by the impressive, Coldplay-like Kodaline then the two crazy female rockers of Deep Valley. Frightened Rabbit a little later around 6pm are a favourite with their somewhat angst ridden but tuneful Scottish indie. Then Bastille – their album has grown on me and this will be a Reading highlight – expect a packed tent and lots of audience involvement.

Meanwhile, it is a really strong and varied line up in the Festival Republic Tent (FR). Charlie Boyer (British rock with US 90s influences), Parquet Courts (US intelligent punk), Half Moon Run (Mumfords meet the Eagles), Ms Mr (electro boy girl indie rock)and ( a Danish Grimes?) all sound well worth catching. Clearly, I’m going to be yo-yoing between Radio 1 and FR tents all afternoon.

Then today’s “don’t miss” is Temples – UK psychedelia  with a new spin, and good live according to our sources.  (We featured them here a while back). They’re on around 5.30, pretty much straight after Frank Turner, so just a short walk over to the tent from the  Main Stage.

And the Strypes, 15 year old Irish throwbacks (The Stones or Who circa 1963) are going to cause a minor riot in and around the small FR tent  at 7pm I’m sure, as the kids warm up for Green Day with a bit of practice moshing!  (Worst timing clash of the day – Strypes and Bastille).

That’s all before we even mention Wiley headlining the 1Extra stage, the Lock-Up with some serious hardcore /punk and the excellent more mainstream Alkaline Trio headlining , the Introducing Stage for new bands or the Dance Stage.  I won’t be spending much time there, which will come as good news for anyone who has ever seen me dance, but a quick mention for Clean Bandit, on that stage around 3 pm, who combine Cambridge educated classical musicians with beats and rap in a rather interesting manner.

What a day....

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