Review: Reading Festival

by Kiana Stevens

Every year since 1961 people have come together at Reading Festival (originally known as the National Jazz Festival) to appreciate music and have a good time. 90,000 people attended Reading Festival this year to enjoy what is now slowly becoming a festival with a large Hip-Hop and R&B presence. As thousands of campers set up their tents for the weekend it is very easy to survey the kind of people that have gathered. You can quickly gather that the minimum age of entrance is not 18. When queuing up to get your wristband the first thing you’ll overhear is how ‘f****** s***’ the GCSE results of the kid behind you are but that, of course, they’re pointless anyway. An abomination of glitter and fishnet tights caught in the zips of bum bags is seen almost as often as a collapsed tent that was put up without reading the instructions. Then there are the ‘Lad’ groups, who between them have somehow brought more drugs into the campsite than they have sleeping bags. They are the culprits of all mosh pits and can chant Travis Scott lyrics like they are part of a trap cult. Aside from these, another main group of Reading Festival-goers includes the most committed; the golden oldies so to speak that have been dancing on the same field each year for the past twenty summers. They’re the reason that Kings of Leon still make it on the main stage and help university students avoid feeling completely surrounded by 00’s babies.

What was once a Jazz festival is now mainly considered Rock/Hip-Hop and continues to develop as time continues. This year the line-up was spread evenly across the weekend with Post Malone and Travis Scott covering the Friday, Kendrick Lamar on the Saturday main stage and The Slaves and The Vaccines both doing signings and performances on Sunday. Almost all large performances gave much more than expected and the artists that travelled from across the globe generally did not disappoint. Additionally, the BBC Radio 1 stage gave smaller acts the chance to shine, including my personal favourites; Rex Orange County and Jimothy Lacoste. The sparky atmosphere gave a silver lining to the rainy cloud that covered Reading that weekend.

As the classic British weather arrived, mud began to slide and wellies emerged from every tent for miles. Mid-Sunday I arrived back to my tent for a pot noodle lunch before Slaves (who were a perfect end to a wonderful line-up) to see my sleeping bags drenched and my tent completely flooded. This was when I knew I’d had enough of the camping experience… Overall, Reading Festival is a fantastic, classically British festival; full of great music and a collective group of people all in the same place to have a fantastic time. If the line-up is your cup of tea then head down there next summer for a perfect way to let loose (as long as you watch out for the rare angry goose!)