YOU CAN READ PART TWO OF THE DEBATE HERE
What does it take to keep a popular music festival, popular?
We all have that momentous occasion that usually happens in your mid-late teens, it’s embarrassing, messy, crude and tiring… Yes, your first festival experience. But what does it take to keep providing such an honour, as Reading and Leeds have for so many of us for so long?
“I DON’T don’t even know the modern equivalent to these pastimes of my old existence, why would the line up be completely relevant to me? “
My first Reading experience saw me screaming along all day and night to bands whose MySpace pages I had spent every waking hour staring at, whose album inserts I had read back to back and posters I had spent weekends flicking through in a Virgin Megastore. None of which I do anymore. So, in 2018 when I don’t even know the modern equivalent to these pastimes of my old existence, why would the line up be completely relevant to me? Well the answer is obvious, the line up is only relevant to everything Reading and Leeds strive to be, a popular music festival. Popular music adapts, goes through phases, has “fads”, however you want to word it. The message is still the same, it’s popular.
Above: Reading & Leeds 10 years ago, note the relevance of the headliners, which is still reflected in today’s headline act choices.
Reading and Leeds have disappointed you as it used to be an Alternative Rock festival? No, it has not. Reading and Leeds have provided an incredible opportunity for medium-sized festivals, like Slam Dunk, 2000 Tree’s, ArcTanGent etc. to stretch their legs and book incredible lineups. These up and coming festivals now have the opportunity to grow in their own right, by booking the huge breakthrough acts of the niche genres fans they cater to. Therefore, developing into thriving festivals, without constantly being challenged by giants like Reading and Leeds, and Download’s exclusivity agreements and contractual obligations to only perform there. Meanwhile, Reading and Leeds do what they do best, remaining popular and current. Perfect.
This year’s Reading festival might just be your last, but due to the line up, it will remain to be many peoples first.
Words: Lee Male