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- Posted on Aug 27th 2009 8:37AM by Stephen Dowling
Website: Reading and Leeds
When: Aug. 28 to 30
How to get there: For Reading, your best bet is to take a train or a coach -- car parking is limited. From Reading's railway station it's pretty simple to find your way – just follow the hordes dragging tents, beer and flags (though they're now banned – festival flutterers take note). Organisers urge travel to the festival by train or coach in order to reduce the festival's carbon footprint.
As for Leeds, if you're travelling by car then all routes are via the A1 or M1. There is no access via the A64 eastbound, organisers say. Like Reading, a shuttle bus service is on offer, taking people to and from Leeds city centre.
Capacity: The Reading Festival's capacity is 78,500, while the Leeds site officially takes 65,000.
Ticket price: Weekend tickets including camping cost £175, while day tickets cost £70 per day.
Who's playing?: The headliners this year? There's the Followill family band, namely Kings of Leon (Reading Friday/Leeds Sunday), the "newly-mature" Arctic Monkeys (Reading Saturday/Leeds Friday) and Radiohead (Reading Sunday/Leeds Saturday)
And that's not all. This year the NME/Radio1 stage is headlined by Faith No More, Gossip and Lostprophets, while elsewhere there's everything from Placebo to Soulsavers with Mark Lanegan, Enter Shikari, Eagles of Death Metal, Kaiser Chiefs, Glasvegas, Rival Schools and Lethal Bizzle. To list it all would take Spinner a very, very long time.
Who's played before?: Back in the "good old days" (ie., the realm of classic rock) Reading was the bastion of loud, lusty rock 'n' roll, short on subtlety and big on can-throwing competitions between the bands. In the early '80s, a typical Reading lineup would see the likes of Rory Gallagher, Def Leppard and Whitesnake bellowing to the denim and leather-clad faithful. After a particularly bad 1988 -- which saw Bonnie Tyler being pelted with plastic mugs full of urine and Meatloaf flouncing off after receiving a booze-based missile to the face -- the festival's rock-based remit got an update thanks to the Mean Fiddler Organisation, who brought the likes of New Order to Reading in an attempt to give it a facelift.
In 1999, spurred by the V Festival's twin-site approach, Reading opened up a sister festival at a site in Leeds, with the differing line-ups swapping days. Since then the likes of Blur, Oasis, Manic Street Preachers, Beck, the Killers, Primal Scream, Pixies, Nirvana, Foo Fighters and 50 Cent have all played
What's it like?: The granddaddy of rock festivals. The hard rockin' spirit of the '70s and '80s still courses through Reading's veins -- one day in the three-day line-up always has a rock-centric day. Expect to see more Green Day than Belle & Sebastian t-shirts.
What sets it apart: Reading doesn't go for the hippie vibe of Glastonbury, it isn't set in idyllic surroundings and it doesn't really cater for the clubbing mums. This is an unashamed rock festival for those who want to drink lager, nod their head, and possibly even make signs with their hands.
When festival fever sets in: Pull yourself together. Reading and Leeds fall on the August Bank Holiday Weekend. From here on in it's a long, slow, early sunset slide to winter. Bask in the sunshine and the noise.