From a local Jazz festival to a UK musical institution, Reading and Leeds Festival has grown and evolved more than anyone could have imagined over the past 50 years.
The festival began in the early 60’s as a Jazz event but by 1963 a few blues acts were added into the mix. This included The Rolling Stones who were just beginning to find fame. Then, over the following decades more and more genres were added into the mix, attempting to accommodate for popular trends. Thus, the 70’s saw many Punk and New Wave acts such as The Jam and The Stranglers take to the stage. Whereas the late 80’s took a more mainstream approach announcing the likes of Squeeze and Meatloaf. It is just this method of adaptation that has ruffled a few feathers in recent years, as the direction of the festival seems to be changing.
Reading and Leeds 2019
This year’s headliners are The 1975, Foo Fighters, Twenty One Pilots and Post Malone. Four undeniably huge artists, yet mot quite representative of UK Indie and Alternative talent that fans demand. Of course no one can question The 1975 being on the headline bill They have just released their new album and continue to be the nation’s biggest Alternative artist. However, it is the other artists that raise some debate. Foo Fighters are one of America’s most famous rock bands of course, but that are way past their peak. This will also be the fourth time they have headlined the festival. It just feels as though nostalgia acts prevent the brightest new talent to get their opportunity on the big stage.
Then on to the joint headliners of Twenty One Pilots and Post Malone who may split opinion. Two huge artists. The former are undoubtedly the biggest artist in the electro-pop/emo world. Then the later is one of the biggest acts in the world, currently 2nd most popular on Spotify. The only problem is that, for many, these artists don’t resemble what we all think of as our beloved Reading and Leeds.
The reality is, the festival is changing once more. Acts like Post Malone, Kendrick Lamar and Dua Lipa are likely to become a more permanent feature. We may have to accept that Reading and Leeds is no longer an Indie and Alternative festival.
So where can we find our favourite UK guitar bands?!
Well don’t lose hope just yet though! Their are still plenty of the UK’s best Alternative bands on the line-up. The evolution of the festival just requires attendees to dig deeper down the line-up to find their guitar wielding heroes. So who is there to look out for?
YUNGBLUD – The alternative singer packs in elements of Rap, Indie, Pop and a whole lot of energy into his electrifying set. After his debut album ‘21st Century Liability’ the one man hype machine has created more than a music project. It is a family unit, joined together by love for each other and love for quality music. His latest Kasabian esc single ‘Loner’ is built for a live setting. So be sure to catch his Main Stage performance and revel in the feel-good atmosphere that is guaranteed to get those endorphins flowing!
The Night Cafe – These Scouse Indie lovers will be heading to the Radio 1 Stage in August. Their songs carry some form of magnetic pool, sucking you in towards the centre, drowning you in a whirling rock atmosphere and smooth, tranquil vocals. Their debut album isn’t far too, so this performance comes at the best time!
Ten Tonnes – Ten Tonnes is clean and melodic on the surface with an angsty side ready to break free. Yet, the real reason that his songs have captured the hearts of thousands is their constant positivity and honesty. It’s not everyday that you hear someone turn a tale of their own downfalls into a song so infectiously upbeat (‘Better Than Me’). You simply can’t watch him play without feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
But is it worth the money?
Smaller festivals such as Truck, Y Not, Kendall Calling and Tramlines can also offer a host of fresh talent at a fraction of the price. So why pay to go to Reading and Leeds? Realistically, if you are a fan of Indie guitar music then you could find better line-up’s elsewhere for less money. When buying a ticket to Reading and Leeds you are paying for the experience. There is no place quite like it. Endless cans of cheap lager, the latest comical flags, mud sledging, trying to avoid the lad in the DJ tent with the crazy eyes, constantly bumping into someone from back home and never getting to sleep due to the constant shouts of “Alan…Steve” and “Shalom Jackie”.
This festival, regardless of what you think of the line up, gives you a weekend to remember! If its the best emerging UK music your after, then head somewhere else. But if you are here for a weekend that will require a full weeks recovery then Reading and Leeds is still the place to be!
Tickets available here.
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