As the temperatures begin to spiral down and that jumper that your nan knitted you has to make an unfortunate appearance, sitting in a dilapidated campsite with a warm beer in hand is probably the last thing on anyone’s mind. However, that doesn’t stop the excitement building for the first few festival announcements! After all, who can think of a better Christmas gift than tickets to see all your favourite bands? We have already learnt that Stormzy will headline Glastonbury, Def Leppard will play Download Festival and Loyle Carner will be taking the main slot at Liverpool’s Sound City. Now, after weeks of anticipation and excessive rumours, we finally know who will headline Reading and Leeds 2019!
The 4 headliners are Foo Fighters (Sunday Reading/Friday Leeds), The 1975 (Friday Reading/Saturday Leeds), and Post Malone & Twenty One Pilots who will share the headline status, performing on the same day (Saturday Reading/Sunday Leeds). Last year’s lineup came under fire after many felt the festival was turning its back on its Rock/Alternative heritage by featuring a high percentage of Pop, House, Techno and Grime artists. So how does this year compare?
Well, of course we have not seen the full listings as of yet, but based on the initial roster it seems as though the festival has continued to follow the same path as 2018. Last year saw quite a drastic change in the Reading and Leeds project as they attempted to cater for fans of V fest which had been cancelled. Consequently, many of the biggest names at the festival included Kendrick Lamar, Dua Lipa, Annie Mac and Skepta, making the days when Oasis, Pulp and Stereophonics took the main slots feel like a distant memory. This year has continued in a similar vain. The 1975 are more than worthy headliners as they are undoubtedly one of the biggest bands in the UK and are set to release a new album. However, Foo Fighters, although legendary have not released new music since 2017 and reached their peak a decade ago. Thus, it seems a slight cop out to book an artist simply to bring in nostalgic fans rather than promoting the best CURRENT talent the world has to offer. Furthermore, Post Malone is certainly one of the biggest artists, yet he is not the type of artist that devoted Reading and Leeds followers would be wanting. The same can be said for Twenty One Pilots; a good band, but not quite the level that a Reading and Leeds headline slot demands.
So why is this? Are the festival’s bookers struggling with money? Are they struggling to convince the best artists to play? Possibly, but a simpler answer is just that these artists are the ones that are guaranteed to accommodate for a lot of different crowds, and bring the festival the most ticket sales, so can you really blame them? For those Indie and alternative lovers, there has been SOME hope in the first announcement, with The Amazons, Sundara Karma, Pale Waves, YUNGBLUD, Bastille and Blossoms all playing. Although all excellent artists, they can be said to be the very biggest in the country at this moment in time apart from the later. Where are the likes of Arctic Monkeys, George Ezra etc?
So, for those who were hoping for this year’s festival (August 23-25) to return to its Rock and Indie roots, it is a disappointing announcement. All they can do is wait and hope that the further announcements bring in more alternative talent, but they may have to begin to accept that the festival has changed to reflect the wishes of the masses. What they need is a new artist with the gravitas of Arctic Monkeys to swoop in and become the nation’s new biggest artist. How long will we be waiting for this? Who knows…
Tickets go on sale Friday 23rd November at 9am- Find out more at https://www.readingandleedsfestival.com/