This year’s Leeds and Reading Festivals were some of the best yet, another three-day celebration of live music across the country. This year Global Sound Group was lucky enough to attend Reading Festival. Growing every year, Reading saw a slew of amazing artists descend upon it, as well as a Co-op and Primark for the first time ever.
This year many online chose to smear the line-up, many calling it the worst line up ever. However, this line up simply reflected the changing scenes in music, what is popular in 2018 now that we can easily stream music of all genres at ease, rap, rock and pop are the main interests of many, and all comfortably share the main stage.
Bring Me The Horizon were one of the standouts on Friday – despite not being billed at all. Ollie Sykes first teased this secret set with Annie Mac on Radio 1 last week, whilst talking about new single Mantra and new upcoming album. The slot was teased as “An Invitation To Salvation”, fans had deciphered that BMTH would be taking to the Radio 1 Stage. They opened with their new track and quickly followed with Throne. The set was incredibly high energy, years of iconic tracks reverberated through the tent and this remains one of the best performances of the weekend.
Two contrasting acts played the Main Stage, one of 2018’s biggest acts, Post Malone, and one of the UK’s favourite indie bands, and one of my personal favourites as a Scouser, The Wombats. Post Malone discussed his true rags to riches story, from having no money to his name to playing the Main Stage at one of the UK’s biggest festivals. The Wombats frontman Matthew Murphy stood out with his all pink trousers and flowery-pink patterned shirt, it was an absolute look. The lads put on an amazing show, and have just announced a their largest U.K. tour ever for next year.
Saturday saw Mike Shinoda take to the Main Stage, he discussed Linkin Park’s last Reading set in 2003. His set consisted of a mix of solo work, Fort Minor and Linkin Park songs. In The End was played with the crowd as a tribute to the late Linkin Park frontman, Chester Bennington.
Dua Lipa played her only U.K. festival slot on Saturday. The crowd was electric and loved her festival-appropriate set focused on her upbeat, dance focused track. No tracks saw the crowd sing louder than her U.K. number one singles, New Rules and One Kiss, with Calvin Harris. She rocked the Main Stage in a summery tracksuit look, she was amazing as always.
One of the most talked about sets was Panic! At The Disco’s Main Stage set. Panic! played a good mix of their hit songs and new songs from their new album, Pray For The Wicked. They had a complete group of brass and strings, it was a live band in a literal sense. When Brendon Urie performed Girls Girls Boys he mentioned that this song gained a lot more meaning throughout time as fans started to relate to it more, they used rainbow coloured paint splashes for the backdrop, it was a good time to rep the LGBTQ+ community that make up such a large part of Panic!’s fan base.
Kendrick Lamar closed off the night, his set encompassed his entire career, including his critically acclaimed ‘DAMN.’ This set was the perfect thing to finish the day with, Kendrick has such a stage presence and an amazing command of the crowd.
Sunday featured many favourites, including Tom Grennan on the Festival Republic stage, and The Vaccines, The Courtneers and Kings of Leon finishing off the day with an incredible set.
All in all, Reading 2018 was a triumph. It surpassed the expectations of everyone, and destroyed the idea that Leeds and Reading aren’t the top festivals in the U.K., they will continue to reflect music today whilst putting an emphasis on a good time.
Words by: David Thomas