• James Booton

Reading and Leeds 2019: PREVIEW


From a local Jazz festival to a national 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 including 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. 4 undeniably huge artists, yet they don’t seem to represent the plethora of UK Indie and Alternative talent that fans demand of the festival. Of course no one can question The 1975 being on the headline bill; having just released their new album and continuing to be the nation’s biggest Alternative artist, they more than earn their place at Reading and Leeds. 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 and this will be the fourth time they have headlined the festival. It will surely be a great set, though it just feels as though these 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 (watch him play last year's festival below) who may split opinion. Two huge artists. The former are undoubtedly the biggest artist in the electro-pop/emo world, and 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 that we have seen in the past 2 years are likely to become a more permanent feature and 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 - With music driven by social and political issues, the alternative singer packs in elements of Rap, Punk, Indie, Ska, Pop and Emo along with 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 new Kasabian esc single ‘Loner’ (Watch below) 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 Café - These Scouse Indie lovers will be heading to the Radio 1 Stage in August as their debut album isn’t far off! 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.

Ten Tonnes - Ten Tonnes is clean and melodic on the surface with an angsty side ready to break free. Yet, although this youthful energy is perfect for a live setting, the real reason that his music has captured the hearts of thousands is the constant positivity and honesty that the tracks exude. 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!

Grab your tickets and keep posted via the festival website.

#festival

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