Having never been to a festival before this year I thought it would be best to dive straight into the whole experience and only go for one day. Being a broke student is hard and only being able to afford the Friday at Reading Festival is even harder (especially when Eminem and Liam Gallagher are there are you’re not). Never the less me and my best friend where determined to make the most of the whole day and try and see as many bands and artists as we could.
After the extensive walk from the bus to the actual gates it was packed. I couldn’t believe the amount of people there where trying to get into the main arena at 1pm. I was honestly half expecting most of the campers to be sleeping off an insane hangover of whatever they were on the previous night, but apparently not. Everyone was out and about covered in glitter and wearing shorts that where barely shorts. The standard looks for this year’s festival appeared to be a bra, shorts and braids if you were a girl and for the boys it was no top and board looking shorts. Everyone seemed to be using glitter all over their bodies and have a bum bag somewhere on their person. It was a sight to behold I tell you that.
The first band that I watched was The Magic Gang in the NME tent which was empty until right at the last minute when the Gang themselves came onto the stage. A whole swam of indies flooded into the tent creating the ultimate atmosphere for the whole performance. With everyone singing along to the top live music throughout the set the atmosphere and vibe within the makeshift venue really made it that little bit more special. The Magic Gang couldn’t have started out my day of drink and music off better. It was the perfect mix of music for the early afternoon before the drink really took hold.
Next up on the list was Mallory Knox who were performing on the main stage in the blistering heat of 2pm on a bank holiday weekend. Standing behind the first lot of gates was the perfect way to view the mainstage. Not only where you close enough to see the band themselves but also close enough to enjoy the crowd and the mosh pits from a safe enough distance as to not spill your £5 pint. They got the whole crowd involved and created such an electric scene with old and new fans alike jamming along. The constant heat, however, got the better of me and my friend and we had to find shade to finish watching the rest of the set. Water is a must during a hot summers day it turns out. You can’t just survive off of cider.
Following on from the rock of Mallory Knox was the highlight of my whole Reading experience, Rat Boy. Being at the top of my list to see live I feel I got an epic feel for what a closed in Rat Boy gig will be like. He sung everything from his brand-new material Laidback from his debut album Scum to classics that have got him to where he is today like Move. My favourite live song had to be Revolution. A whole bunch of young people in a field singing at the top of their lungs about this fucked up generation was insane. To be a part of that and feel special and wanted for a whole song was insane. Getting the whole crowd to get low was also insane. How some people where just stubborn and just stood up while the rest of just got low and jumped straight back up again into the mosh pit of our generation. The whole set had to be my highlight of Reading and has only made me want to go see him more.
Me and my best friend ended up going from the Main Stage back to the NME tent where we caught the end of Anne-Marie’s set. We caught all of the tracks she is best known for including Alarm and Rockabye. Being near the back and just catching the end of the whole set meant the whole set had a different vibe. It felt more together and sensible in a way which is not really what I came here for. The sensible and almost peaceful nature of Anne-Marie’s set came to an end and the people who were here for the grime and noise started shifting in. Lethal Bizzle’s set was the complete opposite to the peaceful vibe I had just witnessed. Being in the middle of a Lethal Bizzle gig when Stormzy came onto the stage was a sight I will always remember. The crowd lit up. The stage lit up. The two major artists also lit up. The whole crowd from all walks of life clubbed together in screaming, chanting and dancing the night away. Its something that will stick with me for a long time. Especially Lethal’s outfit, a bright yellow judo kit with the words ‘Blackie Chan’ on the back of it. IT was nothing short of legendary.
Following on from the insanity was Two Door Cinema Club on the main stage. We managed to get close only to be disappointed by the lack of classic tracks that where played. Many die hard TDCC fans where singing along and loving every moment but for many the lack of old classic tracks was kind of sad. The idea of singing along to This Is The Life with a whole bunch of people in a field appealed to me but never happened. Other than that, the rest of the set was insane. They were all over the stage walking from one end to the next with increasing less clothes on; which seemed to be the theme for the hot summers day. Nether the less it was a perfect mix of people to be with which made the set that little bit more special.
As the whole event turned into a night time spectacular Bastille came on stage which I wasn’t all that fussed about seeing. However, from what I did here there were more new tracks than classic well-known tracks. It’s as if some of these bands where just playing a tour set of a new album rather than to a festival of people who want some classic Bastille songs on a Friday night. I never listened to the whole set but I would have hoped they played something that everyone knew towards the end.
Me and my best friend ended up in the Radio 1 Dance tent for the rest of the night. Listening to Dylan Francis and Fat Boy Slim from 8 till closing was insane. Constant drum and bass being surrounded by a whole bunch of people. From those who were here for the music to those who were here for the pleather of drink and drugs on the table. You name them, they were there. It couldn’t have asked for a better ending to the night being so completely out of my comfort zone. It was insane!
All images taken by Charlie Hall on iPhone 6