As ever, Reading and Leeds Festival(s) fall over the last bank holiday weekend of the year, and though fairly late in the festival calendar, both sites provide punters with one last weekend of hedonistic debauchery before the darker months and cold weather begins to take hold. Traditionally offering attendees a mixture of both nostalgia and the cutting edge, recent years have seen the festival's line-up diversify even further, bringing in top names from grime, electronica and hip-hop to share stages with the usual fare of punk, rock and indie. Such changes haven't been without their share of criticisms, with naysayers claiming that it waters down the alternative nature of the festival, but for those who like to taste a bit of everything, but would rather not sully themselves with the hyper-corporate V Festival the weekend before, Reading and Leeds tick all the boxes.
This year's line-up unsurprisingly boasts a host of bands and artists that you grew up listening to, whilst providing a platform for those on the up. Where else could you see Limp Bizkit on the same line up as folk troubadours Bear's Den? Or see Frank Turner headline what's arguably the smallest stage on site? The answer to that is, probably nowhere.
Headlining this year are the recently reformed Libertines,who last graced the stages of Reading & Leeds back in 2010, making for one of my most memorable live music experiences ever. Joining them will be Mumford & Sons and Metallica, who, after their headline slot at last year's Glastonbury, are bound to pull out the stops for their appearance across both sites. Elsewhere over the course of the weekend, revellers can expect to see the likes of Deadmau5 rubbing shoulders with American Football, and the Boy Better Know crew bringing their uncompromising grime to the Radio 1extra tent at the same time as post-hardcore legends Refused tear the Lock Up Stage a new one.
It's eclectic, nostalgic, and, regardless of your opinion on the line-ups diversification, it's one of the most talked about festivals of the year. What it's critics fail to realise, is that though not every act on the bill will be to your own tastes, you don't have to watch those acts you don't like. Unless of course you're the sort of person who takes pleasure in trying to heckle a stage that's half a kilometre away, then there's certainly going to be one band or artist you want to see, when everyone else wants to go and watch Bastille. And even on the off-chance that there isn't, the festival offers a wealth of non-musical (and sometimes non-alcoholic) entertainment across the weekend.
Grab your wellies, quit your bitchin' and try to conceal the smug fact that you always knew learning all the words to Limp Bizkit's 'Rollin'' would come in handy some day!
In the words of Fred Durst himself: “Are You Ready?”
Reading and Leeds takes place across the last weekend in August, and tickets and more information can be found at the official website here.