great to be back on the farm again for Reading

Reading Festival 2021 Review

By Simon Adams | Published: Tue 7th Sep 2021

around the festival site

Friday 27th to Sunday 29th August 2021
Little Johns Farm, Richfield Avenue, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 8EQ, England MAP
3 days £232.20, days £81.50 incl fees - SOLD OUT
Daily capacity: 105,000
Last updated: Tue 17th Aug 2021

The drive to Reading Festival 2021 at Little Johns Farm on the Thursday morning was a breeze of a drive. There had been little to no traffic other than for the last half a mile which was fine as it added to the anticipation of the weekend to come as droves of revelers passed us on foot weighed down by a mountain of camping gear and piles of cheap cider bought from the local Tesco.

I arrived around midday Thursday and went straight to guest accreditation for my wristband of which was the most efficient and stream lined process I’ve seen. Taking no longer than three minutes after arriving I’d been given my staff covid screening wristband, my guest wristband, my press wristband and sent on my way.
Due to the risk of spreading the Corona Virus general ticket holders were also having to show proof of a negative lateral flow test before entrance of which added a little time to the cues. At its busiest point it would have taken just over an hour to clear the cue and fastest is ten minutes.

I luckily got my campervan into the staff camping area just behind white camp and once settled in we all took a wonder down to the main site. The campsites were made of droves of revelers mainly under the age of 25 sporting pop up tents, dome tents and cheap festival tents. After exploring the new site layout we soon headed back to camp and had soon gotten too much into the festival spirit with new and old friends.

Friday morning our camp had a communal breakfast of hotdog wraps before heading out for the day jumping from stage to stage trying to fit in as much of the acts as we could. We got the chance to squeeze in great acts such as Nothing But Thieves, Don Broco, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Aitch, Sam Fender, Catfish & The Bottlemen, AJ Tracey, and Stormzy.

Nothing But Thieves: Reading Festival 2021

Nothing But Thieves were the first act to perform on Main Stage West but at an insanely early time for an act with their following and experience, however what a great way to kick off the weekend and christen the new stage. The sun beamed down above the crowd as they soaked in what (for most) will be the first live band in since the dreaded lockdown.

Don Broco were one of the secret sets on The Lock Up stage and what an absolute belter of a show! Front man Rob Damiani run out on stage sporting a new much longer hair style almost resembling Michael from The Lost Boys. The atmosphere was electric with the crowd going wild and mosh pits building left, right and center. A friend Callum and I were deep within the middle of it all. You know… for the purposes of the review, right?

With no acts the group and I were overly keen to see and no recommendations being given, we had a nice easy Saturday morning. We all showered, cooked and simply relaxed around camp taking in the sites. Later in the day we got to see You Me At Six, Becky Hill, (who pulled a guy from the crowd onto stage to sign his chest), Hannah Wants, The Wombats, Two Door Cinema Club, Disclosure, and Post Malone before heading to the Guest Bar and then Silent Disco until the four or five Sunday morning.

Post Malone: Reading Festival 2021

Ending his show by smashing his guitar up onstage Post Malone is sure as hell living the rock star lifestyle. I’ve seen Posty a few times over the years and I’ll be honest, I’m not really into his music… However, with eighty odd thousand people in the crowd shouting his lyrics back to him word for word and his stage presence there’s no doubt he can put on a hell of a show.

Sunday was by far my favorite day of the festival in terms of music. We saw some great acts including Bad Boy Chiller Crew (a Bradford driller group recently climbing their way to fame), Jake Bugg (another surprise act), Blossoms, Yungblud, Gerry Cinnamon, Biffy Clyro, and Liam Gallagher.

Yungblud: Reading Festival 2021

I’d never really known much about Yungblud but boom! Walking over the hill towards Main Stage West a huge inflatable red punk rock duck dominated the stage spiking my interest in the act. As soon as front man Dominic Harrison run on stage he and the band had me pulled in with his huge personality, out of the box dress sense, insane amounts of energy and the incredible music he and the band were able to create. When introducing their new song Fleabag, Dom asks the crowd “Does anyone think I’m a c*nt? Followed by a cheering crowd. “Well you’re here now. You might had well enjoy it.” With a huge smile on his face. I loved that energy and humor!  Side note. I later met Yungblud’s Dominic and Photographer/Team Member Adam Woods (check out his amazing work on insta @admjwood) what an awesome crew of people.

“Gerry, Gerry, Gerry F*cking Cinnamon” chant sixty odd thousand revelers moments before the legend himself runs out on stage. What a simple yet a “Belter” of a show! I met Director of Festival Republic Melvin Benn at Latitude Festival, a few weeks back and asked him how this seemingly unknown Gerry guy could be so high on the lineup? As Melvin stated he is huge up north and due to the lineup now down south too. He’s honestly one of my favourite acts now and clearly is for so many other people too. Gerry would step back every now and then just taking in all the people singing his songs back to him. Greatly deserved slot.

Later that night we watched Liam Gallagher with some old friends before heading to the guest bar until the early hours of Monday morning. We then spent the rest of Monday chilling around the camp to avoid the rush getting out of the car park (and to ensure we’re sober enough to drive).

I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone, from eFestivals and Reading Festival/Festival Republic and to every single person that I’ve met or simply met up with over this incredible weekend. It was a great to be back on the farm again after what felt so long. 

review by: Simon Adams

photos by: Jamie Cooney

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