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2021 Lineup


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8 hours ago, gfa said:

Pretty sure Disclosure play proper sets, don't think you gave them enough of a chance down at Reading they were my set of the weekend.

I don’t doubt that a lot more goes into it than meets the eye, it just didn’t have that ‘live music’ headliner feel to it for me. I was very much in the minority though, the crowd was bouncing 

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15 hours ago, thewayiam said:

Ah not a good experience? It all seems so far away from anywhere I would want to be now.

Wasn't awful experience, myself and the daughter wasn't feeling it and used to a different type of festival.

I actually found the campsite alright, was in green and everyone very respectful to get honest. The toilets were perhaps the worst in the campsite since Glastonbury in the late 90s. 

We didn't feel it was a festival vibe at all, but not much trouble. 

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11 hours ago, R Shah said:

Met the big man Melvin briefly

He was at introducing and Pit on Sunday. Took me ages to realise who the familiar face was 😂

18 hours ago, theesundayroast said:

I was only at Leeds for the Friday this year and despite feeling similarly old, I found the bar situation to be very different there that day! Queues we're apparently 45 minutes long or so (from asking people who had just come out with their drinks) which would result in me missing two or three acts. Saved me a nice bit of money at least!

I found that walking to the next bar was way quicker than queuing. Bar 3 and 4 were pretty close together yet one could be rammed and the other empty. No use telling you that now though 😂

14 hours ago, she bangs the drums said:

 

I remember that walk back in 2019 and as a 45 year old at that time, I said to myself I would only be back for Rage or a more rock / metal line up. I would even settle for Rage one night, the current pop / grime stuff with a strong Pit / Lock up on those days.

 

The walk isn't really a negative for me. I'm fit, I do endurance events so the distance is not an issue but sometimes realising you have 10 minutes to see an act and it'll take you 40 mins to get to main is a pain. All part of the festival experience though, overdoing the campsite beers and missing half an act. The distance keeps all teh scratters away. The field has been as close as green in emptier years but this year it was as far as it could possibly be. Place was rammed. I can't see Rage playing despite the cancellation thing, surely FR will let Download have them. They'd sell more tickets there. The mandy crowd who think they are goths will still go to the festival but watch something else. Rage fans won't go because of teh mandy crowd. 

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40 minutes ago, devilman said:

He was at introducing and Pit on Sunday. Took me ages to realise who the familiar face was 😂

I think this confirms that I saw him at Dinosaur Pile-Up on Saturday night then, sent about half the set wondering if it was him or not and not actually watching the band 😂

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God, it was great to be back at a festival wasn't it? Some organisational issues threatened to put a downer on things but so many of the acts were great.

Friday

Stormzy - Brilliant. Crazy to think that's the first show he's played in 18 months. The reaction when Dave came out, has to be a headliner next year.

Catfish - What *is* going on with them? Definitely felt like the rumours were true, completely uninterested throughout.

Ghetts - Played an incredible set to an embarrassingly small crowd due to the AJ Tracey clash.

Sam Fender - One of the biggest MSW crowds, good atmosphere, great tunes, a Friday highlight.

Mabel - Loved it. Have seen her twice before and was dodgy both times. Much better with a full band now & far more confident than before. 

Aitch - Surprisingly brilliant. Massive crowd and delivered a proper arena show.

Wargasm - Dodgy sound again, drums very loud and everything else too quiet, but still a good show and an improvement on Download Pilot.

Shaybo - Clashing with Mostack on MSE meant she had to perform to a smaller crowd than expected. They kept delaying her arrival presumably for that reason.

Sports Team - absolutely smashed it, a perfect festival set. Had that been in the R1/NME Tent, it would have been a proper moment.

Tia Carys - This was incredibly awkward. Crowd turned on her when she made some antivax comments and the entire tent were chanting "WHO ARE YA?" for the rest of the show. She's clearly very talented but this was not a good moment for her.

The Snuts - Bang average indie band but enjoyable enough at that time of the day.

Maisie Peters - Secret set on BBC Introducing. Dodgy sound competing with soundbleed from everywhere else but good atmosphere.

Nothing But Thieves - The sound issues! MSW was far too quiet for most of the weekend but it absolutely killed any sense of occasion from this set. Chants of "TURN IT UP!" were taken by the band to just be some sort of "kid lingo".

Saturday

Post Malone - Biggest crowd of the weekend but really not good. Just a nice enough bloke singing over a backing track to generic pop music. Just seems so lazy as a headline performance to me.

Disclosure - No idea how much they were actually doing live but had a brilliant time. Clearly influenced by Chemical Brothers' festival shows, this was a great party vibe.

Two Door Cinema Club - Enormous crowd and difficult to get a decent spot after rushing over from The Wombats who overran. Seemed decent enough and the crowd around us were into it.

The Wombats - Standard Wombats performance really just with some difficulties caused by MSW sound issues and people piling out 20 mins before the end to get to TDCC. Good fun.

Slowthai - Loved it. His live shows are hit and miss but he was on good form aside from a handful of slightly inappropriate comments. Very Tyron-heavy, great energy especially for the Mura Masa/Gorillaz collabs.

Sigrid - This was excellent. Really making her pitch as an arena artist. Such a shame she suffered from a small crowd due to Becky Hill's enormous crowd at the other end of the site. Such an enjoyable artist to watch. Brave to do anything slow or piano based at Reading but she pulled it off.

Becky Hill - One of the moments of the weekend, for sure. Huge crowd, felt a bit like watching a massive pop star on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. Could not fault this.

Jazmin Bean - Small crowd and some sound issues. Less theatrical than I'd hoped but a promising set.

Alfie Templeman - Generic indie with an awkward Smells Like Teen Spirit cover (that caused hundreds of kids to run into the tent and go nuts as if Nirvana had turned up?)

Kennyhoopla - A terrific set from a future superstar. 

The Academic - Worst vocal performance of the weekend? Voice gave in after about 3 songs and never recoered.

Noisy - More sound problems in the Dance Tent. If you're not in the centre, it was really naff sounding. They were great though.

 

Sunday

Liam Gallagher - Loved it, classic festival set. Odd solo choices - would have switched Halo for Now That I've Found You and Paper Crown for For What It's Worth - but cannot complain about all the Oasis offerings.

Biffy Clyro - Incredible. Sound, production, setlist, performance. I've seen all 3 of their Reading headline sets and they absolutely smash it every time. Just feel bad for them with the tiny crowd caused by the 2 stage set up. Also had to duck out 2 songs early to make it over to LG via the bar and felt like most people did the same.

Gerry Cinnamon - He absolutely smashed this and put an end to any doubts about whether or not his slot was justified. Absolutely brilliant.

Yungblud - Crowd much smaller than I'd expected. Felt a bit like watching Busted or McFly for this generation but decent enough pop star and we had fun.

Wolf Alice - Set of the weekend for me. A shame they couldn't play for longer but what they did do was perfect.

Blossoms - The best I've seen them, definitely stepped up in terms of production and performance. Nice nod to Charlie Watts which seemed to go over most heads.

Baby Queen - Cannot believe that was only her 2nd gig. So tight and well-rehearsed, main stage ready. Had to deal with a lot of bucket hats pouring in for the Jake Bugg secret set but suspect she managed to convert many of them into fans.

L Devine - Had the misfortune of playing while KSI was on so an empty dance tent. Still turned in a great performance & much better than what was going on at the other end of the site I'm sure.

Bad Boy Chiller Crew - A shame they focused more on newer material but great vibes in a packed tent.

Niko B - Objectively terrible but enormous crowd and good to see people having such a great time.

Kam-Bu - Unfamiliar with him before the festival but definitely one to watch. Clashed with Russ Millions so a very small crowd in 1Xtra but that meant no "whomph! there is it" chanting and we got to see what he could do. Very good.

Hot Milk - Both really need some vocal training before they do more of these bigger stages. Frontwoman gave it everything performance wise but their vocal issues really show up on big stages. Decent enough pop punk but needs work.

 

 

 

 

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Some general thoughts on the weekend:

* Really miss the R1/NME Tent. We got lucky with the weather at least as this set up would be a disaster in rainy conditions.

* 2 Stage set up would work better with longer between sets e.g. 15 mins. 5 mins is just about enough time to get from one side to another if you don't need the toilet or bar and one stage does not over-run. So many bands lose any sense of occasion as they play to a half empty field for 2-3 songs and then everyone is checking their watch to see when they need to clear out to get over to the other stage.

* Bar queues were horrendous on Friday. Improved over the weekend but if we've only got 5 mins between acts, queues need to be smaller.

* My 9th Reading and I've never seen it so filthy. Toilets in the arena were horrendous, hardly cleaned all weekend, hand sanitiser and soap not topped up, no litter pickers wandering around, they didn't even manage to clear up Saturday's rubbish before letting us in on Sunday.

* Too many pointless crowd control tactics e.g. stopping people entering the front pits despite being half empty, moving you from one cattle grid to another when opening up in the morning despite being 45 mins late.

*SOUND! MSW in particular was horrendous for almost everything, what the hell was going on there? 

* Didn't really notice the unpleasant behaviour that has been mentioned elsewhere in the thread. Most people seemed alright to me and if anything quite tame in comparison to other years. We did hang back a lot more though in an attempt to avoid minimise Covid risk.

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Before I rant, I would like to say that I had an amazing time at Reading and saw so many great acts over the weekend and I have already bought my ticket for next year. However, I have some complaints…

CAMPING – we camped in yellow A right near the arena entrance. It’s a good location, next to arena, bogs, co-op, etc. we camped there in 2019 and it was great, and our neighbours were fine. But this year it seemed the whole camp was just full of nob heads. Throwing cans of beer, apples and all sorts around. My tent was covered in beer, and it was trampled on a few times. On the Thursday some people camped behind my tent set up a small flimsy fire beacon and placed it right next to my tent. It would inevitably fall over at some point and set my tent alight, so I had no option but to move my tent. As soon as I started moving my tent, this group moved their tents into the unoccupied spot to expand their camp and then moved the fire stick away. CU**S. Walking around other camps like orange, green and purple, it seemed the same everywhere. People chanting offensive stuff, everyone throwing things that could hurt people, teenagers off their tits being dickheads. It just seemed like a really hostile environment everywhere. People say that R/L is one of the best festivals because of the people and the atmosphere, but this has changed dramatically even since 2019.

CROWDS – a lot of sets by rock/indie bands were ruined by nob heads who were just there to start mosh pits and didn’t know or care about the band playing. Some examples were NBT and wombats. Also, many newbies think mosh pits should be aggressive. I was in the front portion for the Hunna and as soon as they finished, the security let in all the ksi fans and I thought I was going to be crushed. It was crazy. I think in general rap crowds are more hostile than metal crowds.

STALLS – the quality and price of the food doesn’t bother me. You’re not at a festival to eat nice food. But the queues in the evenings for places like mac and cheese burger were ridiculous. I waited 45 minutes to be told that there was no mac and cheese left. They need more food stalls in the arena.

2 MAIN STAGES – I liked it as a one off because it allowed me to see over 30 acts, but I don’t think this should be a permanent thing. You would have to miss a few songs of each set to catch the next band and the chaos of thousands of people storming across the arena doesn’t bode well. The radio 1 tent offered a good alternative to the main stage and it has a better atmosphere for smaller bands that can’t pull a large crowd to a main stage. I also didn’t like how sets were shorter to fit more bands in. Also, the sound was too quiet on MSW for most acts.

ENTRY – white car park entrance on Wednesday was anarchy. When the gates opened at 2pm everyone stood up and charged to the gate. There was just a huge clump of people that I was stuck in for 2 hours. After arriving at 10:30, I didn’t expect to be reaching camp at 16:30.

 

It seems like the demographic of this festival has changed dramatically in just the last few years and it has become a rite of passage for 16–18-year-olds to survive the weekend while taking as many drugs as possible. I will be going next year, but at just 21, I already feel too old for this festival and will be looking at ‘older’ festivals next year. Biffy Clyro, a huge rock band headlining a major festival, the crowd was tiny. The festival is getting a less rocky crowd every year.

On a positive note, I thought the security and safety procedures were as good as they could be this year. Security managing crowds and helping crowd surfers were generally good. The app gave plenty of warnings about alcohol and drugs. Most staff were very friendly and happy to help. Most artists were happy to be there and engage with the crowd. The majority of people were lovely, you just notice the dickheads more. The positives largely outweigh the negatives for me, and I had a great time with my group, but I thought I would share my thoughts on what could be improved. Sorry for the essay. Thought I would put it all in one.

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6 hours ago, thetime said:

Wasn't awful experience, myself and the daughter wasn't feeling it and used to a different type of festival.

I actually found the campsite alright, was in green and everyone very respectful to get honest. The toilets were perhaps the worst in the campsite since Glastonbury in the late 90s. 

We didn't feel it was a festival vibe at all, but not much trouble. 

I get that.

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1 hour ago, Darberry said:

Also, these 2 ket heads came up to the front of the comedy stage during Milton Jones and heckled him. Milton absolutely destroyed them, and it was hilarious but the ket heads walked off proud of themselves even though everyone was booing them. Bizarre behaviour

They got removed by a staff member in the end. Milton had a great crowd. Not sure how busy the alt stage usually gets but it was packed for him.

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19 hours ago, R Shah said:

Got to spend this festival in the press tent, absolutely surreal to interview bands like NBT and still get to go to lots of sets. 

Met the big man Melvin briefly, he just laughed it off when I asked who's headlining in 2022. Sam Fender was also just hanging about too which left me very starstruck haha.

Biffy for me were set of the weekend, with Slowthai, Holly Humberstone, Sam Fender and Posty (who really surprised me given 2018 and 2019) not far off.

However, the crowd for Biffy at the start was SHOCKING - front area barely half full. A combination of how late they were booked, their relevance to the 16-18 year old crowd and also the fact Gerry Cinnamon - and the whole of Scotland - was on at the same time.

I think rockier acts, unless they're stadium level (e.g. foos, muse, rhcp etc) will now always take the smaller MSW slot while the more mainstream ones take the later MSE headliner. Can see Royal Blood, Foals, Sam Fender, QOTSA etc all suiting that perfectly.

Sam is absolutely a future headliner, he is massive, would not be surprised at all if he's booked as early as 2022. He's only 1 album in and he's already surpassed Wombats, TDCC and probably even Catfish now.

I thought Catfish were actually quite tight at Leeds but watching back their Reading performance I can see what some of yous mean.

Acts were alternating though so Biffy and Gerry were on at separate times?

10 hours ago, thetime said:

1 small bar in the reading campsite, never seen the likes of it before. 🤨 It was quite a feeble effort.

 

20210826_134144.jpg

It's a shame. Last time I camped at Leeds I was in white and there was a decent bar just outside of it. It was just plain laughs at fun back then. Had a lot of great times back in the day at Leeds. People say it's always been liked this sometimes but back when I was 18 and started going, I wouldn't have continued for 7 years if I got to the point where it felt uncomfortable. But when you have a banging headache and some girl of her tits on whatever comes through, starts opening tents and trying to pull you out of them you know it's attracting the wrong crowd. Happened to 3 tents just round our camp and white was meant to be a quiet one.

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7 minutes ago, TheWaters said:

Negative so far, got a bad cough but that’s just your typical festival flu i reckon. Hoping to stay negative, got slowthai tomorrow, idles on friday and potentially love saves the day fest at the weekend

I’m exactly the same, hoping it’s just standard festival flu. I will be devastated if I test positive and miss slam dunk on Sunday. 

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2 minutes ago, jonnyisRFC said:

I’m exactly the same, hoping it’s just standard festival flu. I will be devastated if I test positive and miss slam dunk on Sunday. 

aye same, i’m coughing my lungs up but that’s my only symptom. there’s a whole host of weird and wonderful viruses you can get from reading, covid’s only one of them ahaha

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6 minutes ago, jonnyisRFC said:

I’m exactly the same, hoping it’s just standard festival flu. I will be devastated if I test positive and miss slam dunk on Sunday. 

Likewise for me. I’ve got a stinkin’ cold and have got a proper phlegmy chest but I’m putting that down to the close to 100 cigarettes I smoked over the weekend and sitting round a fire every night. 
 

I’ve done a LFT every day since Monday and they’re all negative. 

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Nobody has got it from our group (most double vaxxed/had it last month or so from other events), lots of us have bad bugs though. Pretty much in the clear now I think but people who are ill keep doing LFTs and PCRs.

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In regards to the negative camping experiences you lot had this year where abouts where you camped? I camped in Blue and spoke more to both my neighbours this year than I have in the previous 5 combined. Lovely set of people and I didn't see any trouble apart from the obvious fire in the distance. 

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1 minute ago, Buko said:

In regards to the negative camping experiences you lot had this year where abouts where you camped? I camped in Blue and spoke more to both my neighbours this year than I have in the previous 5 combined. Lovely set of people and I didn't see any trouble apart from the obvious fire in the distance. 

Purple at Reading was awful. When I went from 07-14 I never saw any trouble but this year was a terrible experience. People saying they’d burn our tent down, throwing full bottles at tents, people burning plastic/chairs & jumping on our tent on the Sunday which meant it was broken and we had to leave it. 

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1 hour ago, foolee said:

Purple at Reading was awful. When I went from 07-14 I never saw any trouble but this year was a terrible experience. People saying they’d burn our tent down, throwing full bottles at tents, people burning plastic/chairs & jumping on our tent on the Sunday which meant it was broken and we had to leave it. 

Maybe people have forgotten how to be nice to each other during lockdown.

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