Reading, Reading, Reading – you will always hold a special place in my heart as you were my first. Twice. My first festival experience as a wide eyed 17 year old and then 20 years later you were my first festival experience as, well, a wiser but ultimately still 17 year old in a 37 year old body.
My girls spent the week with my Mum & Dad so off we went on Friday morning – I missed not going down on the thursday but that extra full night of sleep was appreciated! As last year we booked a tent that was already up and ready for us. What I didn’t know was that my husband had booked us a slightly different one this year, not for us the 2 man tent, no, no, no – we had this little beauty from podpads.
There was room to stash our stuff under our little camp bed and (joy of joys) I could stand up to get dressed! Free tea, coffee and biscuits and there was somewhere to charge your phone too – handy, as mine ran out of battery on fri night! Super friendly and helpful guys and gals running it all too. We had this rather pretty looking van selling breakfast too – the best egg & bacon roll I’ve had in a long time!
My favourite thing about a festival, or indeed gig for that matter, is that all the baggage, bulls**t and ego get left at the front gate, everyone is there on equal terms for the same reason. You can forget about responsibilities of the outside world and just be… That, and it’s the only time bar stag & hen do’s that it’s acceptable to have alcohol for breakfast!
This is not going to be a blow by blow review of every act we saw but just an outline with highlights and surprises…
Friday – Bastille on the BBCR1 Introducing stage doing a 3 song “secret” set *winks and taps nose*, Night Engine, Kodaline, Parquet Courts, Shappi Khorsandi, Peace, Frank Turner, couldn’t get into Bastille, The Strypes, what appeared to be a twerking contest, Fenech-Soler, Chvrches, a bit of Green day then off to our tent – managed to miss Skrillex *sad face* – highlights for me were Fenech-Soler, Peace & Frank Turner.
Saturday – “Secret” set from The 1975, Willy Moon, Jagwa Ma, Johnny Marr, Foals, Chase & Status, Tim Burgess, Lucy Rose, Jake Bugg, 1 or 2 from Eminem, Alt-J. Lots of running from stage to stage and still managed to miss out on Palma Violets, Imagine Dragons and British Sea Power – highlights were Jagwa Ma, Tim Burgess doing the most beautiful stripped down version of The Only One I Know, the size of the crowd for Eminem and getting kudos from some young dude for our proximity to the front! Lucy Rose was magical but top prize goes to Alt-J.
Sunday – Wretch 32 on the “secret” stage, Alunageorge, Stephen K Amos, Editors, Haim, a film of Nirvana live at the Paramount, Nine Inch Nails, Biffy Clyro, Phoenix and then back to Biffy Clyro. I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t really too familiar with NiN but the tracks he did at the beginning really appealed to me, quite trance-y and not at all what I was expecting. Haim were better than their records which I love, Phoenix impressed and Biffy Clyro were as expected and a great end to another great weekend.