Reading Festival 2011

“I honestly think it’s the best festival in the world” Chris Wolstenholme from Muse on Reading and Leeds Festival

“My favourite festival’s Reading – it’s always an adventure and every year is different. You need a strong stomach though – one year I witnessed people urinating into guitars.” Rupert Grint.

“The crowds at quite a few festivals can be quite sedate, especially Glastonbury,” says Jamie. “But Reading and Leeds are mad. It’s our audience really, a lot of young people who want to go crazy.” Jamie MacCall, Bombay Bicycle Club

“It has a very special place in my heart.” Frank Turner

Another year, another amazing line-up.

Friday’s bill was a who’s who in ‘relevant rock’, many of the bands such as Bring Me The Horizon, Architects and Rise Against going on to greater status in years to come.

The festival programme was topped by My Chemical Romance, who had a very ‘special guest’ in Brian May from Queen and brought the show to a momentous end and one of the last performances in the UK of MCR, a fitting finale to the first day from a band who would only play the Leeds festival and then return sadly no more.

The rest of the line-up included amazing sets by Deftones and The Offspring, both Reading stalwarts and bands who could always be depended on to deliver the goods.

Elsewhere Liam Gallagher’s Beady Eye headlined the NME Radio 1 stage and the Horrors, straight off the back of their successful and critically acclaimed album ‘Skying’.

Saturday’s line-up featured a co-headline set from The Strokes & Pulp – a double whammy of indie goodness to end the festival, with an amazing underscore including the return of Seasick Steve and mainstage debuts from Madness and a fantastic set from everyones favourite underground indie legends in the making, The National.

Jane’s Addiction pulled out of their headline set on the NME Radio 1 stage at the last minute due to Perry Farrell falling ill, but the stage had already had strong performances from Bombay Bicycle Club, Glassjaw and Crystal Castles which more than made up for the loss of a headliner.

On other stages Letlive proved their worth on the Lock Up and Comeback Kid gave them a run for their money.

Sunday’s attractions were topped on the mainstage by Devon’s finest, Muse, who topped the bill for the second time and probably not the last. Elbow were elevated to the second spot after successfully hitting the #2 spot on the album chart 5 months before with their album ‘Build A Rocket Boys’, they were now festival headlining contenders.

Other artists on the mainstage included everyones festival addict Frank Turner, Enter Shikari and a rare appearance of Interpol, having not played at the festival for four years.

A little known Ed Sheeran played the 3rd spot on the Festival Republic stage and elsewhere on the BBC introducing stage we got to know Rizzle Kicks, Don Brocco and Spector, all who would be known a lot more within a few years.

So another amazing weekend ended with speculation about the next year’s line-up and anticipation of the first festival announcements for 2012 already on everyones lips.

Ian Carroll -Author of ‘The Reading Festival Music, Mud And Mayhem: The Official History (available on Amazon.co.uk)