Music: Reading Festival 2011 – 10 Things You Should Have Seen

With weather reports dominating the festival coverage this week, it’s easy to think it’s always the same old story. This Is Entertainment will be bringing you a proper breakdown of the weekend in the next few days (hopefully) but in the meantime for those of you who were there, and are now nursing hangovers or on your third shower of the day, see if you spotted these Top Ten “Did you see…?” Moments:

1) Back in time

Guest appearances at festivals might not be the oldest trick in the book but they are sure to get people talking. This year saw both Queen’s Brian May and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones take to the main stage with My Chemical Romance and Seasick Steve respectively.

2) Exit to the city

Upon leaving the arena this year you may have noticed it had a more ‘people traffic’ vibe than usual, that’s thanks to some fancy LED screens which show which side of the entrance/exit is the side to head for. It meant the general crowd-crush factor was reduced this year.

3) I predict a riot

When something as significant as the riots happens, everyone is talking about it, and the rock ‘n’ roll kings of the age were keen to have their say too. Preachy speeches were rife all weekend, but Rise Against win the prize for tying it in best, following their talk with a cover of ‘White Riot’ by original punk-rockers The Clash.

4) Keep it like a secret

Speaking of Rise Against, the hardcore rock group sneaked onto the BBC introducing stage on Friday to spring a surprise set on the crowd. The weekend’s usual double play went to Frank Turner, who played the Main and Lock Up Stages on Sunday.

5) Speed of sound

With the weather working against vocal harmony all weekend, it’s no surprise the Main Stage suffered. Friday was worst affected, with vocals severely lacking for several bands throughout the say, and often guitars being somewhat muted as well, even when close to the front. Luckily, things were sorted out by the following day.

6) Animals

The sights and sounds of Reading Festival, the campsite in particular, are always a strange thing to behold, but this year there was an epidemic…of tigers. Wherever you looked there was people dressed up in all-in-one suits of various animals, but tigers proved the most popular. Unfortunately they weren’t as much fun as a group dressed as The Smurfs who started a technicolour Fight Club on Saturday night while waiting for Jarvis Cocker and co to take to the stage.

7) Caught in the mosh

The ‘celebrity’ sightings weren’t confined to the crowds though, at one point one individual dressed as Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear, could be seen thrashing around in the mosh pit. Not content with wearing a Buzz Lightyear costume, he also had multicoloured long platted hair – talk about attention seeking! The crowd went wild though, leading to chants of “Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!” by the end of the set.

8 ) Devil on my shoulder

Crowd participation isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but many bands this year didn’t give onlookers much choice. Aside from Jared Lehto (of 30 Seconds to Mars) insisting people jump (JUMP!) every other song, there were calls by at least four bands – probably more – to see as many people on other people’s shoulders as possible. Perhaps rock-stardom gives you selective vision so you can’t pick out anyone from the masses unless they are slightly elevated to the height you are on stage…

9) Out of space

Visitors to the Radio 1 Stage this year were in for a surprise, not only has it gained an extra screen, bringing it up to the Main Stage’s total of three , but also almost doubled in size. In a move designed to baffle serial Reading-goers (or those out of it on various substances), the tent has had an extra portion sewn through the middle of it, opening out the rectangular structure of old into a fan shape.

10) Operation Ground pound

BBC Three visited the festival this year, and spent some time with Huw Stevens on the Main Stage. Though seemingly completely random, there was some a scientific basis for their visit. Apparently someone decided Reading Festival was significant enough to be classified on the earthquake Richter Scale. In order to complete the mission, the audience had to all jump simultaneously, and then boffins across the river a short distance away would read the earthquake produced. Despite everyone jumping, Reading Festival only measures 0.7 on the Richter Scale, hardly earth-shattering…but nonetheless you have to condone scientific use of rock and roll.


So there you have it, a full and in-depth review of everything about Reading Festival will be coming to This Is Entertainment in the next few days. For now have fun working out the bands behind all the song references used as titles in this article, each point from 1 to 10 has been released as a song name…enjoy


James Michael Parry

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