Music, Mud & Madness!

Reading Festival 2011 was one of the most amazing and famous events in the UK this year catering to students from all around the world who share the love of music.

The music performances featured artists including My Chemical Romance, Thirty Seconds To Mars, The Strokes, The Pulp, Elbow and Muse as headliners over a three day span from 25 to 28 August.

Festival goer, Faye Carpenter, 21, insurance advisor said, “Reading festival has become a bit of a tradition since me and my friends first went to see radiohead in 2009. This time, we saw The Strokes, Two Door Cinema Club, Nero, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Offspring. Also probably some other people but I was too drunk to remember. By far though, Jimmy Eat World and Madness were the highlights for me and I would definitely go again.

The festival is an opportunity for young people to gather together and establish a sense of community. Youth from all of over England and international music lovers come together by sleeping in tents, sitting in chairs, playing in the mud and voicing their crazy banter. For some this is also the first time experience of freedom to do whatever you want or feel and no one judges you.  It’s a wonderful time of appreciating the greatest art form created, music.

Located on Richfield Avenue in Reading, performances were held on various stages as well as other small marquees. Kicking off the weekend, The Architects took the stage followed by Bring Me The Horizon, Rise Against, The Offspring and Thirty Seconds To Mars on the main stage. Then Miles Kane, The Naked And Famous and Noah And The Whale blew away the crowd in the NME/1st stage tent.

For the second day, The Joy Formidable woke up the arena with festive tunes. Meanwhile in the NME/1st stage, Crystal Castles, Glassjaw and The Kills got the crowd hype as loads of energy flowed inside the tent. Surprising enough, Street Dogs were very intense by getting boys into mosh pits, circle pits, walls of death. The night concluded with The Pulp and The Strokes rocking away on the main stage.

The last day Taking Back Sunday, Frank Turner, Cage The Elephant, Panic! At The Disco, Interpol were  epic throughout the last hours of the festival. There was even a session for Nirvana playing live in 1992. From the lock up stage, Flogging Molly and the Descendents played festive songs getting the audience to dance crazy happy. Lastly, Muse gave a spectacular performance to end the festival.


Festival goer, William Holmes, 19, currently a student at Plymouth University said, “Muse was probably the best band of the festival in terms of live performance, however my highlight was My Chemical Romance (MCR), this was because I knew Muse would be amazing but was uncertain if MCR would pull it off, combined with the fact that a lot of the people at the festival and in the crowd did not even like them made it a much more exciting show. I’ve tried to go to Reading every year however this is only my third time, so yes I love it and would go again. Reading is different to most other festivals because most of the audience is between 16-22 which is nice as most people are the same age as you, it is also because of this age group that the festival seems ‘more hardcore’, as oppose to say Glastonbury, where the age range is huge. If I compare Reading and Glastonbury, Reading is more hardcore, more people jump around- go into pits etc, people piss in the crowd, beer is chucked at people etc etc, were as Glastonbury is a lot more relaxed. There is more ‘banter’ at Reading- i.e Alan & Steve or The Big Roar which echoes around the camp sites. I chose reading because of this but also the line up. The final point I’d like to make around reading is it kind of has certian ‘epicness’ in its heritage that makes it a little special, for example the alternative tent showing Nirvana live in 1992.”

Reading festival has a lasting presence on students after all the mud. The effects of the festival stay with you for some time. It’s not like Download for rockers, Sonisphere for metal heads, Bestival for families or Glastonbury, a mix of everyone. Reading portrays music over cleanliness, however, eventually there comes a time when clean clothes, warm showers and beds are missed. After all, the cultural event brings all kinds together but soon enough it’s time to join the real world again.

All photos taken by Niya Sinckler.

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