The definitive guide to Reading Festival 2017

Reading Festival Overview

Reading will be overrun with rock fans once again this August bank holiday, as the popular alternative festival sets up stage in the town. With its twin site in Leeds offering three days of indie, punk, major rock and dance, Reading Festival brings live music to over 90,000 fans across 6 stages.

Reading gives festival goers the chance to hear the hottest rock bands, alongside unsigned artists and guilty pleasures from way back all in one place. This year Kasabian and Muse bring some space rock to the main stage on Friday and Sunday nights, with the King of Hip-Hop Eminem taking to the stage on Saturday for the third time, so fans can lose themselves in all kinds of music. Hardcore fans of nu metal can see Korn perform on 26th August, alongside confirmed headliners Two Door Cinema Club, Bastille, Major Lazer and Liam Gallagher, offering all kinds of potential for great music and showmanship. Weekend camping tickets can be yours for £200, or head down for a day for £70. There are plenty of places to stay nearby, either in Reading itself, the classic festival campsite, or a spot of luxury camping for a real treat.

Megabus services run from the Bank Holiday hub of Silverstone direct to Reading, giving you a straightforward route to our Reading stop just 15 minutes from the festival gates. Shuttle buses can drop you to and from the town centre for those all-important trips to stock up on camping essentials.

History of Reading Festival

Always proud to offer fans an alternative experience, Reading Festival first toured around the South of England as a Jazz festival that embraced rock, blues and new wave acts in the 1950s and 60s, before settling in Reading in 1971. Guitar heroes AC/DC, Thin Lizzy and Status Quo helped rock and heavy metal genres take top billing at Reading, attracting fans from all over the world until 1983, when the festival site was abruptly closed. After a few years of more misses than hits, Reading took on its punk / indie identity in 1989 with New Order and Billy Bragg on a line-up which sold out completely, before Nirvana played to crowds in both 1991 and 1992.

Massive Britpop acts have featured more recently, with Oasis, Pulp, Stereophonics and Blur in high demand throughout the 90s and 00s. 1999 also saw the festival split into two locations, with a new site opened in Leeds where the same acts will play either the day before or the day after Reading. Reading Festival has also welcomed rap and hip-hop headliners including Cypress Hill, Ice Cube, Beastie Boys, Eminem, Xzibit, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Dizzee Riscal and The Streets, which has then seen a shift into dance and grime stages too, to cater to all festival goers. This year’s bill has even more to suit rap and dance fans, including Fatboy Slim, Major Lazer, Wiley and Lethal Bizzle.

The festival has been rocking for over 50 years, and this year it kicks off on Friday 25th August, with music taking place over Saturday and Sunday too.  With an early entry pass you can arrive and soak up the atmosphere as early as Wednesday.

Line-up highlights

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This year’s Reading Festival opens its arms to three fan favourites. Kasabian are back with a rumoured new album after a stunning performance in 2012. Devon’s finest, Muse, hit the main stage again after brilliant live appearances in 2006 and 2011, and Eminem also makes a third appearance to top his 2001 and 2013 gigs at Reading Festival. Supporting these Reading stalwarts are genre defining acts across punk, dance, metal and indie, including Bastille, Two Door Cinema Club, Major Lazer, Korn, Liam Gallagher and Blossoms.

If you’re looking for a throwback then Reading is the place, with Ash, Fatboy Slim, Jimmy Eat World and Billy Talent evoking memories of summers gone by. Reading is also fully embracing the most up to date artists, with the NME/Radio 1 Stage hosting HAIM, Halsey, X Ambassadors and Sundara Karma, who have all broken through in recent times. On the other stages you can catch a taste of dance artists fresh from a summer of residencies in Europe’s party resorts, including Jaguar Skills, Charli XCX and Andy C on the Radio 1 Dance Stage. For a more mellow scene try the Festival Republic stage, which hosts Bear’s Den, Phantogram, Grouplove and Will Joseph Cook.

With a couple of special guests yet to be announced and a reputation for surprise performers playing secret sets, there are plenty of treats in this year’s line up yet to be revealed.

Don’t miss…

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The Comedy Tent

Festivals are about more than just the music, and Reading is the perfect place for a few laughs along with your indie rock. Last year saw Bill Bailey, Russell Howard and Marcus Brigstocke take the stage, and Reading Festival is sure to offer an equally impressive comedy line-up this year.

The comedy tent is a great place to chill out with your mates or significant other for some time away from the madness of the mosh pit. Get closer to comedy talent than you can at any other arena or gig.

Festival Food

Reading Festival’s Richfield Avenue is close to the town centre so you’re not too far from an absolute feast. Head into town for a five star brunch at Cafe YOLK to recover from the night before, or grab some food-to-go from one of the town’s legendary independent pie shops, burrito stands, BBQ steakhouses, Italian delis, Ethiopian cafes and bakeries. If previous years are anything to go by, there will be plenty of choice at the festival itself, for when a classic festival burger, or a vegetarian and vegan line up as long as the main stage.

Unmissable music sets

Eminem is back for the third time for a very good reason. Widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time, mixing hip hop anthems with lyrics packed with wit and life lessons, there’s no forgetting iconic tracks such as ‘Lose Yourself’, ‘My Name Is’ and ‘The Real Slim Shady.’ After collaborations with titans such as 50 Cent, Akon, Dido, Hayley Williams, Rihanna and Xzibit, is it too much to expect a special guest appearance from one of his back catalogue heroes?

Rock and Roll fans are also hotly anticipating Liam Gallagher’s UK Festival exclusive solo appearance. He’ll be bringing Oasis classics and debut solo material with a classic Gallagher twist of attitude. With so many top acts across three days it’s going to be a very special weekend.

How to get to Reading Festival with Megabus

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Megabus make travelling to Reading Festival a breeze, so you can forget the car, ditch the parking queues, and relax on our comfortable coaches. Reading’s proximity to London means that you can hop aboard a coach to London Victoria from over 66 locations from Penzance to Perth and Cardiff to Carlisle, then jump on the next train to Reading which leave every 10 – 15 minutes from plenty of London terminals.

For an even more seamless experience, you can catch our Megabus at Silverstone for a direct journey to our Reading stop, just a 15-20 minute walk to the festival site. There are also shuttle buses from the town centre. If you’re camping on-site, we’ve got plenty of space for your tent and trusty wellies on board our coach. We allow up to 20kg of luggage in one large, two medium or three small bags to be stored in the hold, and you can take a small item of hand luggage with you too.

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