What do AC-DC, Metallica, Radiohead, and Nirvana all have in common? They have all melted the faces off people at the Reading Festival.
See the ‘event extras‘ for all the cool trip info
Where did the late haggard-looking Kurt Cobain pull his infamous stunt of rolling out on stage in a wheelchair and hospital gown, collapsing, and proceeding to amaze and rock the heck out of thousands of raving fans? You guessed it. . . At Reading Festival.
Not only is Reading Music Festival the oldest (still rocking) on the planet, but it is one of the wildest, kookiest, punkiest festivals you’ll ever attend.
By Nicholas Puglisi
While the Reading Festival is known for it’s punk, metal, and rock shows, it also features artists of indie, rap, and alternative. . . Everything from Ice Cube swank n’ swagger to ABBA sparkle n’ glam.
During the sweet, summer weekend of August 22th – 25th, 2019, Reading Festival will take place in the center of a hospitable city called (you guessed it again). . . Reading.
Due to its swelling popularity and ability to inevitably draw in massive crowds of ecstatic rockers, it has been expanded into a twin-site festival.
The 2019 Reading Music Festival includes some top names as you can see below:
The Twin Music Festival
So now, during the same weekend, Leeds Festival (taking place in Leeds, 200 miles North of London) rocks the North of England with an identical line up. The lineup for both will soon be announced and will be sure to cause a passionate up-roar in fans across the globe.
Are you interested in going down in iconic festival history amid losing yourself in the dizzying ecstacy of rock-induced hypnosis? Want to be a part of the next world-famous shenanigans? Well, strap on your party pants, throw up your rock fist, and get ready to make history at Reading Festival, 2018.
Do you love staying clean? If so, we apologize, but sustaining cleanliness could be your biggest downfall at Reading. However, it is possible.
There are showers dotted around the yellow, white, guest, and disabled areas. As the queues are generally longer than the average person has the patience for, it is recommended to pack loads of baby wipes and opt-in for Ye Ol’ Wipe-Down Shower.
#2 Pack Your Rain Gear
As many people are aware, the weather in England is — at all times — completely unpredictable. The end of August is no exception; and, generally, when it rains, it pours.
For this, it is highly advised to bring your hardiest, mud-fighting wellies and rain gear, just to be safe. As well, since it is the end of summer, the nights are known to be frigid; it is advised to pack snuggly for this, as well.
#3 No Glass Bottles Allowed
As alcohol prices are sky-high (as they are at most festivals), we advise a bit of pre-gaming — outside of the arena, of course.
If you are bringing in alcohol from the outside world, however, be sure to change out any glass bottling for plastic. Glass bottles are not allowed in the festival grounds, and for a good reason (see “bottling” in the history section below).
What To Do?
Fans of Historical Monuments?
Reading is a charming town filled with British medieval and colonial monuments, such as the ruins of Reading Abbey (built almost 1000 years ago),
and Greyfriars Church (the oldest active Franciscan church in the UK). Other historical monuments you might want to check out include the historical market place, Abbey Gateway, the Maiwand Lion, and the River Thames.
If you’ve had your fill of history and are craving some serenity, you can head over to the River Kennet and Avon Canal for a hike around the waterways of the countryside. While there, you can stop into one of the few pubs for a relaxing refreshment.
If you’re feeling lucky, Reading is also supplied with 2 casinos. The Genting and Grosvenor Casinos are located on the North and South side of Reading (respectively), and are a short drive away from the festival grounds.
Where To Stay?
Camping on the festival grounds is the most immersive option to experience all the excitement Reading has to offer.
There a few camping choices, from standard camp sites, to “glamping” (glamour camping) in pre-built luxury wooden tents, and even car camping options.
The campgrounds have drinking water, lockers, bathrooms, shower facilities, as well as food vendors onsite to satisfy your ravenous hunger.
If camping is un-preferable, have no fear — booking.com is here! On websites like booking.com, you can book rooms ahead of time to save money and worry. Reading (thankfully) has a number of hotels, each varying in price and quality.
The Ibis Reading Centre has standard hotel rooms close to the venue for $71/night; this a great place to get a quiet night’s sleep.
For something a bit more luxurious and spacious, try the Select SA – City Tower for around $213/night. If shared amongst some friends, these prices can be quite fair!
What To Eat?
It’s Expensive at the festival
While eating at Reading festival is both entertaining and satisfying, it is not cheap. For this, it is advised to pack some snacks. Also, gas burners are not allowed, so if you plan to cook your own food, be prepared to make a fire or set up a portable BBQ.
A Perfect Breakfast at Gorge Cafe
All of that being said, there are some favorite places to eat just outside the festival, the rustic Gorge Cafe being one of them.
It is a favorite breakfast stop for Reading festivals goers, many of whom rave about their classic English-style breakfast of hashbrowns, fried eggs, toast, bacon, and sausage.
Are You Vegan?
Does the sound of all of that animal-based eating turn you off? We feel you. Puree Foods in Reading has your back, serving up the finest vegan options, such as the delectable halloumi burger, or their famous Indian chickpea and spinach curry.
How To Get There?
There are three different airports you can fly into in London: Heathrow, Gatwick, and London City Airport. You can follow directions below on how to get to Reading Festival from London.
From Heathrow Airport —
From Heathrow Airport, you can take a Railair bus directly to the Reading Train Station for about $34. It is recommended to book bus tickets in advance.
From London City Airport —
From London City Airport, you can take the train to Reading with 2 transfers. Starting with a 14 minute train ride to Stratford Underground, then transferring to a 24 minute train ride to Lancaster Underground.
Then, a 7 minute walk to Paddington Station, and finally, taking the 25 minute train to Reading. All train routes leave in regular intervals throughout the day, and the total travel time is estimated at 1hr 30mins.
From Gatwick Airport —
From Gatwick Airport, you can take the train (an 8 minute ride) to Redhill. In Redhill you must transfer to another line towards Reading, ‘
which will take approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. This route costs from $20 – $55.
The Victoria Rail
From Gatwick Airport, it is also possible to take the train to London Victoria Rail, take a short walk into the Victoria Underground Station, and transfer to a train towards London Paddington Station.
From there, you can take the train to Reading. This route will take about 1 hour and 40 minutes. This route costs from $20 – $55.
Gatwick also offers an indirect bus route to Reading. The National Express route to Heathrow airport, taking about an hour, is available for $14 – $17.
From there, the Railair bus can get you to Reading directly – or you can take the N7 to Slough, and transfer to a train to Reading.
The Big Green Coach is the official travel provider for the Reading festival, dropping you off inside the festival grounds.
The shuttle has 41 pick-up (and drop-off) locations scattered across the UK, including Cardiff and Newport, as well as Bristol, Cambridge, and London.
By Train —
The train will cost between $15 – $40, and leaves every 20 minutes from London Paddington Rail Station.
An approximately 30-minute train ride will bring you to the Reading train station. The festival grounds are a 15 minute walk through the countryside from the train station;
or, a shuttle bus can be taken directly from the train station and town center to the front entrance of the festival, inaccessible by taxi.
By Car —
Head West on the A4, which will converge with the M4 about 7 miles outside London. Follow the M4, and exit onto the A3290 in Winnersh. Follow the A3920 for about 4 miles into Reading. Total travel time is estimated to be around an hour.
By car —
Head East on the M32 for about 1 mile, and merge onto the M4 at junction 19, following signs for London/Swindon.
Head East on the M4 for 76 miles, and exit onto the A33 at junction 11, following signs for Reading. Follow the A33 into Reading, and merge onto the A329/Vastern Rd toward the city center. The travel time is estimated at 1hr 30mins.
By train —
Great Western Railway operates an hourly line from Bristol Temple Meads to Reading Station in the direction of London Paddington Station. The price of a ticket varies from $25 – $90, but booking ahead of time can save you money. The estimated travel time is 1hr 20 mins.
By train —
From the Cross Country train station in Birmingham, you can take a train directly into Reading for anywhere from $55-$90.
The trains run every hour, and the trip should take roughly 1 hour and 40 minutes. You can take a shuttle bus from the train station right to the festival, or, if you are feeling adventurous, you can walk 15 minutes through the countryside to get there.
By car —
You are going to want to start off by taking Aston Expressway to A38(M). From there, take M42 and M40 to A34 in Oxfordshire.
Then, take exit 9 and follow A34 and A4074 into Reading. The travel time is estimated at about 2 hours and 10 minutes.
The Oldest One
The Reading Festival is the oldest music festival still alive and rockin’ today. It has been a gathering place for youth and artists since it’s conception as (oddly enough) a Jazz festival in 1958.
The festival has been notorious for wild and grungy behavior, including riots such as the infamous “Battle of Beaulieu” in 1959, where ‘jazzed-up’ fans climbed and destroyed entire stages, causing a commotion that made festival organizers question the sustainability (continuance) of such a festival.
The “bottling” of acts off stage is perhaps one of the oldest and most significant traditions of the Reading Festival. It’s tradition that started in the 70’s and continued through the 80’s, but is still alive and prevalent today.
When artists fail to stir and satisfy the crowd, they are subjected to barrage of plastic bottles (filled with all types of liquids, from beer to urine), golf balls, and various projectiles…. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!
Rocking from the 60’s
Rock music was featured at the beginning of the 60’s, and by the start of the 70’s, the festival was entirely themed for Rock and Metal.
The festival started including Rap and Punk artists in the 90’s and 2000’s, making it the musically diverse festival that it is today.