Smashed Vinyls Maddie Aldridge was at Reading Festival last weekend roaming the muddy fields littered with empty cans, drunk teenagers and indie bands.
Reading and Leeds has everything one could want from a major UK Festival: disgusting toilets, overpriced food and drinks (£4 for curly fries is daylight robbery) and, even still in 2016, idiots shouting Alan and Steve. But this year was slightly different of course because in 2016 Reading and Leeds Festival boosted five headliner acts instead of the traditional three. The festival has been known to double up on headliners before for example, in 2014 Paramore shared the spotlight with the ever brilliant Queens of the Stone Age, headlining a festival each. However, in this case, both bands were clearly worthy and ready to headline the famous stage but the same cannot be said for the sadly disappointing Foals.
The major problem with two headliners - which became apparent on the Friday night of Reading - is that two average bands do not make up one Reading worthy headliner. It makes people go back to their tents to get drunk until the silent disco begins!
Foals had and still have the potential to be a brilliant headliner act but they simply weren’t ready. Although they have enough album material, the band have only started to gather a large mainstream following in the last few years and this really showed in the lack of crowd. Disclosure, however, excelled in their headliner but really a sub headliner spot at Reading because the crowd wasn’t expecting as much from them. The main problem with a band like Disclosure is that Reading and Leeds is traditionally a rock festival (see other headliners The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Biffy Clyro) therefore the DJs maybe better off spending their bank holiday weekend at Creamfields.
Although Fall Out Boy were billed as joint headlining and they did close the Friday night at Leeds Festival, it seems like a crime that a band as magnificent as Biffy Clyro would have to share the spotlight with anyone especially after quite competently closing Reading Festival before in 2013. Biffy Clyro encapsulates everything that Reading and Leeds is as a festival on a level that is on the way to being as great as the hold The Red Hot Chilli Peppers have over Richfield Avenue.
Other highlights from Reading Festival have to be Blossoms secret set on the BBC Introducing Stage on Friday afternoon as well as Frank Turner who played for his tenth year in a row at the festival with The Sleeping Souls. Despite initial reservations that Slaves would have been better in the NME tent on the Saturday afternoon the twosome absolutely smashed their set on the main stage whilst clashing with a secret You Me at Six set.
However, it is impossible to narrow down just a few highlights from Sunday afternoon. Despite a short set Rat Boy took over the NME stage with the crowd going so wild someone felt the need to throw their iPhone six on the stage during Fake ID! Cage the Elephant were also a personal highlight of the whole weekend after waiting so long to see them and they definitely didn’t disappoint. An early set from Deaf Havana was also great to watch and as ever The Vaccines put on a reliably brilliant performance as technically they sub headlined the main stage. In addition to all of this the most touching moment of the whole weekend had to be the short but sweet tribute to Viola Beach after the loss of the band earlier this year.
So that’s it for Reading and Leeds 2016 and we can only hope that next year Melvin Benn remembers that festivals have three headliners for a reason.