Festival Preview: Reading & Leeds

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Reading & Leeds’ 2013 lineup is one of the best I’ve seen and I was lucky enough to be there, in which seeing the likes of Eminem, Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Skrillex, EarlWolf, Knife Party, Disclosure, Haim and of course many more. Reading is ultimately a rock festival and it strayed away from its roots in recent years, dipping into other genres and as such bizarrely received a lot of criticism, as clearly a return to the genre that it devotes itself to, the 2014 lineup is very different to 2013.

Headliners
Blink 182 are one of my all-time favourite artists, like a lot of people my age, they’re one of those childhood bands that you had on your first MP3 player. I was ecstatic when Zane Lowe declared that they would be the first headline act and almost bought a ticket there and then with Disclosure, Jake Bugg and Pusha T also supporting. The second headliner Arctic Monkeys was a massive announcement and as a new found fan who missed them at last year’s Glastonbury, it was another I’d look forward to. Then came the third and final headliner announcement; Queens of The Stone Age and Paramore, I don’t know one song by either and I highly doubt I’d see them both. Four massive rock bands take to the stage at Reading & Leeds and despite the lack of a massive rap icon of Eminem’s magnitude, I have no complaints about the headline acts.

Rock
Having previously mentioned the headliners who dominate the bill in terms of rock, a lot of the lineup follows in suite, filling up the vacant spots across the venue. You can expect to see the likes of Imagine Dragons (who were incredible when I saw them), Jimmy Eat World, You Me at Six, The Hives, Courteeners and Don Broco among the other rock acts at Reading & Leeds 2014, leaving most fans with a varied selection of talent.

Hip-Hop/Rap
Reading & Leeds has been something of a dark horse for rap; Eminem, 50 Cent, Odd Future, Cypress Hill and Dizzee Rascal have been high on the bill in past years but it’s the future talent that they’ve managed to secure early on you should be looking out for, Action Bronson, A$AP Rocky and (a then unknown to me) Chance The Rapper were there last year among others and this year is no exception in terms of quality. Danny Brown, Joey Bada$$, Vic Mensa, Pusha T and of course the massive -love him or hate him- Macklemore all make appearances at Reading & Leeds 2014.

Dance/Electronic/Dubstep
With Reading & Leeds as one of the most diverse festivals out there it continues to reel in big acts under the above categories, this year you can look forward to Disclosure, Nero, Netsky, Flume, Pendulum DJ Set and other upcoming talents such as Bondax. These genres didn’t really jump out at me but upon examining the lineup further, there’s a lot to look forward to, Bondax are one of the most exciting acts to come from the internet age and I would love to see them, Flume have had a couple of great remixes including one of Disclosure’s You&Me, and you can’t go wrong with Annie Mac and Andy C.

Indie
With Glastonbury setting the benchmark in this category, Reading&Leeds still holds its own, having reeled in CHVRCHES, SBTRKT and Metronomy, music fans who know the future’s stars will be in awe of some of the acts on the 2014 bill. Bombay Bicycle Club headline the NME/Radio1 stage and are something of an underdog in terms of anticipation, expect a massive crowd from their cult fans as well as a fair old buzz surrounding all-girl indie group Warpaint. 

Pop
Reading & Leeds often snag big pop acts and 2014 is no exception, The 1975 return for their second consecutive year, and with a new found fan base they’re going to be a fun group to watch. Chart toppers Clean Bandit play on Sunday and I assume they’ll have another single or two to play alongside Rather Be by then, and with the massive hit Afterglow, Wilkinson could be another underrated performer in 2014.

Highlights
Having only unveiled a portion of the full lineup I suspect they still have a lot in store at Reading & Leeds, but for the mean time there’s still enough reason to buy a ticket now. Of course he’s nowhere near Eminem’s level, but as the biggest rap star at the festival, Macklemore would still be a big performance, you can’t deny you wouldn’t be throwing your hands in the air to Can’t Hold Us. Jimmy Eat World are another act who might slip under the radar, and despite not quite having the status here in the UK, as they do in the US, a singalong of fan favourite The Middle would be one to look forward to.

Summary
As a rock fan I do look at this lineup with a lot of anticipation, I’m not that hot on Paramore or Queens of The Stone Age, but Arctic Monkeys and one of my favourite acts of all time, Blink 182 more than make up for it. There’s a lot of rap talent on offer too in the form of Vic Mensa and G.O.O.D. Music’s Pusha T, not to mention Macklemore, and dance/electronic fans can also be happy with big spots from Disclosure and Nero. 

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