Exploring the controversial lineup of Britain’s leading rock music festival
For months, thousands of music loving Britons have been anxiously awaiting the announcement of 2018’s Reading and Leeds Festival. The renowned English rock festival is the world’s oldest popular music festival that is still going strong since it’s humble jazz beginnings in 1958. Evidently, as the years have progressed, thousands of international talents have entertained the ever growing numbers that flock to their stages.
The management of the R&L’s Festival gifted us with an early Valentine’s Day present on 13th February by revealing one of their most controversial lineups yet. Reading Fest loyalists were in uproar when they witnessed the obvious change in direction the booking agency had taken when names such as Kendrick Lamar, Dua Lipa and Post Malone took centre-stage on the lineup announcement sheet. Whether this diversified list was an attempt to branch out to a wider audience, now that competitor event V Festival is not running anymore, or purely the alert realisation that the main up and coming music scene is rap and hip hop (which has grown rapidly in the recent years) whilst pop punk and indie becomes a depleting category. All is not lost for the alternative kids of yesteryear however, with nostalgic bands like Fall Out Boy, Sum 41 and Panic! At The Disco to name a few who will reignite the head banging anthems, if only for a few hour sets across the weekend.
More recent English bands are also making an appearance such as Southend’s very own Nothing But Thieves and indie kings The Wombats who will get the young crowds jumping and shouting under the (hopefully) shining summer sun.
Of course it is unclear of the true shape of the festival until all the lineups have been announced. A hopeful guess would be that a more band-heavy lineup is released next to counterbalance the new urban crowd. However, the more realistic voice is telling me that due to the extreme successes that Wireless Festival achieved, selling out all tickets in under 24 hours, that Urban Reading 2.0 is here to stay and we can only expect more diversity in the future.