Viewpoint: Reading & Leeds 2012

A personal view of the line up...
Reading Leeds 2012.JPG
It's almost time.

After months of waiting, rumour and speculation the organisers of Reading & Leeds unveiled the line up for this summer's event. One of the biggest summer events in the UK this year, the festival have installed The Cure, Kasabian and Foo Fighters as headliners with plenty of acts sitting beneath them.

Check out the initial details HERE.

Clash writer Jamie Carson is a long time fan of the festival, having attended Leeds faithfully since his teenage years. Asked to pen a very personal look at the line up, he responded with something which reflects his own experiences as well as looking at the wider climate of the festival season.

- - -

Look out on to the street and you’ll see an array of bins that are used for various recycling purposes: plastic, general waste, cans, glass, paper. Never have you thought so hard about throwing away an empty packet of Monster Munch. However, not all recycling is great, as we have seen with various festival headlines over the past few years: The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Metallica, Muse. They are all the usual suspects of the festival circuit. The only things that have drastically changed in recent years are the prices, and not for the better.

The main problems are obvious: there are too many money-grubbing people out there trying to cash in on the festival craze and there are only so many “headline” bands out there that can be put at the top of the bill every year. This will backfire sooner rather than later, as there are only so many times you can hear ‘Knights Of Cydonia’ covered in piss and mud and pay over £200 for the privilege. Evidence of this can be seen in last years Leeds and Reading ticket sales, one of the slowest ticket selling years for the festival favorite, with tickets going on Ebay for a drastically lower price than the face value. This year sees them trying new options like paying in four installments to try and battle this problem.

2012 will see Foo Fighters, The Cure and Kasabian head to Leeds and Reading for another chaotic bank holiday weekend.

Foo Fighters are a band that has played there many times before, and their latest efforts of ‘Echoes, Patience, Silence, Grace’ and ‘Wasting Light’ really aren’t anything on older material such as ‘The Colour and the Shape’.

Kasabian as a headliner will not be understood by many. Not that they’re a bad band, but with previous headliners being Guns N’ Roses and Rage Against The Machine, with this festival you have to have a heavy or classic aura about you. Sure, lighter acts like The Strokes and Pulp played last year, but no way are Kasabian at that level yet.

For a legendary band, The Cure are a fantastic choice. Having played at the Royal Albert Hall last year for around 250 minutes for over £100 a ticket, they are a band that a lot of people in the UK have not seen but have wanted to for a long time. We can’t all be well paid dedicated goths.

Justice and At The Drive-In are also inspired alternative headliners, providing a much needed escape for the festival goer looking for something different. And everyone knows music sounds better in a sweaty little tent.

Another problem here is the band layout. God knows what Paramore are doing playing under The Cure, surely Hayley Williams’ fans will be long gone in the medical tent by then. Pulled Apart By Horses and Odd future on the main stage? Surely they should be ripping up a tent and climbing some metal structures. They just won’t go down the same in a setting that big in the middle of the day.

But, it’s not all about the main stage, Leeds and Reading is a festival known for surprising its guests. Past secret sets have came from Gallows, Them Crooked Vultures and Foo Fighters, all in more than intimate settings. Leeds and Reading is about rocking up to the small lock-up stage at midday to discover a new punk band you know nothing about.

But, it’s still early days, who knows what the weekend will pull out its bag to make sure it doesn’t go stale. It’d be a shame for it to lose its way and not become a yearly festival anymore. The solution isn’t as easy as finding a better headliner, organisers thought they were being different by forking out a ridiculous amount of money for The Stone Roses come back, but don’t be shocked if you see them playing in your dingy local pub, as they will be doing a very high amount of festivals and gigs this summer.

Even though the bill is a little stereotypical, there are a few saving graces. But will it be enough to keep you entertained through the rain and warm cans of lager?

Jamie Carson

- - -

Reading and Leeds runs between August 24th - 26th.

Have your say

Sign in or Register to leave comments
-