I don’t know if a festival counts as travelling, however I feel that I should write about it as it is such of a one of a kind experience. As I have a musical father, I have been bought up around music and gigs, so this was not my first festival. However it was the first festival I have stayed at for the entire weekend. In this I’m going to talk about the facilities, food and actual gigs them selves. Here is the list of everyone that played the festival and I’ll list underneath who I saw:
Deaf Havana, Jimmy Eat World, Vampire Weekend, Paramore, Peace, Arctic Monkeys, Drowners, The Neighbourhood, The Kooks, The 1975 and Disclosure.
The day we went to reading was the same day we got our results, so we had to wait until 11am before we even set off. We were set on not staying in either Green or Yellow, because of the horror stories we had heard of what happened in those camps. However we ended up staying in Green as that is where majority of the group we were to stay with were. There was trouble trying to put our tent up as the surrounding groups wanted to have a circle where they could sit, and although our tent wouldn’t interrupt this, the were persistent on us not staying there. Thankfully for us, the weather took a turn for the worst sending these groups back to their tents. Which allowed us to put up our tent and just hope for the best. So far, we weren’t feeling too great. But this wasn’t going to put us down. As the evening went on we had a few drinks and met up with a few people. As it got darker the other groups decided to light a fire, and almost set fire to our tent (wether this was on purpose or not, I do not know). Luckily only the porch had a few holes in it, but it was nothing serious. Later in the night we decided that we wasn’t going to stay in the tent that night as it was too risky. But we thought it best to talk to the group to try and calm the flames (so to speak). After multiple drinks everyone was drunk enough to have a chat. We discovered that some of the group actually weren’t bad, and they even apologised of what happened. They quickly realised that we were only 16, and that we had just got our GCSE’s that morning. Wether it was through pity or something else, the “feud” died down and our tent was safe- For now.
Friday morning: The music starts. To anyone who is a first timer at Reading (like I was) it’s good to know that it is never quiet. Apart from one hour at 6am. I don’t know why it’s then but as soon as that hour is over, people get up and start again. A usual day in Reading will last from 8am until 4am. So you learn to run on practically no sleep for 4 days. I woke up in a friends porch after having a few too many and staying up too late to crawl into the actual bedroom part of the tent where they were already asleep. It was freezing! There was not one night where I didn’t shiver for at least 20min. Once everyone was up and ready we went over to the arena and to the Dance tent. There was someone playing, but I can’t remember the name for the life of me. The dance tent is amazing, if you just want to party and dance with strangers this is the place for you. The group of about 10 that we stared with split into 4. I was with two of the girls I had come with. We decided to go and see Jimmy Eat World. As we got into the crowed we caught the last 5 min of Def Havana, who’s music I had heard before and liked. They put on a good performance from what I saw. Whilst watching Jimmy Eat World, we were on TV about 30 min into the set which was very strange. The next band we saw was Vampire Weekend. We went because F’s boyfriend really wanted to go. We stayed for about 30min and got bored, so the girls and I went back to the dance tent and partied for about an hour. Now lets talk about Paramore. I have loved this band since I was about 9 years old and have always wanted to see them. This was the best performance I saw at Reading. even though there was a massive system failure half way through, Hayley Williams managed to keep a crowed of at least 60,000 people entertained. She jokingly said ” we wanted you to remember the time we played at Reading and Leeds”. The band came together in the middle of the stage and sat on a stage box. After 2 minuets past and nothing had happened, Hayley turned to her guitarist and and decided that although we couldn’t hear him playing through the single working microphone, she would sing and we would sing along with her. Her voiced carried across a field of lights as the crowed held up phones and lighters, swaying side to side whilst singing “the only exception”. As the song began to end, the sound came back on. The crowed roared and the band got up and got back into it. This was defiantly one of the best bands I have ever seen live, and I will remember that show for as long as I live. Once all the acts had finished, we went back to camp to chill and reminisce about Paramore’s incredible performance. It had been mentioned to us that there was a silent rave that went on in orange camp every night from 1 to 5. As we were all hyped from the shows we decided to go. It was the funniest experience. Everyone is given headphones that has a volume button and a switch to flick between 2 channels. The music is often well known (i.e busted- airhostes and teenage dirtbag-weezer), so the entire room is screaming and dancing. The best part is if you take your headphones off mid song, you can just hear people shouting lyrics and to each other. I 100% recommend that if you can then go. Loads of people I know didn’t go because they were put off by the queue. But trust me it is worth it!
Day 2: Arctic Monkeys. So majority of the people we went with were HUGE Arctic Monkey’s fans, which is understandable because they are a great band. So this was the day everyone was hyped for. I believe it was this day that we also saw Milky Chance? I’m not sure on the name nor the day, hense why I didn’t list them. Although they were ok, it was not really festival songs nor appropriate for the dance tent. we spent most of the morning meeting our neighbours and drinking heavily. I knew Peace were going to be on shortly, yet I didn’t know if anyone wanted to go. Thankfully they did. However, I barely knew anyone we were with. Infact I had F (the girl in most of my blogs), her boyfriend- who I’ve met twice before, and two other girls I came with. This is out of roughly 20 people. Im awful at making friends, I seriously lack in self confidence so I’m not really good at trying to sell myself as a friend. Because F was mainly with her boyfriend I had to fend for myself a lot of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t pissed at F, well, not then. I just thought that she might understand differently to the way she did. ANYWAY, one of the girls I knew (J) agreed to come with me and I am so grateful that she did! Peace are a interesting band, they have a unique sound and a very unique style. The lead singer came out in a fur coat with dogtooth print shirt and trousers. Very interesting to say the least. They did the 3 songs I really wanted to hear so I was over the moon, and J really enjoyed it too. As the day went on we pretty much did the same thing as the day before, apart from we decided to have a 20min power nap to prepare us for the night. At 10pm we ran to the main arena and straight to the Main Stage where we managed to get into the middle of the crowed. It was so lovely to see how excited all the lads were to see their idols, and I have to admit I was pretty excited too! They were everything they were promised to be. Great sound, great playing. I can’t say there was any point when I wasn’t enjoying myself at this show.
Ive decided not so continue in the day format as it will get a bit boring for you to read, so I will say that on Sunday: The 1975 were absolutely amazing, I have never fan girled so hard in my life. Disclosure were good, however we were right at the front. It is almost impossible to get water without it being thrown at your face (But if you don’t like it, don’t stand at the front). It gets incredibly hot and lots of the men take off their shirts, so if you are offended by shirtless men of all shapes and size, I would again advise not to go to the front.
Also there was a problem whilst we were in Green camp. As you know there had been trouble as son as we got their with our neighbours. Although it settled slightly, the two groups either side of us had been slowly brewing up a fight. It started by one on the members from Right pissing on one of Lefts tents. Then it escalated to kicking down each others gazebos and tents. On the sunday, things escalated very dramatically. And our tent was slap bang in the middle. Luckily for us we had friends on both Left and Right so we weren’t associated with a particular group. As we started to leave for The 1975, we saw 3 security guards and 2 police officers approach the path near. One of the police officers was detaining one of the boys we had met earlier that day (he had done nothing wrong so we told that to the officer). After speaking to the boy for a bit, we couldn’t get the officer to let him go. So we had to leave him. When returning, we discovered that 4 of the boys had been arrested and 2 more had been detained. Luckily no one we knew was hurt. But I thought I would express this experience with you so you know the entire story.
Lets talk about facilities. I’ll start with the dreaded subject: Toilets. Okay, I’m gonna be real here and tell you how it is. If you don’t want to read about disgusting things then ill put this (*) where the toilet horror story starts and ends. Ready? (*) Have you ever seen the carts that people use to transport horse around in? sort of like a portable paddock? Well imagine that but green, on top of a massive box and with about 20 sections on each side. When entering these toilets do not look down, I repeat DO NOT LOOK DOWN. It is pure filth. Honsetly its like looking into hell. Another thing to bare in mind is that the cubicles don’t have ceilings, and the walls are very low, you know if you go into a Primary school toilet and when you stand up you can see everything over the door. Well this is exactly what it is like. Especially for the lads. Because there are cubicles either side of each other, when men stand to piss, they have full on eye contact with the man pissing in front of them. And i mean full on eye contact! This is just for added effect, but when walking home one night at about 4am we walked past the toilets. They were Litterally steaming in the cold air. It looked like the gates of hell, and it will scar me for the rest of my life. This goes with out saying, but the smell. oh my god, the smell was rancid. honestly I have never smelt anything worse in my entire life(*) HOWEVER, even though the campers toilets are putrid, the arena toilets are like haven in comparison. They are actual toilet blocks which have a flush and proper doors. So I’d advise if you do need the toilet, hold off until the arena opens and then go. Or go in the bush, whatever you feel comfortable doing.
Food. There are hundreds of food stalls allover the grounds, from chinese to pancake bars. The choices are pretty endless. I had the pancakes once, which were really good and really filing. I believe it was £6 for a portion of 4. The largest meal I had whilst at Reading was chicken chow mein. It looked much better than it tasted but it was still pretty good (weather this was because I hadn’t eaten in days, I don’t know).
Reading. I honestly don’t know how to conclude this weekend. I don’t really want to. It was such a wonderful atmosphere and experience. I know as soon as I end this piece it’s truly over. To anyone who wants to go to reading, I would say go. It is great to see live music and hang with friends. But I would advise for your first time to go with at least 2 people you know very very well, as it can be difficult if you are like me to make friends with in the group when you have no one to introduce you.