So we are now two announcements deep into this year’s Reading & Leeds festival line-up, and what do we know? Well, in terms of calibre of names, the headliners themselves (Muse and Kasabian) are a huge point of attraction for many people given their big names in the industry. Beyond that, we have next to nothing. I’m not Muse’s biggest fan so I won’t be watching them; Kasabian however are one of my favourite bands so they’re top of the priority list for me this time around. Hearing songs like Underdog, Club Foot and Shoot The Runner live will be a biblical experience and one I’ll cease to forget that’s for sure. So there you go, out of the two headliner she I’m only watching one of them, they’re already behind on last year when they announced Red Hot Chili Peppers and then a co-headline slot for Foals and Disclosure, two of which I saw (RHCP & Foals). In terms of stature, the headliners this year are good, in terms of originality? They really aren’t.
Beyond the headline slots we have next to nothing to shout home about. In fact, I will go on record and say of all the acts announced so far that aren’t headliners, I will watch a solitary THREE of them. They are Two Door Cinema Club, Danny Brown and legendary DJ Fatboy Slim. Acts like Bastille, Major Lazer and Tory Lanez do nothing but confirm the state of this music festival and what it could be becoming, a plain and stale festival desperate to please all parties but instead it only pleases 14 year old white girls who’ve never been before. It is rumoured to only get worse as another big name is in the frame to headline, none other than the narcissistic, bigoted egomaniac that is Eminem. Yay. Another nail in the coffin.
Now, you’ve all seen my moaning about this line-up and are probably wondering what I would have done? If we are being realistic then Reading & Leeds aren’t going to build a Coachella style line-up but that doesn’t excuse the poor selection they have supplied here, one glaring thing is the lack of women in the line-up and in my mock announcement I have amended this and quite frankly made a better line-up. Here it is:
Now let me explain my reasons. I don’t like Catfish but they are a Reading & Leeds band without doubt. Similarly, Courteeners had a fairly big year so it was difficult to leave them off, not to mention that they’re ever presents anyway. Two Door have made the step up and I think third from the top is a fair location for them, especially considering it is behind a returning icon in Richard Ashcroft, who I think would set people up for the Roses absolutely brilliantly. Jamie T has made his comeback and I think that if hip hop and R&B hadn’t been so huge he would have been second from the top but Frank Ocean makes sense there given the buzz around his name last year as well as his headline slots being announced elsewhere. Skepta is a huge call to be a sub-headliner but he is the Mercury prize winner and is one of Britain’s biggest treasures now, there’s no disputing his credentials. Expect usual appearances from the likes of Frank Turner and Frank Carter on the main stage.
The NME stage is one I think has masses of potential. If they do it the way people want them to do it that is what the three headliners of that stage should look like. The xx are no-brainers for that stage as are MGMT if they release their album as expected. Liam Gallagher will bring the house down over there, much like Nas did last year but on a grander scale to mark his solo endeavours. But no, Major Lazer seems like a better idea doesn’t it… Female acts such as Wolf Alice, Angel Olsen and Savages would go down a hit with the crowd and the fact Reading & Leeds are yet to announce any of them is massively frustrating. Hip-hop fans would like the inclusion of Run The Jewels and ScHoolboy Q, with RTJ heading on a European tour it is easy to see why they could make an appearance and ScHoolboy has become a huge name since his last appearance at the festival. Craig David and ‘Black Beatles’ stars Rae Sremmurd will make the crowd go wild and Post Malone would sauce on everybody.
The Dance stage is one I struggle to get along with because it simply isn’t my genre, but there are some acts this year that, if announced, would appeal to me greatly. Fatboy Slim has already been announced and his set will be legendary I am sure of it, as will Flume’s who was also given the nod. Don’t be surprised to see someone of Steve Aoki’s credentials tearing up that stage and hopefully we get an appearance from upcoming Canadian producer KAYTRANADA because he would smash it. Basically my lack of faith and knowledge in that stage means I have been forced to put myself on the list because I am confident my playlists would blow people away, long live Ellis Karran’s Spotify.
I’ll explain now, where it says ‘Lock Up Stage’ it is meant to be the ‘1Xtra stage’ but I couldn’t find an adequate template so that’ll have to do. After Travis Scott’s absence last year I don’t think they’ll be too quick chasing up again. One thing they have done well is getting Wiley and Danny Brown on board, both of whom will be fantastic on one of my favourite stages at any festival. If my predictions come true about this stage I am camping there, I will never leave it because it’s hard to ignore any of those acts; from the American trap vibe of Migos and Anderson .Paak to the gritty British sounds of Giggs and Loyle Carner. Please come through with a madness guys, please. The female influence is evident here with Lady Leshurr, Noname and Nadia Rose getting my seal of approval to make the stage jump around this year, however given the reputation of the festival, don’t expect to see any of them make an appearance sadly.
So what do you think? Who’s festival would you rather see? Is the lack of female artists on the festival circuit becoming an issue? Let me know your thoughts and please acknowledge that I am well aware how optimistic I am being about this festival, but it is the standards you expect when you’re paying the same as you would for Glastonbury.