Reading/Leeds celebrates hottest, biggest year yet
Nearly 200,000 people a day collectively attended the twin Reading and Leeds Festivals in the UK last weekend (23–25 August), according to promoter Festival Republic.
Hundreds of artists, DJ and comedians played the 2019 editions of the long-running events (Reading is in its 48th year and Leeds its 21st), which occupy the end-of-August public holiday weekend in England. According to the BBC, it was the hottest August bank holiday on record, with Sunday temperatures reaching 33.3°C (92°F).
As Skiddle notes, the festivals are now a “faint shammer of [their] former rock-purist roots”, offering a greater spread of artists from all genres, including the highly anticipated Reading/Leeds debut of rising star Billie Eilish. The NME’s reviewer, Thomas Smith, says Eilish’s Reading show “may well have been the biggest crowd at a Reading show there’s ever been. “When the camera side of stage pans out to show the punters what they’re in the middle, there are audible gasps at the sheer volume of bodies packed into the field,” Smith writes.
It was the hottest August bank holiday on record, with Sunday temperatures reaching 33.3°c
Headliners were the 1975, Foo Fighters, Post Malone and Twenty One Pilots, with other performers including Bastille, the Distillers, Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals and Bullet for My Valentine, who played a surprise show.
The 1975 debuted tracks from their upcoming album, Notes on a Conditional Form, as well as environmentally conscious new single ‘People’, featuring activist Greta Thunberg, while Foo Fighters were joined on stage by frontman Dave Grohl’s daughter, Violet, as well as special guest Rick Astley.
Organisers also tout the festivals as the most environmentally friendly yet, with “a robust green initiative in place across both sites”.
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