Tales of A Festival Goer: Reading

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By Sam Reynolds on 10.6.2023

Tales of A Festival Goer: Reading

Ah Reading Festival… I’ve been a couple of times and the huge scramble to obtain tickets via jammed phone lines and crashing websites has always been worth it.

It’s not my favourite festival. I’ve been to a fair few and Glastonbury, where I’m heading back to this year, definitely tops the list.

However, last year’s Reading Fest was undoubtedly my favourite festival experience. I’ve been asked a few times recently what my favourite gig was and I know it’s cheating, but I have to say Reading 2010. There were twenty-four of us altogether, sitting round the campfire, playing drinking games, raving in the silent disco, exploring the site and just basically having a wicked time. A big number like that meant we’d all end up, whether intentionally or unintentionally, with different people at different times, and the music was spot on, with The Libertines, Queens of the Stone Age, Gogol Bordello, Cypress Hill, Blink-182, Dizzee Rascal, Paramore and the rest doing a great job, and Guns N’ Roses doing a not-so-great job. Gallows had a poorly-kept but greatly-executed secret set, with an impressive wall of death in the massive moshpit. As with every festival I’ve been to, I didn’t get to see every band I wanted to, but I didn’t care or mind or probably even realise at the time, as I was having too much fun with that unique festival atmosphere on a sunny bank holiday weekend spent camping with good friends and live music. Sweet.

You’d have thought the mood might change on the last night though, with the expectation of ‘angry mobs’ described in all festival horror stories of enthusiastic fest-heads not wanting the weekend to end by curiously knocking down walls, destroying tents and starting fires. This happened on the last night a couple of years before. It was the first festival for about ten of my friends including myself, so we were all excited and indecisive, with matters like sleeping arrangements causing unnecessary prior debate as twelve-man tepee suggestions and who’s-in-who’s-tent discussions were creating classic drama. Once we got there it was great, all jokes and banter, despite the odd random projectile vomit or so. We found a great spot by a wall that accommodated all of us, and we were chuffed with it ‘til one of said angry mobs decided to knock it down and surround our campfire. As all of this chaos was erupting around us, I tried to get some sleep, exhausted, as you would be after four days of little sleep, poor diet, lots of walking, raving and moshing and the indulgence in excess drink and so forth.

Extremely sleep-deprived, I sat annoyed outside my tent – even more so when I found out someone had stolen my welly. “GET OUT YOUR TENT SAM GET OUT YOUR TENT!” my friend Stephen was shouting. A few of my mates were around our campfire still. The others, though, were huddling together in a corner, as if making a point of looking scared. Rumours were flying around that tents were being thrown into fires with people in them; but really? I mean, I know these folk are going on a trail of destruction but I doubt they’re likely to leave a bloodbath behind them, too. In the end, we made it out alive and, most importantly, I slept well. Security seemed to have heightened last year though so luckily the chances of someone seeking Sunday night solace from the carnage in a fragrant long-drop toilet cubicle were lessened, but that year still brings back hilarious memories. If, by the time you’re reading this, you’ve paid for your Reading Festival ticket, or any festival ticket for that matter, I hope, if anything, I’ve merely made you more excited than you undoubtedly already are. Have a great one.


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