Whether it was Pulp, Prince , the Foo Fighters or The Chemical Brothers it seemed like everyone was enjoying some great music (or some not so great boxing) in the sun shine this weekend. So with all this great music on offer we decided to ask the question: If You Could Steal One Band From Another Festival, Who Would It Be?
If there was one band that could be pinched from any festival this year for the inclusion on the Reading and Leeds line ups, for me it would have to be Bestival’s Saturday night headliners The Cure. The band, who formed in the late 70’s, have released 13 albums and has amassed a huge following, headlining festivals all over the world but are yet to headline Reading or Leeds.
It could be argued that they may not appeal to the current festival demographic however with a shift of band types being booked comes a shift in the type of punters that attend the festival, with The Cure being the perfect act to attract new festival attendees. It would also keep the line up fresh as many of the bands booked this year have played the festivals before, some numerous times. Fans will not keep paying the ever-increasing prices to see the same acts every year.
They could even be included on the current line up with very little disruption; Friday’s line up (Reading) could all drop down a slot paving the way for The Cure to top the bill.
The Reading and Leeds lineups over the past few years have been drawing a lot of criticism but this year probably more so than any other. The main stage is severely lacking in star power with the headline slot on Friday being the most evident example with My Chemical Romance taking top billing. Even though I would consider the other two headliners, Muse and The Strokes, capable and worthy of their positions there isn’t really a headliner that caters for fans of heavier music.
Linkin Park could easily have slotted into the Friday headline spot with MCR as the subheadliner. With numerous highly successful albums to their name and the ability to put on a stellar live show Linkin Park could have brought something big to the festival. From a personal point of view I’ve been to Reading the last 5 years in a row and, despite playing Reading and Leeds before, they’d be a new headliner for me and the latest generation of festival goers.
There are a lot of bands that would be fantastic at Reading and Leeds that are playing other festivals this year, but one that really stuck out for me, and one which made me was insanely jealous due to not being able to go to Sonisphere, was The Mars Volta.
Not only have they not played since 2003, and so would avoid the recent repeats that many people have complained about, but they are also the type of unique act that Reading has been missing out on. Most importantly though, let’s be honest, they’re seriously amazing. A reasonably high slot on the main stage would do them well, but to see them headline the NME stage would be an incredible experience, which could really go down in Reading history. If you are going to Sonisphere, you have see this band.
Queens Of The Stone Age (NME Stage Headliner): Yeah, a repeat booking – the difference between this repeat booking and so many others at Reading and Leeds this year is that this one is tried, tested and well, fucking ace. Okay, so they’ve done little to nothing since they played last year but a band with such a huge discography could play a whole variety of totally different sets and get away with it.
Heck, they could even do a Glastonbury and let the fans choose the setlist. If Reading and Leeds want to be called the greatest rock festival in the world, they could do much worse than book one of the greatest rock bands around. Each time they play the festival, it echoes to a time before Reading and Leeds sold their soul to BBC and NME. This band represents what Reading and Leeds used to be about.
System of a Down, from Download, to be Reading Festival’s Friday headliner, but I suppose that would be too easy. And while bands like NOFX, H2O and A Wilhelm Scream (Groezrock x 2 and Rebellion) would be extremely warmly received, they would make for lazy choices because they’ve all played Reading Festival in recent years.
So with that in mind, I’ll opt for Slam Dunk’s Less Than Jake. Okay, it’s not a wholly original choice, given that they actually last played in 2008. But that was a lock-up headline slot that clashed with Rage Against The Machine. So it doesn’t really count. Let’s have Chris, Roger and co. back on the mainstage in the sun. They would go down a treat before ska veterans Madness, on the Saturday.
So I’m going a little left field with my pick as I’d love to seen Festival Republic scoop up Pantha Du Prince from Bestival and place him on the Dance just before Mount Kimbie. Let’s face it, FR don’t have a clue about electronica and dance, their stage reflects this almost every year, and for every Four Tet there’s a gimmicky indie band with synths or some banal populist take on genuinely interesting movements in dance and dub-step. The festival is always behind the times, and always misses out of the real cutting edge of electronica while more mainstream festivals like Glastonbury manage to beat them to the punch.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for an intensely arty line up, we can still have Nero pleasing the masses and we can still have UNKLE representing the best of Electronica’s past, but how about the present, and how about the fantastical atmospheric and continually intriguing Pantha Du Prince, to create a reflective mesh of earthy and electronic tones to allow everyone to chill, as they await the inevitable bouncy bellow-a-thons that will come when the sun sets.