21st Century Appearances: 2010 Festival Republic Headliner, 2007 NME Stage Headliner, 2004 Main Stage, 2002 Main Stage, 2001 NME Stage Headliner
The Defining Reading Moment: The stampede towards the main stage when Tim Wheeler softly crooned the words “Do You Remember The Time, I Knew A Girl From Mars?”
Ash are a band who have been all things to Reading Festival in the 21st century. They’ve been near the top of the Main Stage in 2002 and 2004, Second Stage headliners in 2001 and 2007 and Festival Republic Stage headliners in 2010. No band has filled so many positions so successfully, and their bouncing around the bill is indicative of the band’s various rises and falls across their career. One thing that doesn’t waver is the band’s commitment to nailing it live each and every time they play.
Each performance at Reading has been different with a wide variety of challenges and successes. The band wrestled with technical difficulties in 2004 but still made the best of it being the pros that they are. Three years on the band put up a credible opposition to Razorlight’s Main Stage headline slot in 2007, encouraging the crowd to turn on the less than popular Razorlight and shooting them down with a string of monster anthems, ‘Burn Baby Burn’, ‘Girl From Mars’ and ‘Shining Light’. This was all without Charlotte who’d left the band in 2006 returning them to an all male three piece.
Whatever the future holds for Ash, a possible return from Charlotte, a rise up the bill again to former glories or continuing to blow the roof off the various tented stages of Reading, Ash’s legacy at the festival is pretty much assured. Adam McCartney