After their critically acclaimed headline slot at Bestival this summer, it was only a matter of time before the questions were raised about whether we’d be seeing The Cure at Reading and Leeds any time soon, and I have to say, not only can I not see it happening, I don’t think it would be a good idea at all.
Fear not, fans of The Cure, this isn’t a swipe at the band, they’ve had a successful career spanning five decades; they are legends in the business and are well worthy headliners of almost any festival. Which brings us to Reading and Leeds, the days of bands such as The Cure headlining the festivals are, in my mind, well and truly over, and the main reason for this is the type of crowd that the festivals attract.
Over a fairly short period of time, the atmosphere of Reading and Leeds has shifted dramatically, gone are the days of everybody in attendance turning up for the music alone, I’d go so far as to say the percentage of real music fans among ticket-holders are at an all time low. These are the days of hair straighteners, fashion parades and an overwhelming demand for music spoon fed by the likes of Radio 1.
Case in point – Reading Festival 2009, Friday 28th August. Faith No More perform an incredible show to a quarter-full NME tent. Meanwhile, over on the packed out Main Stage, Caleb Followill and the rest of Kings Of Leon throw an embarrassing tantrum when it becomes painfully obvious that a huge chunk of their crowd have only turned up to see two of the most over played songs in recent years, “Sex On Fire” and “Use Somebody”.
Now while it goes without saying that Faith No More aren’t quite comparable in size with The Cure, both are undeniable legends, neither receive much airtime on big radio stations, neither are likely to have a hit single any time soon, and neither fit the criteria that the Reading and Leeds audience demands. If The Cure were to headline the festivals, it would likely be to one of the smallest headlining crowds seen in the last decade, especially as they would undoubtedly be going up against an NME Tent headliner much more suited to the festivals.
You have to ask:
1. Would the organisers want to risk having such a small crowd for a headliner being broadcast around the world?
2. Would the band themselves want to play to such a crowd?
The answer to both is a resounding no. The Cure are better off staying at festivals such as Bestival, because the young and fickle demographic of Reading and Leeds won’t appreciate them like they deserve.