If you’re over the age of twelve and live in  the UK, the words “Reading and Leeds Festival” are probably as natural to your brain as ‘food’ or ‘water’. One of the biggest festivals in the UK, alongside Glastonbury and the Isle Of Wight Festival, Reading and Leeds showcases some of the biggest names in rock, indie, pop, electronic and, occasionally, metal and punk acts across seven stages. While it is technically two festivals in two different locations, the line-up is the same for both, exchanging bands and artists on different days – If an artist plays at Reading on the Friday, they will be at Leeds on one of the following days. So this year, the weekend of music starts on the 24th ’til the 26th, although if you want you can travel up on the Wednesday or Thursday (22nd/23rd) if you want a chance of getting a good camping spot and an extra night or two of partying.

The line-up this year is stellar, boasting goth-rock godfathers The Cure, indie stars Kasabian and rock titans Foo Fighters as mainstage headliners. Other names to share the mainstage are The Black Keys, Crystal Castles, The Gaslight Anthem, OFWGKTA, The Vaccines, Coheed and Cambria, Cancer Bats, and more. On the NME Stage, the likes of At The Drive-In (a reunion you cannot miss), Mastodon, Justice, Foster The People, The Hives, Billy Talent, The Mark Lanegan Band, SBTRKT, Future Of The Left, etc. If you’re looking for something consistently heavier, then you should feel home at the Lock-Up Stage as Every Time I Die, Social Distortion, Trash Talk, Ceremony, Anti-Flag, Star Fucking Hipsters, Touché Amoré and more will be there. Plus there are other stages for electronic, comedy and unsigned acts too!

Want to go? Unfortunately the weekend and Sunday single tickets are sold out now, but day tickets for Friday and Saturday are still available at £92 (inc. the booking fee). So if you’re desperate to catch the Friday or Saturday line-up, then get your tickets while they’re still there!

As for bands and artists to check out, here are my personal recommendations:

Foo Fighters
When: Reading = Sunday (26th) / Leeds = Friday (24th)
Where: Mainstage

Even if you’re mildly interested in rock music, the Foos should be one of the bands that have been instilled in your brain since your teen years. Dave Grohl and co. will be rocking the crowd into a storm. Do I even have to explain it to you? There’s no reason for you to miss these guys!

Learn To Fly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VQ_3sBZEm0

The Cure
When: Reading = Friday (24th) / Leeds = Saturday (25th)
Where: Mainstage

The Cure ruled the waves for 80’s goth rock, setting the way for British indie music in general with more than enough game-changing albums. Although it is unarguable that the band are getting on now, they still seem passionate as ever and still set a great atmosphere live to this day.

Just Like Heaven: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS_ux2H473I&feature=fvst

At The Drive-In
When: Reading = Saturday (25th) / Leeds = Sunday (26th)
Where: NME/R1 Stage

Perhaps one of the few genuinely exciting reunions to happen in recent years, At The Drive-In are back to throw their tireless math rock/pop-punk in your face. Although vocalist Cedric and guitarist Omar continued to work together in The Mars Volta after At The Drive-In’s split, it’s going to be monumental seeing them return to the material that pricked so many ears around the world.

Arcarsenal (Live): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBUtkPrANRs

Every Time I Die
When: Reading = Friday (24th) / Leeds = Saturday (25th)
Where: Lock-Up Stage

There’s something about seeing ETID live that changes your life… perhaps it’s being bombarded by their heavy and technical Southern-metal style in deafening volume or the insanity of their live shows (both on part of the crowd and the band), either make ETID pretty a heavyweight contender in deserving your time. The best band in metal to party to!

Ebolarama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C29Nz7u6Yqc

Crystal Castles
When: Reading = Friday (24th) / Leeds = Saturday (25th)
Where: Mainstage

It’s fair to say that Crystal Castles have made waves in the electronic indie scene, especially with their debut self-titled that saw a face-slapping mix of 8-bit music, experimental female vocals and a nervous amount of unpredictability – which transcends into the live setting really well. Surely a performance worth witnessing.

Courtship Dating: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwiG9CUDo-I

Pulled Apart By Horses
When: Reading = Sunday (26th) / Leeds = Friday (24th)
Where: Mainstage

If you like your rock music to have a slightly unhinged twist to it, these guys are your band. While keeping within the ‘indie’ weight of rock and metal, the band makes up for what they lack in distorted heaviness with technical insanity and a scary amount of originality. Plus, these guys seem to do anything but stand still when playing live.

Back To The Fuck Yeah: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzDz5wVs8uw

Trash Talk
When: Reading = Sunday (26th) / Leeds = Friday (24th)
Where: Lock-Up Stage

Feral hardcore punk outfit Trash Talk do nothing but leave destruction in their wake, literally and metaphorically. From having their sets cut short by unhappy record store owners and even being caught in a middle of a riot, Trash Talk are one of the few bands around that live on the chaotic punk aesthetic, concentrating on the music and carnage. A must see.

Explode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8P-iwNhceY

Coheed and Cambria
When: Reading = Friday (24th) / Leeds = Saturday (25th)
Where: Mainstage

Coheed are one of the finest and most well-known progressive rock bands of the past decade, mixing the progressive bloodline with pop-punk and metal. Vocalist and guitarist Claudio Sanchez is also one of the most entertaining and musically innovative frontmen in rock music – his live prowess strikes awe into witnesses who are lucky enough to catch Coheed live.

In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxowWo_XV_c

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