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Festival Moments: Reading and Leeds

We reveal our five most treasured moments from down the years at Leeds and Reading festival to give you the festival itch for their 2015 editions.

Ben Smith

Last updated: 23rd Apr 2015

Image: Arctic Monkeys at Reading Festival 

We can all agree that it's the festival experience as a whole that keeps us coming back for more summer on summer. But sometimes, other than those drunken moments wallowing in the festival mud, our trip is defined by those special moments on stage when you can say "I was there". 

We recently got talking about our experiences at Reading and Leeds, which got us reminiscing about all those outrageous moments, prompting an office war about the best colour camp, as well as the musical prowess we've witnessed on stage. 

With plenty to talk about, including The Libertines' incredible comeback in 2010, we compiled our five favourite festival moments from the August Bank Holiday extravaganzas. 

Nirvana - Reading 1992

We could have mentioned the year Kurt came on stage in a wheelchair, promptly collapsed and then got back up to open his set. But it's this performance that really stands out for us.

Nirvana's mind blowing performance in 1992 at Reading Festival is possible the best it has ever witnessed. This performance of 'Lithium' is strikingly intimate when considering the scale of the festival, and quite frankly makes us wish we were there to experience the awe inspiring moment.

Pulp - Reading/Leeds 2011

"If Pulp were only ever remembered for this song, I don't care. It's a good song. You know, Black Lace are only remembered for Agadoo". Jarvis couldn't be more right there (talking about 'Common People above), because this electrifying performance of their eagerly awaited smash, was easily one of our favourite moments at the festival to date. 

The fact that every single word is echoed with precision from the on-looking crowd (well actually, there's always someone next to you making the words up), exemplifies the power of this timeless classic when compared to its unveiling at Reading in 1994. Hats off to you Jarvis, and for that Black Lace reference. 

The Libertines - Reading 2010

The rocky relationship between Pete Doherty and Carl Barat before this was there for all to see, so we perhaps suspected this would be the last time we'd see The Libertines live in concert after a six year hiatus. Of course, that all went out the window when they were announced to make yet another comeback at this year's Reading and Leeds Festivals. 

It's affirmative that The Libertines are the beloved darlings of indie music, and this performance of 'Music When The Lights Go Out' was pretty special. We could have have plumped for any song from this incredible set, but the moment of raw emotion from Pete and Carl when singing the chorus really sets this apart for us. 

Arctic Monkeys - Reading/Leeds 2014

In 2005, a baby faced Alex Turner incredibly led the Arctic Monkeys in front of a packed tent before they'd even released an album. Not many bands can allay to that, which is probably why in 2014 the iconic front man led the band out onto the main stage for a monumental headline slot.

Under the looming lights of their giant 'AM' symbol, a silhouetted Arctic Monkeys played out a sleazy yet glorious performance of their recently dropped 'AM' long player to optimum perfection. We'd quite like to include the whole set, but we'll settle on 'I Wanna Be Yours'.  

The Strokes - Reading/Leeds 2002 

The hype surrounding arguably one of the greatest indie albums of all time, Is This It, quickly prompted the festival organisers to move The Strokes to the main stage in 2001. Just a year later they returned as headliners after the release of just one album, how many bands can boast that? 

That album defined The Strokes ongoing tenure as a band as well as many festival experiences that year, justifying why they're widely regarded as one of greatest indie bands to have ever roamed this earth. And who knows what this year will bring? It may just spawn the start of something as equally incredible. 

Leeds and Reading Festival takes place from Friday 28th - Sunday 30th August at Bramham Park in Leeds and Richfield Avenue in Reading. You can secure your tickets for Leeds festival here and Reading Festival here.

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