The Carling Weekend - Bands + Ticket Info!

The Darkness, The White Stripes, and Green Day to headline The Carling Weekend - Reading & Leeds - 2004. Buy tickets now!

Chay Woodman

Date published: 29th Mar 2004



The Carling Weekend, Reading and Leeds Festivals returns following a hugely successful double sell-out in 2003 with the ultimate headliners in rock and roll for another year of Britain’s favourite music festival. This year’s festivals will ensure the biggest and best names in the world of rock and roll grace Richfield Avenue and the superb new Bramham Park site for the best weekend of music all summer. As is traditional, a host of exclusive performances and the now traditional rise of band’s that featured on our smaller stages last year reaching greater heights combine with the best new talent and the biggest names to create the best festival bill of the summer of music.


Friday 27th August at The Carling Weekend, Reading Festival

Saturday 28th August at The Carling Weekend, Leeds Festival

Headlining the opening night at the Reading site and landing at Leeds a day later are THE DARKNESS. Having played last year’s event in an enhanced slot as their fame grew, the four flamboyant East Anglian rockers have conquered the UK with their now multi-platinum debut, "Permission to Land" and a string of BRIT and Kerrang awards. Not content with that, Justin and friends are now well on the way to the rare feat for a UK band of convincingly conquering the USA with the album snugly inside the Billboard Hot 100 and sold out shows across the country. These shows are THE ONLY CHANCE to see THE DARKNESS IN ENGLAND AND WALES THISYEAR.

Seven albums and going stronger than ever, THE OFFSPRING return to the festivals in their highest ever billing as unquestionably one of the major forces in US rock. Not content with selling 11 million copies of their "Smash" album and continuing that success with it’s "Inxay on the Hombre" (1997) and "Americana" (1998) follow ups, through their Nitro records label the band have brought The Vandals and AFI to public attention and success. With current album "Splinter" (featuring a sample of the Reading crowd on first track "Neo Con") continuing to please their ever growing fan base and a deserved reputation for amazing live shows, THE OFFSPRING visit the festivals in rude health.

It’s strange to think that ASH have been at the top of their game for ten years. In that decade, the band have laid down the blueprint for how to mature as a rock band without sinking into self satisfaction. Last album "Free All Angels" was seen as a major tour de force and their finest record to date and now ASH are back with new album, "Meltdown", a heavier, darker album but still demonstrating their well known ear for a pop hook. This, their only UK festival performances, will be a great chance to hear those new tracks in all their heavy glory alongside favourites such as "Petrol" and "Girl From Mars" to name but two of their incredible string of hit singles.

Undoubtedly one of the most exciting live bands you will see all weekend, THE HIVES fully understand that rock ‘n’ roll and looking good go hand in hand. Taking their cue from US garage rock but adding in more than a dash of showmanship, some nifty stage moves and bizarre between song banter, THE HIVES saw their star rise on the UK release of their "Your New Favourite Band" album in 2001. A compilation of tracks from their previous Swedish albums, hit singles "Hate to Say I Told You So" and "Repeat Offender" saw the band take nearly ten years of hard graft in Scandinavia into the UK charts in ten minutes and become everyone’s new favourite band. With a new single and a new album scheduled for July, THE HIVES are back to remind you who you really love.



Saturday 28th August at The Carling Weekend, Reading Festival

Sunday 29th August at The Carling Weekend, Leeds Festival

He promised they would come back and, like a true Southern gentleman, Jack White and sister Meg are back. THE WHITE STRIPES come to the festivals as one of the most established rock acts of our times, and the most respected. Only three years from their now legendary performance at Austin’s South by South West brought them to the UK’s attention, the duo have seen most recent album "Elephant" garner world wide acclaim and massive sales alongside incendiary live shows and near hysterical reviews. With new White Stripes music in the pipeline, these performances are a very special headline show and sure to be a key highlight of this year’s festivals.


This is special. This is a show that you must see. This is MORRISSEY. The legend that is MORRISSEY comes to the festivals for the first time at a point when his career is at it’s highest watermark since the long lamented loss of his former band. With a new label, Sanctuary, a new album, "You Are The Quarry" and a new single, "English Blood, Irish Heart", the return of Morrissey to the shores of the UK is a moment to savour. A godhead to a generation of alternative music fans, these very special shows are simply screaming to be the thing to see at this year’s festivals and a sure sign that England’s foremost lyricist of the last twenty years is well and truly home.

It is appropriate that THE LIBERTINES should precede Morrissey. Taking their cue from the hysteria of Smiths and Morrissey shows and putting the Albion back into the UK, THE LIBERTINES have rightly progressed from "most likely to’s" to arguably the most important British band of the moment. Fanatically supported, plagued and blessed by rock and roll stories to shame a Rolling Stone, the band have gone from strength to strength following the release of debut album, "Up the Bracket", last year. With Pete Doherty now firmly back in the fold following well documented troubles and a new album underway, these shows are a chance to see a band rapidly approaching the peak of their powers.

Fighting them all the way for the title of most important British band are FRANZ FERDINAND. Last year, the Franz were on the Carling Stage, this year, in the best of Reading and Leeds traditions, they are on the MAIN STAGE. And well deserved too as the four have had an amazing eight months since that performance. Starting the year with the infectious and near perfect "Take Me Out" single, and garnering their first Top 5, the eponymous debut album completed the set with a Top 5 placing. Their early doors showing on the NME tour turned the whole event on it’s head and the band can’t put enough shows on sale to satisfy demand. With a new single, "Matinee" due on April 19th, Franz Ferdinand may well be the name on everyone’s lips at the end of the weekend.


Sunday 29th August at The Carling Weekend, Reading Festival

Friday 27th August at The Carling Weekend, Leeds Festival

GREEN DAY are a fitting headliner for the final day at the Reading site and the opening day at the Leeds site. One of the most respected and successful alternative bands in the USA alongside fellow Main Stagers The Offspring, GREEN DAY have been a key band for alternative music fans for over ten years. Breakthrough album "Dookie" saw the band establish themselves in the UK with their significant underground following swelling to accommodate the mainstream rock fan with hits "Welcome to Paradise" and "Basket Case". Sure to be one of the busiest shows of the weekend at the front of the crowd, GREEN DAY are the perfect way to open or close the festivals. With a new album due in July the shows are also a chance for fans to hear new tracks alongside a string of hit singles.

50 CENT is the rap sensation of the year and the Carling Weekend, Reading and Leeds Festivals will be his FIRST EVER UK FESTIVAL PERFORMANCES. With debut album "Get Rich or Die Tryin’" and a story that took in being orphaned, building a hugely successful drugs business, getting shot nine times and finding his salvation courtesy of Eminem and Dr Dre in rap, 50 CENT is one of the most controversial and colourful characters rap has seen since his mentor’s days with the infamous NWA. These are sure to be one of the most talked about performances of the festivals and a great opportunity for the UK to see the young pretender make his bid for the rap throne now arch enemy Jay-Z has retired.


Also Playing...

LOSTPROPHETS launched themselves into the public arena in 2001 with debut album "Thefakesoundofprogress" and a hit single of the same name. Hard touring built the band an ever growing fanbase which saw the six lads from Wales Kerrang magazine’s Best New British Band of 2001. New album "Start Something" has already surpassed the 140,000 UK sales of their debut and is fast approaching platinum status. With their new album in the US Billboard Top 30 and acclaim from all quarters in the UK, Lostprophets are at the head of the UK rock scene and these shows are a great chance to catch the band as they reach star status.

Mike Skinner aka THE STREETS is back in the fray this year with new single, the club 18-30 inspired "Fit But You Know It", already commandeering the airwaves and new album "A Grand Don’t Come For Free" set for an imminent release. One of the biggest new names in the UK of recent years, Skinner redefined British urban music with his BRIT and MERCURY nominated debut, uniting disparate music tribes with his wit and invention. "Urban Pirate Material" was a journey through 21st century Britain, the drugs, the arguments, the clothes and the style encapsulated in a record of quite breathtaking scope. All the whispers are that "A Grand Don’t Come For Free" is even better, a more personal but no less intelligent progression from the debut. One way to find out, make sure you see these performances.



THE MAIN STAGE – More great bands, big names and exclusives over the three days

THE RADIO ONE STAGE – The site of last year’s triumphant Polyphonic Spree headline shows, the springboard to the Main Stage for many bands over the year, The Radio One Stage will be back with the best headliners and the hippest names for three days of the next big things.

THE CARLING STAGE – The breeding ground for so many Main Stage performers over the years and the best place to find all the new bands that everyone is talking about. As ever, The Carling Stage will be the first port of call for all festival goers looking for the future of music.

THE DANCE STAGE – Last year, Soulwax in 2 Many DJ’s guise stole the show with a collision of a hundred musical styles and very welcome cocktail waiters and waitresses keeping the crowd refreshed. Also last year, the site of DM (of recent "Grey Album" fame) and Gemini’s first ever UK festival performance the Dance Stage returns with a heady mix of beats, breaks and raps to keep the party rocking.

THE CONCRETE JUNGLE – The festival within a festival returns for it’s third year. Packed from the moment the doors open until the last note ends, The Concrete Jungle is now a mainstay of the festivals and a welcome addition to the festival’s aim to bring the best of all alternative music to you, the masses.

THE COMEDY STAGE – With late night entertainment and all day laughs and cabaret performances, The Comedy Stage has seen Mark Thomas entertain and educate, Sean Lock have everyone questioning their sanity and, the highlight of last year, Dirty Sanchez’s first ever and currently only live performance. Who knows what comes this year, one thing is for sure, it will include a soon to be huge comedian (as ever) and the best cabaret and comedy two fields can contain.


The line-up so far….






The Hives





The Libertines

Franz Ferdinand





Also playing:


The Streets




WEEKEND TICKETS - £105 (subject to booking fee, maximum fee £6.00) Includes car parking and camping

DAY TICKETS - £45 per day (subject to booking fee, maximum fee £5.40) Includes car parking but not camping.



THE CARLING WEEKEND: READING AND LEEDS FESTIVALS - All Mean Fiddler Group venues for cash with no booking fee, 50 pence per ticket booking fee by cheque, £2 booking fee for major credit cards (not Diners or AMEX)

THE CARLING WEEKEND: LEEDS FESTIVAL ONLY – From Gateway Yorkshire, City Station, Leeds for cash with no booking fee.

Also available from all Ticketmaster outlets.


National Credit Card Hotline - 08701 500 044


SMS BOOKINGS (Orange Customers Only)

Text "READING TICKETS or "LEEDS TICKETS" to 07813 895252


Cheques / Postal Orders payable to "Reading Festival Ltd"

Ticket Prices - £105.50 / £45.50 including booking fee (+ £3.75 on overall booking for 4 or more tickets to cover cost of registered post)

Please enclose SAE and DAYTIME PHONE NUMBER. Allow 28 days for delivery.

Send to : READING 2004 OR LEEDS 2004, PO Box 1707, London NW10 4LW

Last date for postal bookings – Cheques 8th August / Postal Orders 19th August (subject to availability)

PLEASE STATE CLEARLY for which festival you require tickets.


Mean Fiddler Information Hotline (Mon – Fri 10am – 6pm) 020 8963 0940

Recorded Information Hotline (Orange Users) 177

Recorded Information Hotline (Other networks: network rates apply) 07973 100177

National Credit Card Hotline 08701 500044

National Rail 08457 48 49 50

National Express 08705 80 80 80




As broadcast partners, Radio 1 will be broadcasting live from the Leeds site for the very first time. The Leeds event is now in its sixth year and has firmly established itself as the sister festival to Reading featuring an incredible swap round of bills over the three days. Radio 1 wanted to represent this part of the festival fully to its listeners and so across the weekend shows including Jo Whiley will be setting themselves up backstage with a ton of special guests and exclusive live performances from artists appearing at Leeds. The Radio 1 stage will be playing host to the bands that have mattered to Radio 1 listeners over the last year and the station will be recording live music for a Lamacq Live special on the Monday after the festival.



For the 6th year running Carling once again show their continued commitment to live music by supporting new and emerging talent performing on The Carling Stage, traditionally the best collection of breaking talent the world has to offer and often the first step for many bands on their way to the Main Stage. Historically the Carling Stage has seen Muse, Elbow, Turin Brakes and Cooper Temple Clause make their first appearances and has continued to prove that this is the starting place for the talent of the future. 2003 saw rising stars Franz Ferdinand, Keane, The Stills and Longview play on the Carling Stage proving once again it’s the best place to see the hottest new bands destined to become the next big thing.


Orange, the UK’s favourite network operator, returns to The Carling Weekend:Reading and Leeds Festivals, for the 5th year as the official Digital Communications Partner,and is working to ensure festival-goers are kept informed, recharged and in touch on-site at the event.
Keep up to date ahead of the festival with all the latest line-up and festival news by going to the Music Channel on Orange World, the Orange WAP portal, where you will also be able to sign up for exclusive free Reading and Leeds text updates direct to your handset.
Or check out all the latest festival news, as well as keep track of the weather and traffic conditions by dialing 177 (07973 100177 all other networks) to listen to the Official Festival Information Line.



The NME signing tent will once again be the place to be at this year’s Carling Weekend, Reading and Leeds festival. Giving music fans the chance to meet their favorite bands, the signing tent is well-known as one of the most rock n’ roll places to hang out at the festival. A huge success with festival goers in 2003, the NME signing tent saw queues stretching across both sites as fans assembled for autographs from many of the headline acts including Sum 41, Linkin Park, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Blink 182 and Good Charlotte.

Some of the more outrageous antics from 2003 include a legendary five hour queue for Sum 41, Blink 182 signing a fans testicle and fans being dragged from the crowd for a Yeah Yeah Yeah’s photoshoot.

Conor McNicholas, editor, NME said: "The NME signing tent is a mind blowing experience for both the fans and the bands. Being face to face with their favourite bands really makes the festival special. Each year the queues just get bigger and the signing requests more bizarre – definitely an experience not to be missed!"



For the first time at Reading Festival, AOL Broadband will be streaming online the main stage footage during the three day event. There will be also be a Sessions@AOL tent backstage where many artists will play exclusive acoustic sessions as well as being interviewed. These performances, as well as the footage of the main stage, will be available for AOL members to enjoy on demand in the weeks following the festival.

AOL members will have the opportunity to win a chance to visit the backstage Sessions@AOL tent so that they can enjoy a private concert of their favourite bands.