Last weekend saw the weekend of Reading & Leeds Festival 2016. I was able to attend the full time at Reading, and see many of my favourite bands. I thought I would look back on my time there, and go over some of my favourites.

I’ll start by talking about the Friday of the festival; when I got to see one of my favourite bands, Foals. Having missed most of their secret set last year, I was excited upon learning they would be co-headlining the first night of the festival along with Disclosure.

There had always been some controversy as to whether the band are big enough to headline, and after seeing the turnout, I’m not particularly surprised. The crowd was smaller than you would expect from a headline act, yet it was clearly filled with people who love their music, which made the experience far more intimate – and at the end of the day… that’s what matters! Closing their set with an encore of What Went Down, Cassius and Two Steps, Twice – where they were even joined by Disclosure’s Guy Lawrence – this set will always be one to remember.

The Saturday of Reading had always been the decider for me, with Slaves, Blossoms, and The Chili’s being just some of the acts performing. It was also the day I would be seeing The Courteeners, who are one of my all-time favourites. As usual, the band put on quite a show, opening with Why Are You So In Love With A Notion? and following on with numerous bangers including their (then) latest single The 17th and Bide Your Time which is an absolute festival anthem, sure to get a crowd going. The vibes from the crowd were vibrant and rowdy, something you would expect from any Courteeners set; with smoke bombs, and people on shoulders everywhere you looked.


One of the downfalls to festivals, is that there do come times where acts you want to see are playing different stages at the same time. This year, was a clash which caused me a lot of deliberation; Red Hot Chili Peppers and Two Door Cinema Club.

I had always wanted to see Two Door, since first hearing their Tourist History album, so I was determined not to miss it. Much to my luck, the Chili’s set started an hour before this, meaning I was able to stay just long enough to appreciate the american funk-rock band perform classics such as Dani California, Can’t Stop, and Scar Tissue.

I then headed over to the Radio 1/NME tent, to see the Irish trio perform the likes of This Is The Life, Something Good Can Work, and their latest single Are We Ready (Wreck). These tunes are always sure to excite the crowd, and this performance only heightened fans’ expectations for their next album Gameshow in October this year.


The Vaccines were another highlight for me. Having seen them once before in Plymouth, I had high expectations for their set, and they certainly didn’t let me down. Performing on the Sunday evening, their setlist included numerous anthems. From Teenage Icon and Bad Mood, to Wetsuit and Post-Break Up Sex.  We mustn’t of course forget their latest album, English Graffiti of which they played a number of tracks from, including; Dream Lover, Minimal Affection and 20/20. 

DMA’s were another stand-out act for me, playing the Festival Republic Stage on the Sunday evening. For a small-ish band – who only released their debut album 6 months ago – the turnout was relatively big, and when they closed with tracks Lay Down and Delete it was clear just how big this band are getting, and they sure deserve it.

My final act of the weekend were The 1975, a band who know exactly how to get a show going. Headlining the Radio 1/NME Tent, and bringing a colourful closure to my weekend. The bands set included expected tracks such as Girls, Chocolate, UGH! and The Sound, slowing down the tempo in areas, when they performed tracks such as If I Believe You, and Change of Heart. Frontman Matty Healy even told the crowd:

“I don’t know what the future holds, but I can promise you two things. One: we’re gonna go away and make another record. Two: we’re gonna come back and we’re gonna fucking headline Reading, I fucking promise you.”

He has since come back and admitted to NME that he was “Pissed and talking shit” when these comments were made. Nonetheless, the band sure know how to get a crowd bopping, and as usual the stage set aesthetics were absolutely on point. (Also, if you are to make another record Matty, please make sure the title’s a bit shorter).



Some of my other favourites from the weekend included The Wombats, Skindred (although they aren’t usually my thing), and Slaves, who are always sure to put on a good show. If you have any opinions or questions about my time at the festival, don’t hesitate to comment!

Written by: Emily Pugh | @emilypugh_