Reading 2011 was an epic corroboration of musical collaboration, mud-fuelled chaos, social disorder and debauched revelry. Standard.
The grimiest, most uncensored British festival of all, Reading is as revered for its crowds as it is for its line-ups. Kicking-off Friday night’s torrential downpore of rain soaked action was all American rejects the awesome Offspring, who opened their set paying ode to the thousands of seasoned fans, many of whom will have witnessed them play for the first time when they appeared on the same stage over ten years ago. Without levering time to get into bad habits, the crowd moved quickly onwards to SBTRKT and The Horrors. Providing the kind of anarchy anyone would be deplored to not enjoy, spirits were sky high as the three day extravaganza of non-stop action unravelled at full throttle.
OFWGKTA, Jimmy Eat World, Big Deal, Best Coast, Rizzle Kicks, The National, Muse, Interpol and Cults all played incredible sets, providing a wholly eclectic array of highlights that kept everyone on their toes. The action was thick and fast; The Streets took their final bow; My Chemical Romance rocked out with living legend and i-Con Mr Brian May; The Strokes were joined by Jarvis Cocker for a cover of The Cars’ Just What I Needed and 2manydjs ended the entire festival with an incredible mash-up of all killer and no filler audio and visuals from Loops of Fury, MGMT, Crookers & Savage Skulls, Boys Noize & Erol Alkan, Chaka Khann, Van Halen and Motorhead to name just a few (PHEW!).
The whirlwind of audio perfection was outstanding, when the crowds dispersed and the traditional trashing of the tents seemed imminent, spillover tension from recent rioting was palpable. Breaths were held but it seemed people were keener to enjoy all the fun of the fairground and indulge in a shuffle in the silent disco. A success indeed full of kind vibes and safe ravers, roll on 2012!
Text and Photography: Milly McMahon