The Reading festival began in 1960 as a spin off from the National jazz and Blues Festival. The Rolling Stones and The Who were among the first of the bands to play on its stage. The event was enormous and continued more or less annually until 1976, when it all just seemed to fade out.
Mean Fiddler, the festival promotion company that supports Glastonbury amongst many other events, took Reading festival under its wing and transformed it into an immensely popular event that hosted the wonders of New Order, Jesus Jones and The Sugarcubes whilst they were at the peak of their success.
The years of the festival progressed to a more diverse, encompassing status. John Peel made a welcome comeback, after being scared off by the ‘strictly rock’ vibe of the previous years.
Grunge heroes Nirvana played the main stage in 1992- a concert that proved to be their last. Scandal has always been at the forefront of Reading festival, being host to shockers like the clash between The Prodigy and The Beastie Boys. Supporting the changing flavours of the poignant eras of British music, from grunge to emerging dance acts, Reading established itself as a bona fide place to watch both old and new acts doing what they do best.
In 1999, Reading festival spawned a sister site in Leeds where the bands would play the same line in both locations on alternating days. With more than a little help from sponsor gargantuan Carling, the festival was turned into the ‘Carling Weekend’. The festival grew in capacity and ticket prices rocketed, but the northern festival-junkies were so happy that they didn’t have to travel the length of the country for a good time, they probably didn’t care. More and more exclusive bands began to play the stages, with 2004 seeing the faces of both older trustworthy grunge in the shape of Green Day and the newer yet phenomenal The Darkness.