The good, the Bhad and the ugly
Anna Smith and Shannon Cotton
15:08 28th August 2018

So that's it for another year, Reading Festival 2018 has been and gone. And while we're still washing off the remenants of Richfield Avenue we thought we should share what we have learnt from this year's event in 18 concise points. 

1. Bring Me The Horizon are ready to headline

If we've learned one thing this weekend it's that people do in fact 'wanna start a cult' with Oli Sykes and co. Posters galore and a crowd the size of the entire BBC Radio 1 tent, the Main Stage doesn’t seem too out of reach next year.

(Photo by Patrick Gunning)

2. We’re very excited for the King Nun EP

Who would have thought that by 3pm on the Festival Republic Stage on the Friday at Reading we would have already discovered our new favourite band? Hailing from London, the grunge bite that King Nun possess filters through their discography with ferocious aplomb - and the new songs aren’t sounding too bad either, roll on their EP. 

(Photo by Patrick Gunning)

3. IAMDDB is the voice of a new generation 

She’s got the voice, she’s got the killer songs, she sings about Uber and since spending six months in Africa immersing herself in a culture of jazz, is totally woke. Need I say more? Between showcasing her soulful vocals on stage, she speaks with a humble Mancunian tinge.

(Photo by Patrick Gunning)

4. Big Shaq is no joke

Playing to a crowd at midday on the Friday, with energy rivalled only by that of the Brockhampton crowd, Big Shaq has a platform that he could do great things with. But realistically nobody wants him to do that, we just want to hear ‘Man’s Not Hot’.

(Photo by Ben McQuaide)

5. SWMRS are on fire 

SWMRS are single-handedly keeping punk alive. Well, not really, but they’re giving it a damn good go. New song ‘Berkley’s on Fire’ is potentially the most infectious release of 2018 so far. Don’t just take our word for it though, give it a spin and immerse yourself in the Californian band’s world. 

(Photo by Ben McQuaide)

6. Batten down the hatches, The Blinders are an almighty force to be reckoned with.

Fusing a highly distinguished guitar sound with acute social commentary, The Blinders proved their worth when they headlined the BBC Introducing stage on Friday. Still captivating the crowd with their primal stage presence, even in the torrential rain, we hope this is a stepping stone to an even bigger slot next year. 

(Photo by Patrick Gunning)

7. Barns Courtney made his own stage

Got a song to promote but you’re not actually billed to play Reading? Just do what Barns Courtney did and make your own stage. “I wasn’t allowed to play Reading this year for strategic big wig I created the very important and impressive Barns Courtney Stage,” the singer boasted on social media. Now we can’t wait to see who plays the Barns Courtney Stage next year. 


A post shared by Barns Courtney (@barnscourtney) on

8. We’re all emo on the inside 

We only needed one pop-punk saviour this weekend, but Reading gave us about five. Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco and Papa Roach among them, proving that the kids love screaming the words to ‘Scars’ just as much as they do to anything of Kendrick’s.

(Photo by Ben McQuaide)

9. Wolf Alice are the perfect band to propose to

A big congratulations to Hannah and Katie who got engaged during Wolf Alice’s headline BBC Radio 1 Stage set on the Friday. After watching her scream ‘yes’ down the microphone during the band's enchancting set, we totally haven’t re-watched it online and cried. Totally.

(Photo by Ben McQuaide)

10. Pretty Vicious are back

Just days after our exclusive video premiere, Welsh quartet Pretty Vicious cemented their return with a triumphant appearance on the Festival Republic Stage. With more fierce grit and determination than most their age, their blistered their way through new single ‘Move’ as well as revisiting tracks like ‘Cave Song’ and ‘National Plastics’. 

(Photo by Sam Nahirny)

11. BROCKHAMPTON are redefining the term ‘boyband'

Since releasing their debut Saturation only just over a year ago, Kevin Abstract and his collective of creatives have released two more albums, totalling at three over the space of six months. A feat previously unthinkable by the average boyband. Let’s just revel in continuing to watch them grow and grow.

(Photo by Sam Nahirny)

12. Mike Shinoda can do no wrong

Tugging at all the right heart strings and gracing the main stage with the most glitteringly genuine smile we’ve ever seen, Mike Shinoda is a man who can do no wrong. Performing perhaps the most emotional set of the whole weekend, he strikes the perfect balance between doe eyed and poignant.

13. Panic! At The Disco were never really a band

Would Saturday’s co-headline slot have been any different if Panic! At The Disco were still a band? Absolutely not. Brendon is magnetic, explosive and a bona fide showman through and through. RE: whoever threw that infamous bottle that knocked him out cold at Reading in 2006 – who's laughing now?

(Photo by Ben McQuaide)

14. Sam Fender is challenging toxic masculinity

Tackling a taboo subject, Sam Fender’s new track ‘Dead Boys’ is about male suicide. Sandwiched in between a flurry of thought provoking and socially challenging songs, the rendition offers one of the most poignant moments of the weekend before building up to a ethereal crescendo. 

(Photo by Sam Nahirny)

15. Reading loves an internet star

Do you know your Big Shaq from your Bhad Bhabie? Reading Festival was rife this year with a plethora of stars from the online world. Big Shaq opened the Main Stage to one of the biggest crowds of the weekend, before Jimothy Lacoste owned the BBC Radio 1 Dance Tent. But the most anticipated appearance from the weekend has to be awarded to Bhad Bhabie. The 15 year old (yes, 15!) went viral when she announced "Cash Me Outside Howbow Dah” on Dr Phil in the US and the rest is internet history. 

(Photo by Sam Nahirny)

16. Circle pits are not limited to just inside the tent

It’s definitely not the first time he’s done it, but Frank Carter likes to consistently remind us that he’s THE definitive hardcore act to be reckoned with. How many other artists could get the entire crowd circling the tent at full speed mid set? I’m willing to go as far as saying maybe not even Big Shaq.

17. Courteeners manage to dissolve the north/south divide for an hour

Uniting the north and the south with a harmonious chant of, “you’re not nineteen forever, pull yourself together,” and the odd flare thrown in for good measure, Courteeners' sub-headline slot on Sunday evening riled the crowd up just enough in time for Kings of Leon’s closing set. 

(Photo by Ben McQuaide)

18. We’re batting for Sports Team

Putting on a belting headline performance on the BBC Introducing stage on the final night of the festival, Harlesden’s Sports Team draw a sizeable crowd as they showcase their stash of indie rock gems. We're big fans.

(Photo by Sam Nahirny)

Photo: Ben McQuaide, Patrick Gunning and Sam Nahirny