With no Glastonbury Festival this year, the Reading & Leeds Festivals are set to pick up the slack with a mind-blowing mash-up of world-famous stars and up-and-coming artists bouncing between the two sites over the 2012 August Bank Holiday weekend.
This year’s line-up is unrivalled by that of any other UK festival, with mammoth headliners and stacks of quality bill-fillers looking set to make Reading and Leeds 2012 one of the most memorable events in live music history – not only for indie fans, but also for dance heads, moshers and emos alike.
Check out our PAAM volunteer management preview to Reading and Leeds 2012, and make sure you pack your festival schedule with sensation.
Reading Festival Friday / Leeds Festival Saturday…
First up are the bands that’ll be performing at the 2012 Reading Festival on the Friday and the 2012 Leeds Festival on the Saturday…
Clearly needing no introduction, The Cure is the undisputed showstopper of this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival weekend. Having only appeared at Reading and Leeds once before in 1979, their long-overdue return is set to get Reading’s Richfield Avenue ‘avin it on Friday and Leeds’ Bramham Park bouncing on Saturday. The band’s sound-bending index of moody pop songs has earned them a worldwide fan base and both critical and commercial success, so don’t miss your chance to see these legendary icons live.
Also doing the Reading to Leeds Main Stage swap on Friday and Saturday is Grammy-nominated sensation Paramore. Having last come to the UK in 2010 on a sell-out tour that ended at the O2 Arena, this upbeat emo-rock three-piece is back for its only UK festival appearance of the year. With all the hits from their multi-million selling platinum third album Brand New Eyes, the classics and some new offerings, these picture-perfect performers, fronted by spunky redhead Hayley Williams, offer much more than just staggering stage presence and glamorous good looks.
Set to be one of the most talked about sets of the weekend, Crystal Castles promises to excite and enthral both festival sites with their off-the-wall experimental electric offerings. With inspired collaborations with The Cure’s Robert Smith and two cult albums under their belts, power-duo Alice Glass and Ethan Kath will, as usual, refuse to compromise on their own brand of chaos and charisma.
Back with a spanking-new, critically-acclaimed and best-selling album Given To The Wild, south London boys The Maccabees will be headlining the NME/Radio 1 Stage on Friday at the 2012 Reading Festival and Saturday at the 2012 Leeds Festival. Having already sold out the Brixton Academy so far this year, the poster boys of indie-rock promise to impress.
Lee Nelson’s Well Good Party
For a light-hearted break from all things serious, be sure to catch chavtastic cockney Lee Nelson at the Alternative Stage on Friday or Saturday. Packed with dubious life lessons, relentless ribbing and the musical madness that is ‘The Petebox’, this concoction of comedy and creativity has been forged exclusively for the Reading and Leeds Festival crowd.
Reading Festival Saturday / Leeds Festival Sunday…
Headlining at Reading on Saturday and Leeds on Sunday are Leicester legends Kasabian. One of the biggest success stories in modern Britrock, these festival funboys will serve up a series of stomp-along anthems, including Empire, Club Foot and Fire. Having seen unstoppable success since their self-titled 2004 album all the way up to their latest UK Number-One collection Velociraptor, this ballsy band will be the hedonistic highlight for many this year.
Florence and the Machine
Currently smashing an epic UK arena tour, haunting indie-soul siren Florence and the Machine gets the second-from-top bill placing on the Reading to Leeds, Saturday to Sunday swap. After bagging the BRIT Critics’ Choice Award in 2009, the collaboratively-backed, female-fronted band has become a household name in-between snapping up NME Awards and wowing with UK Number-One album Ceremonials. Compared to the likes of Kate Bush, PJ Harvey and Björk, singer-songwriter Florence Welch is no doubt one of the most talented women in modern music.
Moshpit-makers Enter Shikari will have the Reading and Leeds Main Stage crowds going crazy to their hardcore punk and breakbeat techno mash-up on Saturday and Sunday. With their latest album A Flash Flood of Colour crashing into the UK Top Five in a flurry of critical acclaim, the boys of bounce now have the sales figures to back up their fearsome reputation as one of the best live acts of the decade.
At the Drive-In
After legendary post-hardcore band At the Drive-In broke up in 2001 following the release of their phenomenal The Relationship of Command album, many fans of this El Paso five-piece thought it was the end of an era. But the NME/Radio 1 Stage is playing the time machine at the 2012 Reading and Leeds Festival, bringing back this peer-revered band and their chaotic but intelligent, almost-forgotten genre. This will be At the Drive-In’s only UK festival performance and probably one of the last times they will ever play together, so don’t miss your chance to see history revisited.
Headlining the Dance Stage on Saturday at Reading and Sunday at Leeds is Mercury-nominated instrumental and vocal electronic gurus Metronomy. With their signature light-up t-shirts, dance routines and summer-style pop playlist from 2011 hit album The English Riviera, this is sure to be a show to remember and cherish.
Winner of NME’s Best Dancefloor Anthem for her hit single Broken Record, genre-merging songstress Katy B will bring her UK dubstep/R&B/house/garage fest to the Dance Stage this year. This BRIT School graduate is set to be fun, funky and fresh, further securing her place as one of the country’s best-loved dance divas.
Following a controversially-foulmouthed rise to fame with YouTube runaway hit 212, American rapstar Azealia Banks will treat the Reading and Leeds Festival dance crowd to a sneak preview of her debut Broke With Expensive Taste album, not due out until September. Topping this year’s NME Cool List and the BBC Sound Of 2012 poll, this ultra-rugged, non-nonsense ninja is the hottest honey of 2012.
Leeds Festival Friday / Reading Festival Sunday
Last but not least its time for the bands that’ll be performing at the 2012 Leeds Festival on the Friday and the 2012 Reading Festival on the Sunday…
No matter how big they get, it seems headlining heavyweights Foo Fighters will always have a place in their hearts for Reading and Leeds revellers. Appearing at Leeds on Friday and Reading on Sunday, these world-renowned rockers will give The Cure a run for their money with a back catalogue of mind-boggling proportions and recent hits from Wasting Light, which reached Number-One in 12 countries. Headed by rock royalty Dave Grohl, the boisterous band has never been far from the stage since first appearing at Reading Festival in 1995.
The Black Keys
Glam rock revival college dropouts The Black Keys will bring their bluesy garage rock to this year’s Leeds to Reading, Friday to Sunday shift. This understated but undeniably-talented Ohio duo has taken the long road to success since first forming in 2001 and relentlessly gigging in underground clubs until their breakthrough 2010 album Brothers. Now having sold more than a million copies of their latest offering El Camino, this longsuffering and hardworking band is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Dubbed the “the band of the year” by Reading and Leeds organisers, The Black Keys are not to be missed in their only festival performance of 2012.
Bullet For My Valentine
Welsh modern metalheads Bullet For My Valentine rank high in the heavy stakes of this year’s line-up. With Iron Maiden, Matallica and Slayer among their influences, these festival favourites have enjoyed huge success in both the UK and the US since their founding in 1998. The fearsome foursome is sure to rock your socks off with aggressive riffs and catchy vocals from their three uncompromising, hard and heavy albums.
For the sing-along of the century, be sure to catch Kaiser Chiefs on Friday at Leeds Festival and Sunday at Reading Festival. These loveable Leeds lads, headed by serial showboater Ricky Wilson, are always fun to watch, thanks to their made-for-festivals favourites, including effervescent anthems Oh My God, Ruby, I Predict a Riot and The Angry Mob. Back from a two-year break with last year’s fifth album The Future is Medieval, this British institution has both staying power and style.
The View is guaranteed to get the Festival Republic Stage jumping on Friday and Sunday with their upbeat and universally-loved indie rock-pop. Due to release a highly-anticipated new album this summer after the Number-One debut hit Hats Off To The Buskers, these Dundee dudes will be lively and loveable as always.
Of course, this Reading and Leeds Festival Guide guide doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all there is to enjoy in this year’s magical musical medley, and no matter how many hints and tips we give you, there’s always more to see. The enigmatic Modestep, Jaguar Skills and Zinc from True Playaz are also set to impress on the Dance Stage, while Feeder, We Are Augustines and Sleigh Bells are perhaps the biggest names gracing the Festival Republic Stage that haven’t been covered here. The Alternative Stage will also play host to funnymen Dave Twentyman and Chris Ramsey, as well as Popcorn Comedy and Chris Shepherd, and there are also countless up-and-coming bands and comedians appearing at some of the smaller stages through the weekend. No matter how hard you try, you will never catch all the big guns, so take our advice and save some time and energy for a few of the headliners of tomorrow.