We need to talk about The Reading Festival (a reminisce)

Well what a difference a week makes. Actually, scrap that; this week is nigh on identical to last except that literally hundreds of people have rallied around me and voted for my track in a competition to play Reading! There is (just about) still time to vote so CLICK THESE CAPITALS and enforce your originality. It would be phenomenal if I somehow break the concepts of physics and reality and actually win! Of course, for that to happen I’d need 900 votes in about 10 hours so it’s pretty improbable. That said Hunck managed to double their vote tally in a shorter time. Still, I feel honoured to have been considered in the first place! You see, I love Reading. I love it immensely. Most music fans flit around Glastonbury like doped up moths and proclaim it the greatest of festivals. Sure, there is so much beyond the music happening at Glasto and it is so huge that you can’t deny it greatest status. Yet for me, Reading is better for music. It’s just so gritty and youthful and loud and smutty. Though you should realise that I am, obviously, incredibly biased as I didn’t ‘get’ Glastonbury until later and was heavily into Alternative Rock/Metal as a youth. There was something about whiney Americans that resonated with a comfortable little Englishman, they understood all my imaginary pain and entitled angst.

To be honest, that’s probably the main reason why I entered Relentless’ Here To be Heard competition; the festival has such a romantic place in my memory that by playing it I would have achieved some minor circularity. The festival that awakened my major desire to perform also being the one that supplied my first major performance. Who knows, maybe it still will and on that day I will look out at the people and revert to my naïve 16 year old self. How could you not want to see that! Anyways, I digress. My first trip to Reading was with my older sister who was (and is) one of my main musical pillars growing up; she’d actually been to a Wheatus concert and I respected her when she suggested we go see Incubus on the Friday. She could also drive which saved a whole logistical nightmare (and freed us up for late night McDonalds). So we entered and I saw a Faith No More t-shirt immediately followed by a Mr. Bungle one and knew I belonged. We then pretty much camped out the main stage for a couple of hours as Hundred Reasons made way for Puddle of Mudd (who I appear to have blocked from memory). NOFX then over-ran before Incubus delivered a really disappointing set. Still, it was still mega. I had been bitten hard.

Next year we returned with the younger sib who felt left out last time. It was still mega though only two things spring to mind; 1) running from Hot Hot Heat to see System of a Down and 2) the biggest bottle fight I’d ever see. But all that paled into significance the following year where almost everyone I knew descended on the camp for a post-secondary school blast of hedonism. It was beyond words. I’d recount all the japes here (such as Ally’s Magical Mystery Tour, Phil’s choice of camp, The Walking Tent etc.) but then I’d have nothing left to hold close and keep me warm at night. I will say that for some reason beyond logic we were singing The Rasmus eternally and I got into a heated discussion with one of my friends over who was better in the Rahzel/Patton team up. A discussion that continues to this day, each of us immobile in our positions and adamant the other wrong.

                           Patton. Obviously.

Though all that said; all the deep seated happiness and belonging thoughts of Reading bring to me; I don’t regret not doing better in this vote. I just think of Julien temple’s Glastonbury film (which is brilliant) and the saddest thing I ever saw. A man in his mid thirties all packed and ready to begin the – as he puts it – one weekend a year that he can be himself. I want to play so badly but nothing will change if I don’t. I will still be me, living as myself every bloody second that comes my way. It’s got me this far.


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