Nothing says summer like a music festival, and Reading Festival is without a doubt one of the best of the bunch. Attracting more than 100,000 festival goers each year, this iconic music festival is one of the largest in the UK and one of the oldest popular music festivals that is still running to this day.
It started in 1961 as the National Jazz Festival, and over the years it slowly became more and more focused on rock. These days, Reading Festival has over 10 stages and music tents, which see more than 200 bands, artists, DJs and comedians from around the world perform over the three-day festival. Highlights over the years have included Arctic Monkeys, Nirvana, Björk and Radiohead.
The music festival takes place every year over the August bank holiday weekend, and it’s the perfect way to see out the summer with your friends. Find out more about the festival, including how to get there, where to stay in and around the festival, and what to expect from the three-day event.
Where is Reading Festival?
Reading Festival is held on Richfield Avenue, in central Reading. It takes place on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the bank holiday weekend at the end of August, with camping available from the Thursday (or Wednesday with an early entry pass) to the Monday.
How do I get to Reading Festival?
Thanks to its handy location near to the town centre, the best way to get to Reading Festival is by train. The roads in and out of Reading get very busy over this weekend, so avoid queues by jumping on a South Western Railway service instead.
Trains to Reading Festival
The nearest station to Reading Festival is Reading station, which is just a 15-minute walk from the festival grounds. There are also shuttle buses and taxis available to take you to the festival entrance if you have a lot of heavy camping equipment in tow.
It goes without saying that the main draw to Reading Festival is its incredible annual line up of bands and artists, but beyond that there’s so much more to see and do while you’re at the festival, from comedy and cinema to a funfair and more.
Check out the festival’s first-timers guide if you’re making your Reading Festival debut, or check out our top 10 festival tips to ensure everything goes smoothly. Explore the range of tickets on offer, including day and weekend tickets, early entry passes and luxury camping options.
Line ups and music
With some of the biggest names from across the globe playing each year, Reading Festival should be at the top of every music lover’s bucket list. We’ve already mentioned some of the musical highlights from over the years, but other’s include Pink Floyd, Oasis, Kings of Leon and The 1975. This year’s headliners are Stormzy, Post Malone and Liam Gallagher, with dozens of other artists big and small performing over the three days. Check out this year’s full line up to start planning your schedule.
Comedy and cinema
Take a break from rocking out and head to the Alternative tent to watch some amazing stand-up comedy. Over the years, famous comedians such as Josh Widdecombe, Bridget Christine and Joel Dommett have taken to the stage, and the comedy offerings seem to get better and better each year.
On top of that, there’s a cinema tent showing films until late on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Previous screenings have included Bohemian Rhapsody, Deadpool and Avengers, so get yourself down here for a chilled-out end to the night.
Whether you prefer whirling on a Waltzer or driving a dodgem, you’re never too old to enjoy a funfair. Take a ride on the Ferris wheel during the daytime for a panoramic view of the site, or head there at night when the rides are lit up in dazzling colours and the atmosphere is truly electric.
Food and drinks
With all the dancing you’ll be doing, you’ll soon work up an appetite. Every year there’s a range of food stalls to choose from, serving up delicious grub morning, noon and night, so you and your group can take your pick from burgers stalls, pie stands, snack stalls and more.
You can bring your own food (for personal consumption) into the Arena, as well as sealed bottled water up to 500ml and empty bottles to refill at the free water points. While you can bring your own alcohol into the campsites, you can’t take this into the Arena with you, but there are of course plenty of drinks tents for you to grab a pint of whatever takes your fancy throughout the day.
If you want a break from the crowds before re-joining them for the evening entertainment, then you’ll find a range of nearby eateries offsite serving up breakfast and lunch, including The Collective Caversham, The Gorge Café and Richfields Deli & Grill.
Places to stay in and around Reading Festival
For the full festival experience, nothing beats pitching a tent and camping for the weekend. Choose the Camping Plus option to enjoy luxury facilities or the Pink Moon Luxury Camping option for a glamping experience. You can also bring your campervan or caravan.
If canvas isn’t for you, book a budget-friendly stay at Premier Inn Reading Caversham Bridge or EasyHotel Reading, both just 5-10 minutes’ walk from the festival, or for a truly luxurious stay, check out Garrard House and Mercure George Hotel Reading.
Reading Festival accessibility
From accessible campsites and travel around the site to accessible viewing platforms and toilets, the Reading Festival team want to ensure that all festival goers have a great time. Find out more about accessibility at the festival.