Reading & Leeds Festival is a three day music event which takes place over the August bank holiday at two locations: Bramham Park, Leeds and Little John’s Farm on Richfield Avenue, Reading.
The festival originally started life as only one festival: Reading Festival, which was in fact a jazz festival at the beginning, and was founded by Harold Pendleton in 1961. Reading Festival only became established in 1971, while Leeds Festival was not built until 1999.
The music at Reading and Leeds Festival was focused on hard rock and metal until the 1980s, when the music policy would change forever, and a more mainstream rock and indie policy was adopted. The change in music direction proved to be the turning point for the fortunes of Harold Pendleton and he was dismissed from his job following many disgruntled fans, unhappy with the change.
In the 1980s, after losing the war with Thatcher’s Britain and being banned from using the festival site, thankfully Labour returned to power in 1986 and granted permission for the site to be used again.
The festival began to cement the foundations to become one of the most eagerly awaited fixtures on the festival calendar, and after the initial problems of the late 1980s, the Reading and Leeds line up become more consistent and attracted the likes of punk rockers Green Day, Linkin Park, Metallica, Guns N' Roses and Kings of Leon to play on the main stage.
The 1990s saw the construction of Leeds Festival and the emergence of Reading & Leeds Festival as a two site operation. The capacity for both festivals has grown steadily each year and with over 70,000 people attending both events, Reading and Leeds Festival tickets have been quick to sell out year on year.
Leeds and Reading Festival has become one of the most popular festivals, with previous headliners such as Nirvanas’ infamous stage appearance in the early 1990s, The Rolling Stones in the early 1960s, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses, New Order and My Chemical Romance in 2011.