Monday 26 August – Reading and Leeds 2019 saw 200,000 festival fans indulge in outstanding sets from The 1975, Post Malone, Twenty One Pilots and Foo Fighters and hundreds of the world’s best artists, bands, DJs and comedians. Reading and Leeds Festivals 2020 tickets will be on sale Tuesday 27 August at midday.
The 1975 made history with their spellbinding visuals as well as unreleased music from their highly anticipated next album ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ and an incredible first live performance of their newly released single ‘People’. “There’s not enough time for the universe”, frontman Matty Healy declared, as he used his performance to shout about the shocking impact of climate devastation. Before the finale kicked off, their collaboration with environmental activist Greta Thunberg, ‘The 1975’ was played out, with the words of her very important essay highlighted across the Main Stage screens as a call to action, urging all in attendance to make a change.
Post Malone and Twenty One Pilots returned to Reading on Saturday and Leeds on Sunday. Post Malone returned to the festivals this year with headline status. Undeniably one of the hottest acts in the world right now, Posty topped off his performance with the rockstar ritual of smashing his guitar on stage. Twenty One Pilots played an epic set; after making their entrance by striding in front of a car completely engulfed in flames, duo Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun were also joined by fellow headliner Post Malone for an emotionally charged crowd singalong of ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ in Leeds.
Foo Fighters made their grand return to Richfield Avenue and Bramham Park pulling out all the stops and delving into an epic back catalogue spanning twenty five years of hits. The rock legends had crowds singing along from the first line of opener ‘Pretender’, and not stopping until the final bars of ‘Everlong’ which saw them close an unforgettable weekend of music in incredible style at Reading. In Leeds Dave Grohl’s daughter Violet joined the band on stage to duet with her Dad on an emotional version of ‘My Hero’.As is customary with any Foo Fighters gig, Taylor Hawkins swapped his drumsticks for microphone with Dave taking his vacant stool for a cover of Bowie/ Queen’s Under Pressure, during which a fan dressed as Freddie Mercury was plucked from the crowd to join the band on stage. Grohl recounted fond memories of playing the festival over the years, thanking the fans for their loyalty for over two decades. The band were also joined on stage by Rick Astley.
The world’s most exciting pop sensation Billie Eilish brought her number one award-winning album ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ to the stage with a huge hits-filled performance. Fans went wild as she opened her set with ‘Bad Guy’, a thumping pop belter which instantly had the crowd bouncing. Making what’s undoubtedly a historic Reading and Leeds Festival debut, her powerful, energetic performance kept fans utterly mesmerised throughout.
Brody Dalle and her American punk rock band The Distillers played their first UK show in 15 years on the main stage, and were reunited with drummer Andy Granelli. Grammy award winning Anderson Paak and The Free Nationals wowed the crowd with a stunning, energetic performance showcasing his genre-defying versatility.
The BBC Radio 1 Stage once again proved one of the festival’s most thrilling destinations with performances from 2019 Brit Award nominee Mabel, chart-topping four piece Bastille and 21 year-old rapper Dave. Those looking to dance spent their weekend at the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage where electronic duo Camelphat, Andy C, Denis Sulta and Becky Hill took to the stage with sets that kept the crowd moving from beginning to end. The BBC 1Xtra Stage was jam-packed with headline sets from BBC Sound of 2019 winner Octavian who was joined by special guest Skepta as his set drew to a close, Hackney-born rapper and singer Not3s brought his signature Afrobeat sound and the one and only Dappy drew fans in with no less than a high octane set bursting with energy.
The Pit and The Lock Up was a one stop shop for all things rock, metal and punk, with Bowling For Soup, Ghostemane, Enter Shikari (who also played the Main Stage earlier in the day), The Maine, Pup and Of Mice and Men playing alongside upcoming talent like Press Club, Plague Vendor and Queen Zee.
Forever championing new talent, the BBC Introducing Stage remains the best place to catch the most exciting emerging artists, this year saw the indie-pop masters Marsicans, raspy-voiced rock artist LION and raucous grunge rock three-piece The Mysterines headline the stage. Over 80% of the British acts on this year’s line-up for Reading and Leeds have been supported by BBC Music Introducing across their careers, including The 1975, Royal Blood and Bastille.
On Thursday the Dance To The Radio Stage kicked off the party at Leeds Festival with Easy Life, whenyoung, Indoor Pets, BILK and DJ Jacky P and the lads from TPD TV headlined the infamous Piccadily Party.
Reading and Leeds Festival was the most environmentally-friendly yet this year, with a robust green initiative in place across both sites. See here for more information.
Reading and Leeds Festival worked with Safe Gigs For Women, The Samaritans and medical teams to ensure a happy and healthy festival-goers across the weekend. Safe Gigs for Women is an initiative established by regular gig goers with the aim of creating a safer environment for people at music events. The safe hubs were staffed by the British Red Cross and Festival Angels in campsites – serving as a safe and confidential space for festival goers seeking support from volunteers.
Both festivals were filled with special moments throughout the weekend, including surprise sets from alt-rock band The Sherlocks taking to the Festival Republic Stage, Love Fame Tragedy on the BBC Introducing Stage who were joined by Dan Smith from Bastille and on The Pit stage, a surprise gig from Bullet For My Valentine delivered a feast of heavy riffs and their biggest hits. Yungblud thrilled with his electric performance with Machine Gun Kelly joining him on stage, whilst Frank Carter orchestrated a huge female-only mosh pit during an electrifying set with his band The Rattlesnakes, advocating for a safe space for everyone at Reading and Leeds.
Fans who missed out on tickets can catch up on the weekend’s highlights on BBC iPlayer.
Foo Fighters & Post Malone – Matt Eachus
Billie Eilish and header – Luke Dyson
The 1975 – Sarah Koury