Reading Festival 2018: Top Picks
We say goodbye to festival season with one final blow out at Reading and Leeds. This is a festival that every British music fan has grown up with. Always something for everyone in the North and the South, the traditionally rock festival presented itself a chart-heavy line up this year yet the line up proved stronger than ever. BBC had a huge presence, with the Radio 1, 1xtra, Dance, and Introducing stages spanning across the festival, as well as the festival themselves curating an eclectic line up from Panic! At The Disco to Dua Lipa.
Names as BBC’s Sound of 2018, Sigrid has grabbed worldwide attention of music fans all around. She appeals to the pop fan as well as the folk fan, or even the rock fan with a vibrant band behind her in all her hits. Whether you’re a family or a teenager hitting Reading post GCSEs, almost the entire Reading Festival crammed themselves in to the Radio 1 stage to witness this Norwegian superstar’s takeover of the UK scene. She performed her biggest hits ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ and ‘Strangers’ which broke her on to the scene in summer 2017, and of course had everyone singing along, as well as newer ones just released like ‘Raw,’ ‘High Five,’ or ‘Schedules.’
One of the most anticipated artists of the weekend, Dua Lipa made the festival stand still as the crowd gathered from all corners to the main stage to see this icon. Causing queries in the lead up to the festival as hardcore Reading fans questions the pop stars appearance on a ‘rock festival’ line up, Dua Lipa proved the evolution of Reading and Leeds into an all-genre-encompassing space a successful move. Her vocals resonated across the entire field on the sunny Saturday afternoon, and her and her dancers provided an eye catching visual show to watch too. Her record breaking ‘New Rules’ had the entire crowd off their feet as expected, and IDGAF met with astounding cheers, dedicated to ‘all the women who had ever been wronged.’ She left no doubt in everyone’s minds by the end she is here to stay.
AJR are a band who have made a significant impact in the States, already boasting sold out tours across the nation, however are just about breaking in the UK. Performing an early slot on Radio 1’s Dance Stage, the New York City trio still gathered a crowd that filled the tent to the brim (even if it was because people were escaping the rain). They performed their hits ‘I’m Not Famous’ and ‘No Grass Today,’ and even honoured the crowd with a little lesson on how they produce their songs. Though they found themselves on the dance stage, I’d say AJR are more part of the indie community than the electronic, as songwriting really defines their music.
Dylan Cartlidge performed at the infamous BBC Introducing stage at this year’s festival. With the advantage of it being an outdoor stage, Cartlidge turned heads of people as they walked by as his indie infused hip hop with a touch of funk is vastly different from the rest of Reading’s line up. The multi-instrumentalist and vocal powerhouse skills he demonstrates also show him to be admirably in touch with the music he wishes to deliver solidly. This awareness of his musical identity makes him a contender the future BBC stages for sure, as it’s certain he won’t be ‘introducing’ himself for much longer.
Hippo Campus closed out the end of Reading Festival as they were on the Festival Republic stage on Sunday afternoon. Yet they still were able to excite what was certainly a hungover crowd. It might be daunting for a US band to fall on a line up with incredibly British bands before and after them, but they did not seem a misfit as their strong indie and guitar heavy approach made them relatable to new music fans all around. They performed many new songs from their upcoming album released next month, definitely securing the start of their UK fan base.
Notorious for his antics, Post Malone proved he is also at the core of it all, a talented artist. He is more than a musician, but an all rounded artist – all of his songs come with intense emotion you can see he puts in them, and a fiery production to make it a vibrant show. With a string of hits that have been taking over radio and playlists for the last few months, you don’t quite realise how many songs you’ve been humming lately belong to him. Most well-known hits of the day include ‘Rockstar,’ ‘Psycho,’ and ‘Better Now,’ and softer song ‘I Fall Apart,’ which takes him away from hip-hop slightly, proved popular on the day too.
An anticipated moment as N.E.R.D reunite specially for the festival, the crowd was an accumulation of their old school fans as well as younger Pharrell fans keen to see where the star came from. The group delivered and incredibly funky set which had everyone dancing. A guest appearance from Brockhampton was also special for Reading just to creative a larger vibe on stage, increasing the energy with his dance moves. Though met with a considerably smaller crowd than expected, N.E.R.D were not phased but powered ahead with an incredibly dynamic performance.
Shame are a brand new rock band who have been on the scene for only about a year, yet impressively bagged themselves a main stage slot. They also had a curious stage set up behind them, the entire platform decorated with huge blow up balloons of various characters. Their old-school vibe certainly gave the classic Reading fans what they wanted: intense guitar heavy rock pumping adrenaline in all the crowd, rain or sun. The main stage couldn’t have been easy for these guys so early in their career yet they still commendably pulled it off with success.
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