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Review: Reading Festival 2017

Showing its ability to change and adapt – this year's festival had new names and new genres to appeal to an new audience.

Review: Reading Festival 2017

Photo credit: Kennerdeigh Scott

James Gilmore

W!ZARD News Author

In many ways, this year’s Reading Festival was like any other. The vast line-up of rock and alternative acts. The inevitable post-GCSE mania. The 90,000 glittery faces.

But this year was different – the festival, showing its ability to change and adapt – had new names and new genres to appeal to an audience who’s playlists are increasingly multi-dimensional.

Alongside the massive line-up headlined by Muse, Eminem and Kasabian, there were a few surprise appearances that turned the festival upside down.


Brian Johnson, the previous AC/DC frontman made a special guest appearance with Muse. Despite the role being taken on by Axl Rose since mid-2016, the audience was ecstatic to see Brian Johnson’s dramatic return.

Then there was the appearance by Drake that sent the festival and social media into mayhem. The Canadian rapper was introduced by Giggs, who praised Reading Festival for their long-term support of his music. The duo performed fan-favourite ‘KMT’ for a verse before the track was reloaded. The reaction of the fans was crazy and social media was quick to express its collective FOMO. Drake has since made an appearance at the BBK Takeover at The O2.


Whilst there is a somewhat darker history with Reading Festival-goers reacting more negatively to non-rock acts, this year’s festival was the most diverse line-up yet… and no one seemed to be complaining! Acts ranged from electronic act Major Lazer to Loyle Carner to Bastille. The sets of each of these acts were phenomenal and were met with an overwhelmingly positive reaction. The ramped-up security and new procedures implemented by Reading Festival seem to be working.

The line-up was made even more diverse by the 1Xtra and Radio 1 Dance Stage.

The 1Xtra stage hosted grime legends and upcoming acts alike including J Hus, MoStack and Dave. The Radio 1 Dance Stage played host to Defected In The House’s very own Sam Divine, Charli XCX and Marshmello.

Charli XCX brought her usual energy and went on to perform one of our favourite sets from the weekend. Diplo paid homage to the Notting Hill Carnival, saying “It’s carnival weekend in London, we’re going to bring it here for Reading Festival”. He then went on to run through the crowd in a zorbing ball.


Another of our favourite performances was Saturday’s headliner, Eminem.

He played through some of his best tracks including ‘Rap God’ and ‘Lose Yourself’. As ever, Eminem brought a somewhat political edge to Reading Festival, with his t-shirt reading ‘F**k Trump’. He also announced that he “can’t stand” Donald Trump to an energised and cheering audience.


This year’s festival was not without its mishaps. There was the daredevil 17-year old climbed to the top of a speaker platform during Eminem’s set. Then there was Gallagher’s claims that he was not being allowed to swear. But that energy, that realism… that’s what makes it the festival it is

Truth be told: This year’s Reading Festival was one of the most energetic, diverse and entertaining festivals of the season.

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