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Friday, 26 August 2011

Reading: A memoir

Ah, the Reading and Leeds festival. A true staple of the August Bank Holiday. My very first festival experience was way back in 1998 when the Reading Festival didn't have a Leeds bit bolted on. Bro Dude, my sister and I trucked down with our immensley complex tent and set about enjoying a weekend of musical variety.

The highlight of Reading '98 was the Vans Warped Tour. That year saw Bad Religion, Lagwagon and No Fun At All on the same stage which for a 16-year-old MADman was about as exciting as life could get. I spent my hard earned pocket money on a Lagwagon hoody which I wore solidly for the next two years of college and still don to this very day. It's a bit on the grey side and there a large, suspicious burn mark in the front but it's still without doubt my favourite item of clothing.

It was the first time I had gotten well and truly battered with my siblings. Clearly the age restrictions on booze were a little more lax back then as I distinctly emember me and Bro Dude sitting in the middle of the main arena smashing pint after pint of lager in front of Monster Magnet and Rocket from the Crypt. I also treated myself to 20 Silk Cut which I shared with my sister as we sat in front of the tent discussing life, the universe and everything when Bro Dude had drunkenly passed out somewhere. We took that opportunity to imbibe about four litres of Strongbow, resulting in me hanging my head out of the tent and vomitting. The police walked up and asked me if I was okay, I explained it was my first festival, they moved along. They were simple times.

New Order graced the main stage that year and despite my teenage drunken fug I remember being blown away by True Faith, which remains my favourite song of theirs. Peter Hook's short-lived side project Monaco were there that year too so Bro Dude got two slices of his bass hero that weekend.

As a lifelong Prodigy fan watching them destroy the mainstage was pretty bleeding spectacular. I remember little of their set, apart from dancing like a twat in the vain hope that my chubby legs were moving vaguely like Leeroy Thornhill's in the No Good (Start the Dance) video. They weren't. Obviously. And the dancing continued with drum and bass Mercury Music Prize winner Roni Size who played in a tent, and it was loud, and that's all I can remember...

There was also a chap walking around selling hash cigarettes for a pound each and although I didn't partake (I promise, mum) I remember thinking that was a bargain, even then.

So as the crowds descend upon Berkshire and Yorkshire this year, I hope a marvellous time is had by all. The line up isn't setting my groin ablaze but as always with this festival there are some awesome punk and hardcore outfits to be seen.

Still, there's no Lagwagon, so whatever.



Anonymous said...

I'll admit it, I'm jealous. The Big Day Out, which was all we had in Australia at that time, had some cool acts but it can't really compare to any of the Euro festivals. Being only one day, for starters :(

MADman said...

We are pretty lucky in Blighty with the festivals, as long as you're okay with pissing rain...