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Reading Festival 2016: Ten To See

11 August 2016, 09:00 | Written by The Line of Best Fit

The highlight of the August bank holiday returns with a decidedly strong line-up with something for everybody across seven stages. With over 200 acts on offer over three days, you'll be more than spoilt for choice, so we've helpfully put together our top ten picks to guide you on your festival way.


Foals have put on more than a fair share of Reading sets and it's about time they've been handed Main Stage headline duties (or co-headlining duties in this case). Getting hit with that wall of sound on Friday night will more than justify the price of the ticket. One of the best live bands at the moment, and masters of putting on a good show.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

Here's the thing - Frank Carter is almost allergic to staying on the stage. He'd much rather hang out with you and now he's on the Main Stage, there's going to be a lot of people for him to enjoy. Full of surprises, two years ago he brought the beach to the audience, last year he brought his wife and baby daughter on stage. What's it going to be this year? Find out on Friday afternoon.

Lady Lesshur

The 1Xtra Stage is full of not-to-be-missed acts this year, however, there is only one who delivers 5 Queen’s speeches. Lady Lesshur is a master of free styling, spitting words like fire and with a talent for cut-throat put downs. A little Missy, a little Nicki and 100% Brummie, the perfect combination to kick-start your weekend.

Jack U

If Reading was an EDM festival, Jack U would have been THE appeal. Headlining the NME Stage on Friday, it's a rare opportunity to see Diplo and Skrillex on stage together. Both high energy DJs, they will build up and build up and build up until they drop you know what. Don’t be the ones getting the “Where are you now?’ calls during this set.

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

Playing at the Festival Republic Stage on Saturday, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is exactly what their name suggests: a psychedelic fantasy acid trip through a sonic tunnel and where you'll end up at the end is anybody's guess. Why would anyone want to miss that is beyond me, but if you need further convincing check out their amazing video for People - Vultures.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

It's been a decade since RHCP last played Reading and they are returning to fill the legendary slot reserved mostly for 80s-90s American biggies. There's no denying RHCP live is like marmite and the success of their festival set will depend heavily on their chosen setlist. If the songs played in previous festival appearances this year are anything to go by, this will be the one you will be sad to have missed.

Cage the Elephant / Savages

If Reading can do co-headline slots, we can do double slots too. Playing one after another on NME Stage on Sunday, you'll be needing to catch both sets to judge who does the best crowd stand. While Cage will bring the fun, Savages will bring their intensity to the field, who will win out? We reckon the audience.

The 1975

Leaving the consumer ADHD cliches behind, it is true that, today, in a market so saturated with acts sounding alike, having a critically- and commercially- hailed sophomore album is rare. Yet we have The 1975. A band who didn't alienate their primary fanbase and gained many more young and grown up admirers by experimenting with their sound and releasing one of the best records of the year. Catch their headline slot on NME Stage on Sunday to end Reading on a high that will last until next year's festival.


Playing the Dance Stage on Saturday, Sophie has worked with and produced the likes of Charli XCX, Diplo, Madonna and Skrillex well as the J-pop cuteness overdose Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. What makes Sophie different from any artist behind the decks and cables is the artistry in creating music using waveforms. Full of bouncy/nintendo/bubblegum beats and a great alternative to disposable EDM.

A$AP Rocky

A$AP Rocky is back again, this time he's at the Main Stage on Sunday. Regardless of whether the ASAP Mob will be accompanying him, he possesses more than enough charisma to fill the biggest stage, though I can’t help wishing for an appearance from Rod Stewart…Who knows, right?

Finally, if politics and comedy is your thing, check out Owen Jones having a chat with Andy Parsons at the Alternative Stage on Sunday. It is bound to raise eyebrows and a smile.

Reading Festival takes place at Little John's Farm on Richfield Avenue, Reading from 26-28 August. The full line-up is available from the festival website. Weekend tickets are sold out and limited day tickets are available.

Additional photos by Kimberley Ross (Foals, King Gizzard) & Jason Williamson (A$AP Rocky).

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