Reading and Leeds 2016 are a dependable combined weekend of acts you know where you are with. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Biffy Clyro and Foals have nabbed headline slots, and there are few surprises. But look a bit closer at the bill and you’ll discover a heap of new and lesser-known music. TGA picks six to see.
Remember when Nirvana played way down the bill at Reading Festival in 1991? It was the year preceding their iconic headlining set at the same festival and before their breakthrough album Nevermind was released. There’s no official footage of it – making it all the sweeter if you were there.
Fast forward 25 years, and it’s a fitting time to ask yourself what bands on the line up will go on to achieve great things in the years to come. The secret, of course, is to make sure you go and see acts that haven’t already made an impact.
Back in 1991, there were fewer stages and fewer acts across the long weekend, which perhaps made it easier to see more of what the festival was offering. Today, with 10 formal stages and a huge increase in the number of acts, it’s not as easy to physically be there for every performance that tickles your fancy – but you can whittle it down with a little help from TGA.
Look beyond the main stage mainstays and you’ll find plenty to get excited about. And just maybe you’ll be able to say you were there before they made it big…
But at the very least you’ll discover something new. Here’s our pick.
Festival Republic Stage – 3.15pm, Friday, Reading; 3.15pm, Saturday, Leeds
A London four-piece, Anteros deal in what they call “bitter dream pop”. Their indie-pop sound delivers Saint Etienne meets disco vibes; lead singer Laura Hayden’s vocals are reminiscent of the dreamy breathiness of Sarah Cracknell. Lyrical subject matter covers dark topics like alcoholism and mid-life crises.
Hot from being awarded the accolade of BBC Radio 1’s Single of the Week for The Beat, Anteros were also declared The Guardian’s New Band of the Week.
BBC Radio 1Xtra Stage – 12.15pm, Friday, Reading; 12.15pm, Saturday, Leeds
First up on the BBC Radio 1Xtra stage, K.Flay (main image) is a Californian with attitude. Fusing hip hop with punk influences, there’s a menacing undertone that threatens to rip through the measured beats.
She’s just dropped brand new single Blood in the Cut, taken from her recently released EP Crush Me. Signed to Night Street, Dan Reynolds from Imagine Dragons’ label, the EP is released via Polydor in the UK.
K.Flay has toured with Snoop Dogg, Passion Pit, PVRIS and Dashboard Confessional which gives you some idea of her genre-crossing sound.
BBC Introducing Stage – 6.30pm, Friday, Reading; 6.25pm, Saturday, Leeds
Hailing from Exeter, Muncie Girls are Lande, Dean and Luke.
An indie-punk trio, they’ve been busy this year promoting their debut album, From Caplan to Belsize, which was released in March. Their schedule has taken them across the UK and Europe, playing gigs and festivals.
But it doesn’t let up any time soon. The band heads off on a headline tour of the UK in November and December.
BBC Introducing Stage – 4.15pm, Friday, Reading; 4.10pm, Saturday, Leeds
It’s no accident, happy or otherwise, that Happy Accidents secured their slot at Reading and Leeds.
Revelling in indie-infused pop-punk with upbeat melodies, Happy Accidents recently released their debut album You Might Be Right via Alcopop!
This London-based outfit are a lot of fun live.
BBC Introducing Stage –11.10am, Friday, Reading; 12pm, Saturday, Leeds
Dusk paradoxically herald the dawn of this year’s Reading Festival, with their Friday morning slot.
Don’t linger in your tent and miss these guys – delicious melodies delivered through lead singer Holly’s seductive vocal, they combine “dark synthetic sounds” and “aggressive rhythms”.
A subversive way to issue praise to the morning, Dusk’s debut LP is out in October.
The Pit – 5.15pm, Saturday, Reading; 4.45pm, Sunday, Leeds
25 years on from Nirvana’s first appearance at Reading, it’s apt that we include a grunge-laden act on the way up in this list.
A bit L7 and a bit Riot Grrrl but with a sprinkling of boys, there’s also a touch of the Foo Fighters about Milk Teeth. They’re bombastic and effervescent.
Whatever, they’ll give you an excellent reason for a rock-out in The Pit before the sun goes down.
Two EPs down and a lot of touring under their belt too, this four-piece releases their debut LP, Vile Child, soon.
Muncie Girls photo by Nick Sayers