Meryl Hamilton of Voodoo Vegas at the Cambridge Rock Festival
It’s Reading Festival weekend again. The streets are filled with extremely young people in wellies, and every supermarket has a Canary Wharf of cheap booze.
I used to go to the festival back in the early 1980s, when the bill included such headliners as Rory Gallagher, UFO, Girlschool, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy. But even though some recent bills have included bands I wouldn’t mind seeing, it’s not for me. Now as back then, it’s a teenage rite of passage.
While The Guardian ackowleges this in its headline, most of their article is an extended moan about the bill being too male. Perhaps they should have gone to the Cambridge Rock Festival instead?
There is discussion to be had on gender and music festivals, but as is predictable with their gender or race-baiting articles, The Guardian has disabled comments. In previous years Guardian has repeatedly demanded festivals include more women by reducing the amount of rock on the bills, usually written by people who didn’t actually like rock.
But surely there are other ways? What about one or two European symphonic metal bands like Nightwish, Within Temptation or Delain? Or perhaps Babymetal? Or maybe even put acts like Panic Room or Mostly Autumn early on the bill?
It’s Reafing Festival weekend. The streets of the town are full of people in wellies and the supermarkets contain stacks of cheap lager the size of Canary Wharf. It all reminds me of the last Reading Festivals I went to back in the early 1980s, when I was the same age as the people going now. Reading has always been a teenage rite of passage.
It’s a reminder of the fact I’ve been a Marillion fan for 33 years this weekend, after seeing them half-way ip the bill in 1982. They were back the following year as special guests on the Saturday night, opened with Grendel. They blew Black Sabbath and their fibreglass Stonehenge off stage. Little did I imagine their music would still be a big part of my life more than three decades laer.
It’s remarkable how many of the bands from the 1983 bill above are still around. I saw Marillion a few weeks back, headlining the Prog stage at Ramblin Man. Pendragon played the same festival. The Enid were at HRH Prog. Magnum, Pallas, Big Country, The Stranglers and even Man are still on the circuit.
This year’s Reading Festival bill includes Metallica, who have been around for 30 years. Can you imagine 1980s festivals having 1940s crooners and big band jazz on the bill?