6 Mistakes You May Have Made At Reading Festival 2013

by Emily Pratten

One week on from Reading and Leeds, we look at some of the terrible mistakes you guys might have made at this year’s festival. Having dispatched a few of our PearShaped team to Reading, here’s our advice on what you should have done.

1. Going to Eminem rather than Alt-J It is a given that within every campsite at Reading this year there was a bitter battle - between those who wanted to declare that they were in fact the real Slim Shady and those who were dying to see the creators of perhaps the best album of 2012. Regardless, it has to be said that if you were one of those who remained true to your Alt-J desires, then you made the right choice. Playing a faultless set that included all songs from the delectable An Awesome Wave, interludes included, and ended with snow cannons pouring as the Bhangra vibes of Taro echoed into the NME tent, this performance was not one to be missed. Though the tent was not as full for Alt-J as it may have been for Disclosure on the following night, the atmosphere did not suffer one bit. The sheer musical perfection of the set would have had even the likes of Marshall Mathers quaking in his tracksuit bottoms.

2. Avoiding Bastille It would have been pretty much impossible to make the mistake mentioned above, as nearly everyone at the festival on Friday evening crammed into the NME tent to witness the unbelievably popular Bastille take to the stage. Avoiding such an event would have taken immense skill in fact, as the sheer volume of the crowd pouring out of the tent probably had it’s own gravitational pull. The London foursome did anything but disappoint, and Dan Smith’s vocals remained exceptional throughout, even when he dared to go near the crowd and was pawed and grabbed at by countless screaming girls. And boys. The Lion King-esque chant of Pompeii nearly took the roof off. If you weren’t there, there was simply no reason for your absence. No reason at all.

3. Choosing to see Imagine Dragons instead of Foals A catastrophic error was made by any man or woman who is responsible for this crime. Whilst Imagine Dragons had a few half-decent singles this past year, they are simply nothing on Foals, and that’s just when comparing the two on paper. Put them both on a live stage and the difference would become greater still. Though I imagine that one or two songs in the Imagine Dragons set were impressive from an atmospheric perspective, as soon as the opening bars to Foals’ Prelude echoed out of the speakers on the main stage, every crowd member there knew they were in for something very special. Foals manage to add an extreme depth to their sound when playing live that is unfortunately missed through many an iPod headphone. It was magical, and you should have been there, no questions asked.

4. Not eating at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen van at least once during the weekend Though not strictly music-related, your stomach will be holding a grudge against you for this one. Gourmet Burger Kitchen have made a name for themselves nationwide with a chain of restaurants that bring the burger back to basics, and do so with incredible success. You are given the choice of countless toppings, from the classic cheese or garlic mushroom to the ever so eccentric egg or pineapple, and it was genius on the part of whoever decided to strip the restaurant to it’s most basic and brilliant form and whack it into a burger van. Though you’d have paid a fairly steep £7.50 for a cheeseburger, it would have been the greatest £7.50 you’d ever spent on a meal. Thick-cut burger patties in wonderfully baked bread with a concoction of salsa and sauces that melted in the mouth were simply to die for, and worth the queue. It was a burger that tasted of home, and that was because it was pretty much home-made. Cooked properly in a kitchen-like van rather than a grease-covered fryer, it was an event in itself. Godly Burger Kitchen, more like. Find your local.

5. Not realising that the toilets in the Arena were worth the wait If you blindly held your nose and accepted your fate in the campsite toilets at Reading this year, or any year previously for that matter, then shame on you. Hold it, dear music-lover. Train your bladder brimming with alcohol to wait an extra fifteen minutes, especially if you are female, and get to those toilets near the stages. With locking doors, toilet roll, flushing mechanisms and sinks, they truly are the Ritz of Reading. Failing that, pee in a bush. You’d be less likely to contract hepatitis, or throw up.

6. Dedicating your entire day to waiting for a headliner This is one of those things that sounds okay-ish in practice, but five hours in, dying of dehydration and potential broken bones, it really is not worth it. This mistake includes refusing to go to the smaller stages. It was the smaller acts at this year’s festival that made it a line-up worth paying for, with the exception of Swim Deep, who’s live set caused one to wonder whether or not they’d actually played their instruments before. Nevertheless, if you didn’t take the time to miss a couple of big bands (who you’ve probably seen before, let’s be honest) to invest your ears in Chvrches or Lucy Rose then you missed truly exceptional performances. Take the time for the little man. It’s always the way with festivals - it’s the underdogs who end up delivering the songs worth the big bucks.