(Credit: Wikimedia)

Reading & Leeds Festival set to go ahead in 2021

Reading & Leeds Festival is to go ahead as planned this summer, following news about social distancing restrictions being removed, if all goes to plan, on June 21st. Following the cancellation of Glastonbury last month, festivals seemed to be on hold for another summer, but now they look poised to return.

The festival organisers took to social media to tell fans they “can’t wait to get back in the fields”, alongside a clip featuring footage of previous festivals gone by on their hallowed turf. “Reading and Leeds, 2021. Following the Government’s recent announcement, we can’t wait to get back to the fields this summer. LET’S GO,” they wrote in a tweet.

Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic and boss of events including Reading & Leeds and Download Festival, previously told NME last month: “I feel very positive because I know that it’s possible. You’re monitoring everything every hour, if not every minute, so I was very confident about the early summer before Christmas – but the new strain is spreading quicker, so that knocks your confidence a little bit,” said Benn. “However, the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine picks your confidence back up again. I suppose I’m taking Matt Hancock and the Prime Minister’s word.

“The Prime Minister has said that 88% of hospitalisations and deaths will disappear once the over-70s and frontline workers are vaccinated. The Health Secretary said: ‘When that’s done, cry freedom’ – I’m crying freedom. At that point, I’m saying let’s get on with it.”

Benn then added: “I’m super confident about the end of the summer, I’m super confident about the beginning of the summer. If everyone over the age of 60, or definitely the age of 50, is vaccinated by the end of May, then Jesus – there should be no stopping us.”

“The plan was always based on the vaccine first and testing second,” Benn told NME this week. “It could be a mix of both. I feel that we can get away with shows purely on testing. It’s immensely hard work, but operationally doable and hopefully unnecessary. The Full Capacity Plan was always based on verification of being clear of COVID, or clear of being in danger of COVID.

The successful rollout of the vaccine and the 12-week plan laid out by the Government to return to normality means that the twin festivals are to return as things stand between August 27th-29th 2021.

Stormzy will take to the stage on the Main Stage East on Reading on the Friday and Leeds on the Saturday whilst Catfish and The Bottlemen will headline Main Stage West on the same nights. Post Malone is to top the bill on the Saturday on Main Stage East at Reading and the Sunday evening in Leeds with Disclosure filling the other headline slot that evening.

The final evening at Reading and the Friday at Leeds will welcome Liam Gallagher take up the reigns on Main Stage East with Queens of The Stone Age returning to the festival for a slot on Main Stage West.

Other acts appearing throughout the festival include Lewis Capaldi, Two Door Cinema Club, AJ Tracey, DaBaby, Doja Cat, Gerry Cinnamon, Charli XCX, Sports Team and many more.