THE BIG TWO: Reading and Leeds Festivals 2010

Gavin McInally finds out what to expect at this year's Reading and Leeds Festivals and tells you who to watch, what to miss and introduces us to the 'shit mix'.

What are they?
The unruly scamps of the UK festival litter; Reading and Leeds are the wayward cousins you know you shouldn't visit because you'll scuff your new trainers and perhaps lose an eye… but you go anyway because throwing sticks at the elderly can be so much fun.

Chaotic and cramped layouts, campsites which should have their own annual DEC relief appeal and a 50/50 chance of smelling piss without a toilet in sight; the mammoth rock, dance and indie double-header is not for the weak hearted.

However, if you're of the opinion Glastonbury is an OAP shelter, you'd need a passport to reach T In The Park and you've never heard of Download, the three day bender will be right up your street.

When and where are they?

Running in sync from Friday, August 27 to Sunday, August 29, the sister events take place at either end of the M1.

Reading takes place at St Johns Farm in Berkshire, while Yorkshire’s Branham Park will host the Leeds leg.

Who to see

Blink 182
It's all to easy to dismiss the gimmicky, over-aged punk popsters who've reformed because their other projects were crap because, well, they are over-aged gimmicky punk popsters who reformed because their other projects were crap, but that doesn't mean they won't be a whole barrel of joy.

By the time the take to the stage for their headline slot, the Main Stage masses will be so well oiled that singing along to 'All The Small Things' and 'What's My Age Again?' could prove to be highlights of the weekend.

Modest Mouse

A rare gem of a booking you won't see on a V or TITP stage until the odd-ball indie multi-instrumentalists manage Radio One rotation.

With an ever-changing set-list both crowds will no doubt hear a completely different band at work, but no matter what the Yanks delve into, it’s sure to be a must-see set.

The Libertines

Ironically, the only way for this particular reunion to work is with a complete meltdown at Leeds and a Reading cancellation or it’ll reek of the mighty dollar, but let’s hope they manage ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ before the wheels come back off The Libertines bus.

Guns n’ Roses

When Axl and his band of hired hands finally get going with classics like ‘November Rain’, ‘Paradise City’, and ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ it truly is a master class in American hard rock…

Who to miss

Guns n’ Roses
Every single second between the classics is a tough lesson in patience and endurance. Expect needless delays, child like tantrums from guitarists you’ve never heard of and no doubt the odd groan from the aging ginger messiah himself.

Also, Dizzee Rascal (he’ll be playing your front garden too before long), Biffy Clyro (stunningly repetitive when they don‘t play their best tunes) and Limp Bizkit ( lol… ) are probably great times to check out what’s going on in the smaller stages too.

Inside tip:

Rolo Tomassi
Following a brilliant performance at Download when they attracted a bigger crowd than most of the bands playing above them, the rising female-fronted English hardcore troupe will be the perfect start to the weekend for those travelling to Leeds and a hangover curer for the Reading crowd when they open the NME/Radio One Stage over the weekend.

Festival tactics

Leave your pride, dignity and any phobias along with your treasured belongings back in the safety of your bedside cabinet and prepare to get smashed for three days at the festival equivalent of an end-of-school bash.

Between glugs of the smuggled in Aldi wine catch as many bands as you can, because right from the BBC Introducing Stage upwards, the organisers have lined-up some vital acts who will no doubt be the next Arcade Fire, topping the bill at some point and filling arenas across the UK.

Fashionista or folky?

Bang on the High Street trend, expect the Primark slip on canvas shoes, scarves and skinny jeans… Absolutely no use for wet English fields but only farmers wear wellies, right kids?

Alcohol of choice

The ‘shit mix’
Take two cans of cheap cider, one can of warm beer, some ‘special offer’ deal vodka, gin, whiskey, rum and wine, a charge of whatever soft drink can be found lying around and play whatever campsite game springs to mind.

Real veterans add a spot of Pot Noodle, peppers or spare biscuits.

Take your mum score – 3/10

Unless your mum is one crazy ass bitch, let her pack your waterproofs, sun cream, baby wipes and give her a reassuring kiss on the cheek on the way out the front door.

If she is a crazy ass bitch, ask her to knock up the ‘shit mix’ for your mates.

Can I still get tickets?

No. Axl Rose tweeted to say it’s sold out, and we believe him.

Actually, if you weren't one of the lucky ones to get a ticket to the festivals then viagogo have just been announced as the official secondary ticketing partner by organisers Festival Republic who run Reading, Leeds and Latitude.

The site guarantees the transaction and delivery of tickets so fans who buy will actually get their tickets, and fans who sell will actually get paid.

Click here to buy Reading Festival tickets.

Click here to buy Leeds Festival tickets.

viagogo promises that it will not sell a ticket it doesn’t have, so check the viagogo site for more ticket options.