Reading Festival Focus Group Review

By jj on 26 February 2010

Stamped hands, cold evenings and the chance to do some bird, porridge and time. What exactly went on at the Reading Festival focus group?

Reading (excuse the pun) the focus group highlights may fill many of you with positive vibes. Less indie? Wicked! Possibility of a Glastonbury style ticketing system. Sweet! An ale tent? I’m sure my grandfather will be well chuffed!

However, you need to take a step back in these situations and see what the true outcome was. Now, don’t get me wrong, things do look good for Reading 2010 but let’s not start selling tickets on eBay to create enough profit to buy our own tickets just yet.

So the date tickets will go on sale will be decided by the end of this week. Good stuff. They’re cutting it fine but okay, some good news there. We hear they’ll try not to raise the ticket price this year. Whilst people will like this, they do state that they will just “try”. I can try to become Jessica Biel’s hump buddy but I can’t see it happening myself.

Apparently there have been talks with See Tickets about making the process easier, to prevent the website crashing. Now, if I am not mistaken, the current process is hardly comparable to an Oxbridge entrance exam is it? If I’m not mistaken it goes something like this:

1. Go to site
2. Search for ticket OR click on link that has the item you want
3. Narrow down exactly what you want and how many you want
4. Purchase

I’m unsure how this can be easier but if they do make it easier then there will be more the same amount of load, actually an increase in load (the site is increasing by 3,500 people this year) over fewer steps, thus making the situation worse. Tickets will also be sent out earlier this year. Good news for a minority.

Ah, the line up won’t be announced before tickets go on sale because “this way it is the fans of the festival itself that buy tickets first rather than the fans of certain bands” which is not only bizarre but… well, bizarre yet again. People should attend a festival based on what bands are playing therefore the fans of the bands make for a better festival. Look at last year, Jamie T had a packed out tent whereas Faith No More didn’t even half fill it. I’m a fan of Reading Festival because of the bands that play played, not because of the name. Is it me or can a blind man on a galloping horse see that the only reason that this is done is to create a panic/rush?

The RATM/Glastonbury scheme is a possibility for next year. A possibility? It’s a god damn necessity! Bitter tent as well as lager; hold the front page, this is massive industry news (sarcasm may have been lost here). It appears that the over 18 and over wristband will still be around but if you look under 18, you will still be asked for ID. Lockers moving closer to the arena is a good thing but how much closer and where? Get them to a decent distance and it’ll start causing bottlenecks. This needs to be thought out.

Capacity increasing by 3,500 people. Where they going to go? They going to building a floating campsite or are people going to be allowed to camp in the arena?

No campfires after 8pm on Sunday is a good thing, I just hope that they get the message out as much as possible.
No alcohol to be bought in after 5pm (which coincides with the closing time at Tesco). So they will stop people bringing in booze when shops close? This will just mean people will bring everything earlier on. Apparently there will be a limit on how much someone can bring in. One crate a day is being put forward. I drink more for breakfast, how they going to manage it?

Anyone leaving site after 6pm on Sunday will need hand stamped and to get back in, will need this and their wristband to get back in. This should be a success unless the stamp is easily forged.

Police will be more vigilant; surely that’s the core of their job anyway? I’m getting an awful sense of déjà vu about this point.

No separate entrance/exit for day ticket holders as it won’t be worth it? Rather than me come up with a witty retort, it’ll suffice to say that it would be worth it.

Reading Festival will never be a indie Festival and it will be going back to its old way. I think the term that applies here is “I’ll believe it when I see it”. The chat about a three day lock-up is exciting though but again, it’s only being considered.

Gas canister ban still in force, not that it did much good last year, especially with stores selling them. Let’s hope 2010 gets a better outcome.

More information tents, one in the arena in fact. LED screens placed around site to give information on bands. The tent is a good idea, but is it me or does the idea of LED screens in a campsite sound like a disaster waiting to happen? Will be interesting to see this one (excuse the pun).

Other things were increase in toilets, Radio 1 tent will remain in same position, queuing system for toilets will be better, HMV tickets will be discussed, wheelbarrows to help people move stuff, more early entry tickets will go on sale, ability to decant from glass bottles into plastic ones and a change back to the old style comedy tent.

Lastly, the hot topic that caused the most chat was the forum loyalty scheme. As with most of the above though, it’s just a suggestion and nothing specific was talked about.

Which brings me back to my first point. As good as it seems on the outside, stepping into it makes you realise there are a lot of ifs, buts and maybes. I’m left with more questions than before and as for the stuff that could happen, if it does, then the festival will surely be heading to what I once remembered it used to be. However if it doesn’t then the festival will probably be taking quite a step backwards considering the leaps Download and Sonisphere have made.
Reading Festival 2010 is arguably the most important year for us and Festival Republic. My brain says not to expect much but my heart, for whatever reason, knows it will deliver.

Next article should be released when all the above stuff will no longer matter. We’ll know the line up, prices and more importantly, whether I’ll be sporting a moustache or beard for this year’s event.

Janusz Jasinski
http://www.strictlyreading.co.uk

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