Headliners booked for Reading/Leeds

Two out of the three main stage headliners for next year's Carling Reading and Leeds festivals have already been decided upon, according to Mean Fiddler's director of festivals Melvin Benn.

And it looks like the two confirmed acts will follow in the traditional mould of the historic festival by being, erm, guitar bands!

[r-zone1]Perhaps predictably, Benn refused to be drawn on the identity of the two bands, but did rule out any major shift in musical policy. Headliners in recent years have included Green Day, Metallica, The Darkness, and Linkin Park.

He said: “We’ve booked most of the acts for Reading and Leeds already and have confirmed two of the three headliners. You know I can’t tell you who they are, but they’ve both got singers and use guitars. They both have drummers as well! That’s as much as you’re getting!”

[l-zone2]The festival svengali, who also deals with the operational side of Glastonbury, refused to say whether the acts are American or British. But, for the first time, Benn spoke out about the bottling of 50 Cent at Reading, explaining how the hostile reaction from the crowd had surprised him.

He said: “It was an oddity. We have had hip-hop acts for many years at both Reading and Leeds, in fact it’s unusual for us not to. It’s important to reflect different types of music but for some reason it just didn’t work for 50 Cent. Maybe it was because he was billed just before Green Day. Perhaps we should have put him before The Darkness.”

[r-zone3]But Benn ruled out any possibility of returning to a rock-only programme, highlighting the popularity of acts such as The Streets, Jurrasic 5 and Roots Manuva at this year’s joint festivals.
He said: “It (50 Cents’ bottling) has had a bearing and we’ve taken notice but we’ll still be looking to include an element of hip-hop. I can’t see why that will change. Maybe we need to be a bit more careful to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”  

CLICK HERE to find out what Melvin Benn’s fantasy line-up would be and to read the rest of Virtual Festivals’ exclusive chat with Mean Fiddler man, the first in a series of interviews with all the major festival organisers. Every other week another one will be posted – next up, Summer Sundae