Aside from Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading are the biggest music festivals to grace the UK each year.
Dating back to the 1960s, Reading is the oldest pop music festival in the world still thriving today, having now ritualised the late August bank holiday weekend as a time for music lovers. Leeds Festival stemmed from the huge popularity of Reading. It was inaugurated just before the millennium and runs alongside Reading with the same line-up.
Together, the two festivals have forged an impressive archive of artists spanning genres of punk, grunge, metal, rap, indie and rock. Their line-ups consistently reflect the best artists of the era, endeavouring to bring legendary acts and chart-toppers to their stages. 2020 marks the 21st anniversary of the pair of festivals, and has another epic bill.
Find out everything you need to know about the festivals with our Reading and Leeds guide below!
When is Reading and Leeds 2020?
Both festivals begin on Thursday 27th August and end on Sunday 30th August 2020.
Who are the headliners for Reading and Leeds?
The confirmed headliners for 2020 are:
Stormzy’s astonishing performance at Glastonbury in 2019 has established himself as one of the biggest musicians in the UK right now. The London rapper will perform on the back of his second album Heavy Is The Head, which came out in 2019 and features No. 1 singles ‘Vossi Bop’ and ‘Own It’.
The former Oasis frontman was the first official headliner announced for this year’s Reading and Leeds Festivals. Gallagher’s headline slot follows a huge homecoming gig in Manchester’s Heaton Park taking place in June 2020, and TRNSMT Festival in Glasgow in July 2020.
Rage Against The Machine
Legendary American political rockers Rage Against The Machine have reunited once again. The rap rockers last took the UK by storm ten years ago when they headlined Download Festival in 2010. Now RATM will bring their bombtracks to Reading and Leeds as part of their latest tour with Run the Jewels, who will play the main stage earlier in the day.
The three headline acts will be supported by over 90 other acts. These will include acts like Migos, The Courteeners, Two Door Cinema Club, Slowthai, Sam Fender, Idles and many more.
Where are the festivals?
This year, Reading and Leeds festivals will be in the same places as usual. Richfield Avenue will cater to the Reading lineup and Bramham Park will be for Leeds. Keep note of this guide to Reading and Leeds on the day if you get lost!
How do I get there?
Reading Festival: Richfield Avenue, Reading, RG1 8EQ
There are two public car parks located on grass fields: the White and Green car parks. The festival organisers advise that you follow the AA signs as you approach instead of the Sat Nav to make sure you end up in the right place! There is a free shuttle boat from the Green Car Park to the campsites.
If you’re parking for the weekend, you can buy a pass on the ticket page which must be displayed in your car – they don’t accept printed confirmation of booking.
If you’re only coming for the day, passes can also be bought at the gate for £20 but are subject to availability and these passes are usually booked up in advance.
There are also various other car parks to choose from, such as the Q-Park Chatham Place and the NCP Garrard Street, close to Reading city centre and train station respectively.
The nearest station is Reading Train Station, which is approximately 15-20 minutes away from the festival ground. There are also shuttle buses that run directly from the station to the site. It is advised to plan your journey in advance, as trains do not run late on the Friday and Saturday, and it can often take up to an hour to reach the station after the festival.
Leeds Festival: Bramham Park, Wetherby, LS23 6ND
Parking is included in the price of tickets. Routes are signposted at the following junctions to help direct you:
A1(M) northbound – Junction 41
M1 northbound – Junction 42
M62 westbound – Junction 33
M62 eastbound – Junction 29
A1/A1(M) southbound – Junction 46
There will also be no access through the Thorner Village throughout the duration of the festival, except for residents of Thorner.
Leeds Train Station is approximately half an hour’s drive from the festival ground. You can get a shuttle bus from the station to the site, as well as from the festival to Seacroft Green shopping centre.
Where can I stay?
Podpads Village at Pink Moon campsite
From boutique tents to sizeable teepees to charming wooden huts, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to glamorous glamping at the Pink Moons. Each festival’s Pink Moon site boasts great showering facilities, 24/7 security, free tea and coffee and free use of hair dryers/straighteners. At Reading, you can also visit the onsite pampering salon and stay powered up with the use of unlimited phone charging. Podpads require weekend camping tickets for their respective festivals.
If you’re planning to stay in your own campervan or caravan, you’ll need to buy a pass beforehand – as well as a weekend ticket to the event – as they are not available on the gate. They cannot be in the same standard campsites with tents and it’s important to remember there will be no electrical hook-ups anywhere. For more information – check the ”˜Where to Stay’ section on the festival’s webpage.
If you’re only intending to go for the day, it might be worth checking out Leeds of Reading’s central accommodation. It may mean a bit of logistical planning and travelling after the concerts finish, but it’s bound to be a bit less hectic and probably cheaper. Try Airbnb for more budget-friendly alternatives or search any of the leading hotel sites such as TripAdvisor, Booking.com or Trivago for example.
What should I bring?
Planning for a festival is imperative – especially if you’re staying for its entirety. It’s vital you take the essentials but it’s just as important you take anything that will leave you listening to your favourite artist from the other side of the fence. Let us guide you through what Reading and Leeds allows, with a breakdown of what to take and what to leave at home, factoring in the festival’s official rules. Check out our full guide to Festival essentials here.
- Weather-wise clothing
- Sturdy footwear
- Camping gear – including tents, pegs and poles, floor fabric, sleeping bags and a pillow
- Phone and portable charger
- Camera and portable charger
- Fresh wipes
- Sun cream
- Ticket (duh)
What not to take:
- Aerosols over 250 ml
- Air horns/megaphones
- Gas canisters
- Pets or any animals unless a registered hearing/guide dogs
- Anything with a fake or ‘unauthorised’ Leeds/Reading festival logo
- Weapons or weapon-like items
- Paper Lanterns
Things that aren’t allowed in arenas (but are fine for the campsite):
- Fitted gas canisters in campervans
- Disposable barbecues or cooking stoves
- Audio recorders
- Bags larger than an A4 piece of paper
- Alcohol (permitted until 6pm Sunday)
You can also read our festival essentials guide for more info on what to take and what to leave at home.
Top tip: make sure you check the weather before you pack. This is the UK after all and our rainy days are hardly sparse. Find more tips for how to survive a festival in the rain.