A brief history of Southend bands at Reading Festival


With the exciting news that Nothing But Thieves will be opening the Radio 1 Stage at this year’s Reading Festival 2015 (PS. TOLD YOU they would become massive!), we thought we would give you a reminder of 5 bands from the southeast that have graced one of the more popular festival retreats for Southenders over the years. 

BADDIES – 2009


2009 was the year Southend went MAD for Baddies. So it truly was a triumph to see them grace an absolutely rammed Festival Republic new bands tent that summer. Reading Festival didn’t know what hit them when these dance punks rocked up.




The current Arcaves man Billy Wright worked super hard for years to earn Redtrack’s spot second from top on the BBC Introducing Stage. Considering the size of the small outdoor stage in the centre of the site, these smart lads (featuring Nothing But Thieves’ Phil Blake on bass) drew one of the biggest crowds as the sun started to set, thanks to their army of loyal fans.


GET CAPE. WEAR CAPE. FLY – 2006, 2007, 2008


Sam Duckworth played 3 back to back Reading Festivals under his now ex-project Get Cape. Wear Cape Fly. It really was quite the journey. From being one of the rising new stars in 2006 on the Festival Republic Stage, in one crazy year they had become one of the biggest acts in the UK, with a top 20 silver debut album under their belts. They played fifth from top in the Radio 1 tent in 2007, debatably one of their finest sets.
Their crowning moment came in 2008 however, becoming the first Southend band to play a prestigious Main Stage slot. On the same day as Rage Against The Machine no less. No pressure!


THE HORRORS – 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014


The Reading Festival veterans The Horrors have clocked up an impressive five visits to the Richfield Avenue site. No doubt this is down to their ever evolving sound and ideologies. From their early beginnings as noisy controversial art-rockers, they grew into one of the most prominent new wave/shoegaze bands in the country.
Out of the five appearances, their headline set in the Festival Republic tent in 2012 remains to be the one and only time a Southend band has headlined a stage at Reading & Leeds. Despite their other four appearances being in the higher regarded Radio 1 tent, this show was an astonishing display of just how far the five piece have come since their erratic beginnings.




It’s quite surprising that These New Puritans have only played Reading Festival once, considering the impact their second album had on the music landscape. But back in 2008 when they were one album into their career, they played an early afternoon slot in the Festival Republic new bands tent. Back then they were about precise experimental grooves and ideas. The gritty energy showed from this 4 piece back then is another world from the grandiose soundscapes they bring to the table now. We’d love to see them return to Reading with a small orchestra in tow!

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