Headliners Top Huge Reading & Leeds 2016 Weekend

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Five Huge Headline Performances From Foals, Disclosure, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fall Out Boy and Biffy Clyro Top Biggest Line-up to Date

With an unprecedented five headliners on this year’s line-up, Reading & Leeds 2016 saw 170,000 festival fans treated to unforgettable sets from Foals, Disclosure, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fall Out Boy and Biffy Clyro alongside hundreds of performances from an array of artists, bands, DJs and comedians on the biggest weekend of music this summer. Weekend and Instalment tickets for Reading & Leeds Festivals 2017 will be on sale Tuesday 30 August at 9am, for a limited time at 2016 prices.

Graduating to headline status, Friday at Reading and Saturday at Leeds saw Foals and Disclosure play career defining sets to huge crowds at the Main Stage. Having been a highlight of the festival as secret guests in 2015, Foals returned to the festivals battle-ready this year playing an epic set spanning their four albums and including a rare outing for early fan favourite ‘Cassius’ as well as an appearance from co-headliners Disclosure during ‘Two Steps Twice’. Also on fine form, Disclosure proved the rude health of the UK’s dance music scene with a set that kept the crowd moving from beginning to end. With huge stage production the bass-loving brothers Lawrence wowed the crowds with the incredible garage-tinged house of last year’s album ‘Caracal’ alongside huge hits from their breakthrough ‘Settle’.

Red Hot Chili Peppers performed an unbelievable, career-spanning set on Saturday at Reading and the closing night of Leeds demonstrating exactly why their success has been so enduring. Delving into a back catalogue spanning four decades the undisputed rock legends had huge crowds singing along from the first line of opener ‘Can’t Stop’ to the final bars of ‘Give It Away’.

Scottish heroes Biffy Clyro returned triumphant to the top slot on Sunday at Reading and Friday at Leeds. Armed with their new, chart-topping LP ‘Ellipsis’ including instant classic ‘Wolves Of Winter’, the three piece once again proved their status as the UK’s biggest and best rock band. Mon the Biff! More than worthy co-headliners, US superstars Fall Out Boy stepped up to the plate with one of the most anthemic, energetic sets of the entire weekend, drawing huge crowds in the process.

With a special opening performance from Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, the incendiary stage debut of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, the extraordinary audio-visual onslaught of Die Antwoord, Chvrches' amazing signature electronic pop, the Grammy Award winning Imagine Dragons (who described the experience as “One of the best festivals in the world. Nothing compares to Reading and Leeds Festival”) and much, much more, the Main Stage was once again an eclectic mix of musical heavyweights. 

The NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage once again proved one of the festival’s most thrilling destinations with headline slots from Diplo and Skrillex’s Jack Ü, Irish indie rockers Two Door Cinema Club and the unstoppable, irrepressible The 1975. Twenty One Pilots delivered one of the most incendiary sets the festival has ever seen and performance from the likes of hip-hop royalty Nas and future superstar Jack Garratt will live long in the memory.

In the biggest year for the genre yet, Grime took pride of place at this year’s festivals bringing scene stalwarts and future stars together across both sites. Lead by brothers Skepta and JME, Boy Better Know brought some early pyro to the festival for a truly unforgettable debut Main Stage appearance whilst the BBC 1Xtra stage saw packed headline sets from grime godfather Wiley, man of the moment Stormzy.  Mercury Prize nominated Kano performed a blistering set whilst rising star Elf Kid rocked the Jägerhaus at Reading and London legend Giggs took on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage. 

Those looking to dance spent their weekend at the BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage where Oliver Heldens, Duke Dumont and garage legend DJ EZ headed up a cast featuring some of the biggest talent from the UK and beyond. 

The Pit and The Lock Up provided a one stop shop for all things rock, metal and punk, showcasing massive names including Mastodon, Asking Alexandria and Good Charlotte alongside upcoming talent like Milk Teeth, Creeper, Greywind and fast rising Leeds act Fighting Caravans.

Comedians Bill Bailey, Russell Howard, Sara Pascoe and Lee Nelson all made appearances on the Alternative Stage alongside ‘People Just Do Nothing’ stars Kurupt FM whilst the Festival Republic Stage hosted a varied line-up including The Gaslight Anthem main man Brian Fallon and the Crowes, indie stars Maxïmo Park, Australian rockers The Temper Trap, Watford squad The Hunna and the beautiful voice of Låpsley. 

On the Thursday the Dance To The Radio Stage kicked off the party at Leeds with Blood Red Shoes headlining a line-up including grunge rockers The Wytches. Leeds also played host to the Relentless Stage which house a massive dance line-up featuring Jaguar Skills and Andy C whilst the Jack Rocks This Feeling Stage hosted an array of upcoming talent culminating in Liverpool band Judas running straight from the stage to make an impromptu performance on the Main Stage.  Over at Reading the Jägerhaus played host to Gnarwolves, Shikari Sound System, Hinds and The Skints. 

As ever fans were treated to a few surprises across the Bank Holiday Weekend including UK rock titans and veterans of the Main Stage You Me At Six who played packed secret shows on The Pit at both sites. Forever championing new talent, the BBC Introducing Stage saw big acts come back to pay their respects for the leg up and Blossoms, Slaves and Clean Cut Kid all taking the time out to play intimate, but no less raucous secret shows, to those lucky enough to get there in time.

Reflecting on the weekend, Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn says: 

“I knew 2016 was going to be a great year for Reading and Leeds, with five headliners over three days and sold out crowds. I’m so proud of the line-up and the fact we’re still giving fans the best music line up. I was blown away by Fall Out Boy’s set and it was great having Biffy Clyro back at the festivals, closing Reading with an incredible stage production last night. Red Hot Chili Peppers delivered a set even more impressive than their previous in 2007. Disclosure co-headlined alongside Foals; a band who have risen through the Reading and Leeds ranks and proved they truly belong on the Main Stage, that performance was a long time coming. Thank you to everyone who made this weekend one to remember, I look forward to seeing you again in 2017.”


BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra and BBC Four broadcasted from the festival, allowing fans without tickets the chance to enjoy some of the incredible artists playing across the festival.

Published on 30 August 2016 by Ben Robinson

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