Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Interactive Reading & Leeds poster with videos!

Now this is quite cool: scroll over the image to view videos from the bands playing this year. Annoyingly, it just goes to show how many of these bands have played in previous years, with most of the videos taken from the last two years. Nevertheless, enjoy!

Foo Fighters // Sell out Saturday at Reading

So Foo Fighters did the inevitable, even more so than them playing the festival this year - they've only gone and sold out the Sunday day tickets. Tough luck if you were planning on going for the unquestionably best day, but it's sold out much quicker than last year.

Last year it took weeks to sell out a day ticket, and overall took 127 days for weekend tickets to go. That's right, onehundredandtwentyseven days. Gone are the days of the site crashing and only coming up to be sold out minutes to midnight (speaking of which, why aren't Linkin Park there this year?).

But at least it is showing some signs of recovering. Selling out a day ticket at Reading this year, considering the just-about-acceptable-compared-to-previous-years line-up, is quite an achievement. However, when will they reach the ultimate goal of selling out the whole weekend? With the economic climate, and the line-up taken into account: June. I hope it sells out in May or April; but being honest it is unlikely. Almost unlikely as people actually enjoying Paramore at the festival.

Monday, 19 March 2012

“The best is yet to come” for Reading Festival

This article was written for my English AS GCE after getting an interview with the head of Reading Festival. Ace, right? After completing the awesome interview, I had to type up what you see before you - enjoy (please?)!

Revealing plans ahead of this year’s Latitude and Reading festivals, Melvin Benn, organiser at Festival Republic, dismisses the past and looks towards the future as he claims that this will be their best year yet.

As Melvin Benn finishes his third coffee of the day, he receives another email on his computer. After last year’s slow sales, this is a man who needs to get it right this year. But the pressure hasn’t got to him quite yet as he thumbs through his packed schedule for the day. He explains how there is rarely a day where he isn’t up before 6am, which only adds to the stress and pressure of the job. He quickly flicks past this year’s line-up, before adding “not quite yet” and turning away from the computer with a wry smile.

The powers that be have already called off The Big Chill due to the presence of the Summer Olympics, and with the absence of Glastonbury this year, will this affect his festivals this year? He doesn’t know. “The truth is, nobody knows really” Melvin shrugs as he suggests that perhaps “weaker” or “smaller” festivals will be hit the hardest. I question whether he believes any of his festivals are one of the supposedly weaker festivals. Almost annoyed at the suggestion of this he quickly disagrees, going as far to say that Latitude and Reading are among the strongest festivals in the world. He also dismisses the view that Glastonbury would help in anyway. “I don’t think it will hinder it but I don’t think it will help it." The Festival Republic organiser kindly orders me a tea, as he ignores another email coming though.

Although he argues his festivals are among the strongest in the world, this doesn’t hide the fact neither of the festivals sold particularly well last year. Reading took 127 days to sell out compared to mere hours of previous years ; Latitude took until the day of the festival itself to sell out. There are two explanations as to why this might have happened: the line-up and the recession. "I think it's a bit of both actually, I think the recession and the line-up might not have been as attractive to the Reading festival goers as some of the other line-ups were or are."

After the hard work and countless hours he puts into festivals year upon year he hesitates to say that Reading wasn't as strong, but after stating so he explains how he plans to rectify that this year. I asked him whether he had gone bigger or for something different this year, with his response that "bigger or better are quite subjective but I'd like to think we have gone more relevant this year." Taking a sip of his coffee, it's clear his experience with his first event of a Margaret Thatcher protest have stayed with him in regards to avoiding answering questions directly.

In 2006 he launched Latitude as a new festival with the eye to add something that he felt festivals were missing. "I genuinely do think it’s a complete innovation in what a festival can be," he proudly states. It has started something different, with it not just being about the music, but with a new focus on comedy and theatre. However, with it not selling out as quickly last year, has he got any plans to correct that this year? He believes it may be down to the unique style being copied now. "They say that being copied is the ultimate praise, and I think Latitude is being copied all over the place now."

I wouldn't blame you at this point if you fancy a tea break, or coffee break, or an alcoholic beverage even. Feel free, but when you're done the second part of my article is below for you