LIVE: Reading Festival 2019 – Sunday

By Punktastic

While ‘British Festival Season’ often conjures thoughts of muddy fields, populated almost solely with last-minute welly purchases, this year’s Reading Festival brought only sunshine and across the whole weekend.

Pulling from all of Punktastic’s very favourite genres, it’s one of our most anticipated times of the year, and 2019’s line-up had us drooling with excitement for months before the bank holiday weekend rolled around. Regardless of the weather, we love Reading, and this year the sweltering heat (coupled with litres and litres of water), made for an unforgettable weekend – one we can’t wait to repeat all over again in 2020.

Words: Yasmin Brown [YB], Catie Allwright [CA]; Images: Tash Greene, Matt Higgs

White Reaper

Sunday kicks off with a little indie-rock provided by the wonderful White Reaper. It would be brilliant (and well deserved) if everyone in The Pit / The Lock Up tent was here to see the band on stage, but realistically, a large portion of the crowd are sitting down and seeking respite from the sun. Either way, they couldn’t have chosen a better band than White Reaper to accidentally stumble upon. Upbeat, summery garage punk, they’re a little bit heavier than your standard indie band with some rock and roll riffs from vocalist and guitarist Tony Esposito, guitarist Hunter Thompson, and bassist Sam Wilkerson. Everyone taps their feet along to the beat of Nick Wilkerson’s drums and you can’t help but dance to Ryan Hater’s keys. The set peaks, however, during the performance of ‘Judy French’, taken from their 2017 album ‘The World’s Best American Band’ – it’s clearly their best-known track, perfectly setting Reading up for another afternoon of fun. [CA]


If there’s any one band on today’s lineup that was built to open main stage slots at festivals such as Reading and Leeds, it’s SWMRSat least in regards to their fanbase. Their early main stage slot brings in the masses, all of whom seem unconditionally loyal and dedicated to this band. Accompanied by weird and wonderful background graphics, SWMRS are perfectly in sync with one another, highlighting the time spend perfecting this set. Met with an insanely loud crowd, SWMRS are given the opportunity during this set to be the pop-punk/rock band they aspire to be, and while there are moments where it feels authentic, when you take away the enthusiasm of the crowd, there are moments in which this label feels forced and disingenuous. The band’s music does stand out among the masses, particularly with hits such as ‘Trashbag Baby’, but it may be a while before SWMRS find their feet in regards to performing in a way that seems defined by them, rather than fitting into a label with which they’d like to identify. [YB]

Mayday Parade

Comparatively, Florida’s favourite pop-punk band, Mayday Parade, know exactly who they are after over a decade of writing and playing music together. The main stage backdrop simply reads, ‘Mayday Parade is an emotion’, and boy do we concur. As always, frontman Derek Sanders bounces across the stage barefoot, donning a t-shirt that bluntly states, ‘Thank God for good people’. Again, we are in agreement. Despite the fact that the band’s longtime drummer, Jake, isn’t in attendance, the band are as put together as ever, blasting through their hits during a set that feels far too short for a band of this calibre and who have so much more to share with this Reading crowd. It’s a shame, then, that they use 3 of their precious minutes to play a cover of The Killers’ ‘Mr Brightside’, rather than pulling another song from their own lengthy discography, however it works in getting passive bystanders involved, and so while it’s a shame for fans, Mayday Parade definitely know how to command a festival crowd. [YB]

The Faim

As you wander around the festival grounds, it’s impossible to miss the endless promo for Aussie pop punk band The Faim. The hype pays off, too, as there’s a big crowd and even bigger energy at the BBC Radio 1 stage during their early afternoon slot. Josh Raven’s vocals sound extremely similar to Brendon Urie – which can only be a compliment – with the instrumental quality and a sense of fun from the band to back him up. Raven dances, jumps and runs through the crowd amidst orange and yellow strobe lighting, matching his yellow jumpsuit and the huge band logo, met only with enthusiasm before the set finishes with the 2018 track ‘Summer Is a Curse’, rounding off a memorable performance with a bang. [CA]

Stand Atlantic

Everyone seems to know the opening track from Stand Atlantic, a pop punk quartet from Sydney. Vocalist Bonnie Fraser encourages us to crowd-surf, with guitarist David Potter threatening to come and show us how it’s done. Somehow, the majority of The Pit / The Lock Up tent ends up sitting in lines on the ground and rowing. Demanding this level of movement from the crowd seems to work, as everyone is having a good time and singing along to tracks from last year’s album release, ‘Skinny Dipping’, and the 2017 EP ‘Sidewinder’. Overall – kudos to their ability to work a crowd, but the music itself doesn’t stand out as anything spectacular. [CA]


The sun continues to beat down on the main stage as Yungblud takes to the stage in a black, silk slip, which is just about all anyone can bear to have on their bodies in this heat. His energy is unwavering from the very first to the very last moment of his set, and his pure happiness at the scene in front of him is contagious, with each grin that spreads on his face quickly appearing on the faces of the crowd members, too. A definite highlight of the set comes as Machine Gun Kelly appears to perform the pair’s collaboration (alongside Travis Barker), ‘I Think I’m Okay’ – an appearance that sees the crowd lose their minds even more than they had been just seconds earlier. The more Yungblud gives, the more his fans reflect this energy. Yungblud is clearly overwhelmed by the turn out, and by the number of fans screaming back the lyrics, and he gives his all, pushing through the heat as though it’s not awfully uncomfortable to be leaping around the stage as he is. This all goes a long way in making him all the more likeable, and while his music is certainly niche, there’s simply no way you could walk away from this set without your heart feeling a little warmer for this Yorkshire lad. [YB]

nothing, nowhere.

Sadly, over in The Pit, nothing, nowhere. is held up, meaning that what should have been a 30-minute set is just four songs long. That said, he gives his all to what little time he’s able to offer us, slowly gaining confidence and moving his eyes from the floor to the crowd in front of him. It’s a shame we’re not able to enjoy this set for longer, as nothing, nowhere. proves himself to be even more fierce on stage than on record, inciting more emotion than you could think possible through the power of his voice combined with the hard-hitting lyrics of songs that explicitly broach his struggles. ‘hammer’ undoubtedly receives the greatest response from the crowd, and by this point, nothing, nowhere. is seemingly more comfortable on stage and encourages a pit – a request to which fans are quick to oblige. With faultless execution of each of his songs, never missing a breath as he raps through his four most popular songs to date, the set brings about emotions that you feel yourself holding onto long after nothing, nowhere. walks off stage. Our only criticism is that it wasn’t longer. [YB]


If you haven’t made it to the Radio 1 tent with plenty of time before the Amazons take to the stage, you’re out of luck, as the tent overflows to the point that there are just as many fans watching the screens outside as there are watching the stage under cover. For the Amazons, this is a hometown show, and it’s clear their southern fanbase is overjoyed to catch them on such a momentous occasion. The band is powerful, and it’s evident that in the past 12 years, as they’ve gone from fans crushed against the barrier to performers on this very same stage, they have grown and matured monumentally over time. With a surprise appearance from Yonaka’s Theresa Jarvis, the set reaches its peak shortly before it draws to a close, at which point fans watch as Amazons’ drummer Joe Emmett proceeds to all but destroy his kit. Actions like this make it hard to respect bands, particularly when most start as artists struggling to afford even one kit, and it puts a dampener on an otherwise spectacular set. [YB]


In contrast to Amazons’ disappointing finale, Anteros are truly a pleasure to watch. Laura Hayden floats around stage in a black puffball outfit, flicking her hair and singing from the front barrier while adorning the crowd’s bucket hats. Anteros’ debut album ‘When We Land’ was released a few months ago, featuring funky indie pop gems like ‘Afterglow’, ‘Fool Moon’, and ‘Breakfast’, which pepper their Reading set list. Naturally, many artists use their Reading platform to send a message – Anteros’ is that we need more women in music, more festivals supporting female artists, and more women supporting women to give them freedom to be whoever the fuck they want to be. Amen to that. [CA]

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

19 years ago, Frank Carter came to Reading Festival as a “small, ginger, much less tattooed man”. Third on the main stage lineup were Foo Fighters. Fast forward to 2019 and the Foos are headlining with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes taking the third spot, which also happens to be the last night of their tour together. As this legendary British punk rock band deserves, the crowd is vast, and Carter has the charm to command it; cheekily blowing kisses, keeping us bouncing and introducing us to “the most beautiful girl in the world”, his daughter. Guitarist Dean Richardson is clearly having the time of his life, playing behind his head and joining Carter as he crowd surfs before returning safely to the stage: “We’re only as strong as our foundations. And if you people are our foundation, we’re going to be just fine”. ‘Wild Flowers’ is dedicated to the women in the crowd, particularly those who have suffered at the hands of men (including domestic violence, sexual harassment and misogyny), and women are encouraged up as the only crowdsurfers in a safe environment. The best moment of the set is during ‘I Hate You’ when, without any verbal explanation, a dedication to the UK government appears on screen, followed by reeling through quotes from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his cabinet. Let’s just say, these quotes don’t paint them in a favourable light. Carter’s music has always been politically charged, so it’s unsurprising that the closing screen is about how we can create change together, with a call to arms for people to register to vote. Given the younger audience of Reading Festival, this is exactly the kind of message they should be hearing and acting upon. [CA]


There’s barely room to squeeze into The Pit / The Lock Up for FIDLAR, and the tent is filled with cameras as the LA-based punk rockers are allegedly filming for Netflix. Some post-festival research suggests this might be a regular trick to get the crowd hyped, but if that’s what it takes to get us chanting and causing a scene – so be it. Blasting tracks from the new album ‘Almost Free’, as well as some classics from 2015’s ‘Too’ and 2013’s self-titled ‘FIDLAR’, their lyrics strike a balance between drinking and partying, and the “tragedies and irritations of modern life”. It’s clear how much some songs mean to the crowd, judging by the sing-back during ‘40oz. On Repeat’: “Everybody’s got somebody, everybody but me. Why can’t anybody just tell me that I’m somebody’s?” Following in a similar vein to Frank Carter, lead vocalist Zac Carper opens a ladies-only mosh pit – and we’re at that point in the festival that everyone is exhausted, but only a few hours remain, so there’s nothing left to do but let loose and enjoy ourselves. [CA]

A Day To Remember

Despite arriving on stage 10 minutes late, A Day to Remember are an undeniable highlight of the day. They clearly know their audience well, pulling mostly from their older albums as they make their way through the set. The performance can be said to reach its peak as we’re treated to a surprise inclusion of ‘Sticks and Bricks’, as Jeremy notes that even “if you’ve seen our band before, you probably haven’t seen this before”. Cue a deafening roar emerging from the guts of each crowd member. From the (very) dangerous ‘crowd surfing on top of a crowd surfer’, to the copious amounts of pyrotechnics, to the momentary appearance of a t-shirt canon during ‘Degenerates’, to rolls of toilet paper flying around during ‘All Signs Point to Lauderdale’, this is a performance to remember. It’s not only a whole lot of fun, but it’s also well put together and thought out, with each song more well-received than the last – ensuring that as the set draws to a close, we’re only left wanting so much more. [YB]

Enter Shikari

Sunday is nearing its close now, and Enter Shikari are back for the third time, ready to take on The Pit. Today’s sweaty mayhem is a stark contrast to yesterday’s sweet acoustic set, as Rou Reynolds wastes no time in running around the tent and climbing the staging, shirtless and wearing a bucket hat. The seemingly endless supply of streamers, as well as the culmination of sounds created both on stage and in the crowd, are manic – to the point of being overwhelming – yet there’s not a single moment in this set where you find yourself wishing any part of it would stop. This is the kind of set that suits Shikari best, taking you back to the club gigs where fans were given finger lights long before Coldplay ever brought in those light up bracelets. While Reynolds comments on the nerves and butterflies that inevitably precede playing Reading Festival, the band have never looked so comfortable and at home as they do right now. The set comes to a close under a confetti rainfall as we scream along to ‘Live Outside’ for the final time this weekend. It’s clear we can all agree that the beauty and diversity that Reynolds speaks of in relation to Reading Festival is now present in us all. [YB]


Basement have played Reading three times before and the sparse crowd are ready to welcome them back again, this time on the Festival Republic stage. An inflatable ball has migrated over to the Festival Republic stage from A Day To Remember’s earlier set, but this isn’t an audience that needs gimmicks. It would be hard to call this a ‘fun’ set, but it’s certainly heartfelt and it’s apparent by the response that those in attendance are genuine fans. The set list digs deep into the British punk band’s repertoire, with tracks from the 2018 album ‘Beside Myself’ all the way back to ‘Colourmeinkindness’ from 2012. Basement are potentially a better when headlining their own show, but an opportunity to see them live in any setting shouldn’t be sniffed at. [CA]

Foo Fighters

If you can think of a single better way to end your weekend than spending three hours with the almighty Foo Fighters, we’d like to hear it. There are fireworks from the moment they take to the stage, ensuring we’re well aware this is going to be a show to remember (as if we didn’t already know), with guitar and drum solos increasing what would otherwise be four minute songs to nearly 10 minutes each. If you went into this evening wondering how the hell the Foos were going to stretch out their set to the full three hours, the first 30 minutes answer this question. The drum kit seems to stretch the full width of the stage (the bass drum features an image of Noel and Liam Gallagher in what seems to be a Reading-wide petition to get Oasis back together…), and drummer Taylor Hawkins makes sure to use every element of the kit throughout the band’s time on the main stage.

The night is made up of good spirits, good humour, and really fucking good music – a trio that’s more than enough to ensure everyone in attendance feels that their time is being well spent. From a dedication to Keith Richards (“I wanna see some Prodigy shit”) during ‘Run’, to covers of Queen’s ‘Under Pressure’ and AC/DC’s ‘Let There Be Rock’, to a duet of ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ with the one and only Rick Astley, this set isn’t just an ode to Foo Fighters, it’s an ode to rock music as a whole. We don’t even mind the side steps away from the Foos’ own music, as with the set being so long, this tactic perfectly involves everyone in attendance and guarantees that the crowd stays jam packed from start to finish.

Foo Fighters are nothing if not versatile, bringing with them to the stage a team of back up singers to accompany their band – an unusual sight at a rock show. But that’s just it, this isn’t ‘just’ a rock show. It’s a blues show and a comedy show, too, and whether you’re a longtime fan of the Foos, a casual fan, or just along for the ride, there is something for everyone to enjoy over the course of the evening.

We are blessed to have this band, and the fact that we are lucky enough to be able to close our entire weekend with such legendary musicians is not lost on us. There are times you find yourself pinching yourself as a reminder that, yes, that really is the Dave Grohl, and yes, we are stood in a field of tens of thousands of people who are just like us. Music – and, in this instance, Foo Fighters in particular – brings people together in a way very little else can, and we live in a time where our weekends can be made up of every sub-genre under the ‘alternative’ umbrella – and we are so very grateful that Reading Festival continues to thrive. May next year (somehow) be even greater. [YB]

Click here to view the full final day gallery.