Reading & Leeds 2019 Festival Preview

By Gem Rogers

When it comes to world-famous festivals, the UK is blessed with more than a few – and Reading & Leeds is one of the biggest and best there is, not to mention one of the oldest. With a rotation of bands performing across the two sites over three days, there’s plenty for everyone with seemingly endless genres covered; looking back over past line-ups is a who’s-who of legends across the popular music world, and they’ve given plenty of stage time to rock and alternative over the years too.

This year’s line-up is no different, with grime, pop, hip hop and rap sharing space alongside plenty of rock and metal. It’s a haven for people with varied music tastes, and the perfect place for everyone to discover something new – so, with that in mind, here’s fifteen of our must-see picks for this weekend.


Twin Atlantic

Main Stage, 14.00

Twin Atlantic are back! It’s been a while since we heard much from this Glaswegian four, and four years since they last played Reading + Leeds, so this is a more than welcome return. We’re still waiting on the follow up to 2016’s ‘GLA’, but this set will be packed with heavy-hitting rock anthems and Sam McTrusty’s distinctive vocals – if anything can get the sun to come out on the main stage early on this weekend, it’s Twin Atlantic.

Dream State

The Lock Up, 17.00

Rising Welsh post-hardcore stars Dream State are on a serious roll this year. With one headline tour – featuring plenty of sold-out shows – and numerous festival appearances already under their belt, and another six date headliner to come later this year along with (hopefully) more new music, their appearance at Reading & Leeds is another glittering gem in their 2019 crown. Their lively and powerful live performances consistently blow everyone away, so if you’re not acquainted with them yet, now is the time – and if you are, well then, you already know this is an essential set, don’t you? We’ll see you there.

You Me At Six

Main Stage, 17.25

Another festival, another You Me At Six set – truly, we have been spoiled this year. This time, they’re coming in fresh from the release of a surprise new single, ‘What’s It Like’, so it’s to be hoped we’ll be treated to some of the new stuff in this 45 minute set. With more than ten years experience – including headline sets at other festivals – under their belts, You Me At Six know how to put on a fantastic show with their uplifting pop rock songs. Prepare your lungs for some mega singalongs.

Laura Jane Grace

The Lock Up, 19.00

Laura Jane Grace is nothing short of punk royalty. Having fronted seminal punk rock outfit Against Me! for more than 20 years, she released her first album with The Devouring Mothers, ‘Bought To Rot’, last year, and now she’s bringing her new material to Reading and Leeds for the first time. Grace is truly one of a kind and an incredible performer, and this varied, introspective new material is sure to bring some powerful moments to the stage.

The Maine

The Lock Up, 21.05

The most wholesome band in rock music are back, taking to The Lock Up to bless our ears for a beautiful evening. Slightly confusingly hailing from Arizona, the five piece have a catalogue of affirming and infuriatingly catchy songs, and with only a handful of UK appearances recently, this is a rare opportunity to catch one of the best bands around. Expect plenty from new album ‘You Are OK’ as part of this set, which will leave plenty of smiles on faces – and what could be a better way to end a day?



Main Stage, 12.00

It’s not often too many people are awake and in the arena by 12pm, especially after day one, but when you’re gifted a main stage opener who are not only worth the early (by festival standards) alarm, but who will also blast any remnants of sleep from your mind, you’ve got yourself the perfect beginning for a fantastic day of music. Londoners Counterfeit deliver melodic punk rock with serious groove and impactful, honest lyrics. It may have been more than two years since the release of debut album ‘Together We Are Stronger’, but the band have been playing their upcoming sophomore in full on recent tour dates – so expect plenty of new stuff here, too.

Against The Current

Main Stage, 13.35

When it comes to energetic, anthemic, earwormy-as-hell pop rock, New Yorkers Against The Current have the market cornered. Led by the effervescent and eternally pitch perfect Chrissy Costanza, these three will be capable of brightening even the darkest of days (and, let’s face it, it’s a UK summer festival. It’ll probably be raining), and their songs are made for big stages like this – bring your best dance moves for this one.

Boston Manor

BBC Radio 1 Stage, 13.45

If you’re looking for a band who are about to (and already beginning to) take over the world, look no further than this five from Blackpool. Their 2018 album ‘Welcome To The Neighbourhood’ is a phenomenally powerful collection of songs, building significantly on their 2016 debut. Their live performances are no light touch, either – Boston Manor go hard, and Boston Manor fans go harder, resulting in the kind of energy that could start an earthquake. It won’t be long before these guys are taking main stages by storm, so make sure you join this ride early.

Blood Youth

The Pit, 17.00

Reading & Leeds may not dip into the heavier stuff too often, but when they do, they really pull out the best. Melodic hardcore and nu-metal combine in Blood Youth’s fierce and furious tracks that become even more visceral on stage, the strength of their lyrics reflected in front man Kaya Tarsus’ vocals. This set could spawn the best moshpits of the weekend, and whether you’re a pit-dweller or not, this will be a truly stunning half hour of heavy music.

Twenty One Pilots

Main Stage, 20.05

Are they rock? Hip hop? Pop rock? Rap? Electropop? Who knows, and realistically, who cares – they are, quite simply, Twenty One Pilots, the current titans of all things alternative and leaders of a firmly dedicated fanbase. Occupying a co-headline slot with Post Malone, this is sure to be a huge spectacle of a show from Josh Dun and Tyler Joseph that will prove exactly why they have become so popular. At least one of Team Punktastic will be here doing a big cry, and we’re not going to tell you who. Just… don’t miss this one, alright?


The Faim

BBC Radio 1 Stage, 13.35

Australian musicians are taking over the world these days. How a country with a population that’s 90% spiders manages to produce quite so many bands remains a mystery, but since they’re all so bloody good (the bands, not the spiders) we aren’t inclined to question it too much. Perth foursome The Faim are only a few weeks away from releasing their long-awaited debut album, and bring plenty of their home city’s sunshine into both their music and performances; this will be a set full of big, bold pop rock songs led by a stunning live vocal from front man Josh Raven. These guys are deservedly the definition of Next Big Thing – and if you miss this, you’ll regret it. We don’t make the rules.

Hot Milk

The Pit, 13.40

It feels like we’ve been recommending this lot constantly since the beginning of festival season, as they’ve played just about every major fest going – but you know what? We’re not tired of doing it, and if you haven’t listened yet, then we’ll just keep going until you do. This Manchester lot only have one EP to their name so far, but their emo-power pop is sheer perfection, and their on stage energy is truly infectious; they deserve every festival slot they’ve earned this year, and just like we’ll never tire of recommending them, we’ll never tire of seeing them. Get your dancing shoes on and join us for half an hour of the most fun you’ll have all weekend.

Enter Shikari

Main Stage, 14.15, and The Pit, 19:15

A band who, by this point, barely need any introduction, except to say that if you miss either of their two sets, you are doing yourself a serious disservice. If you were to dream up the perfect festival set, it would look exactly like an Enter Shikari show. There’s sure to be some surprises in store, and there aren’t many bands we’d want to see twice in one day as much as we do this lot. Clear your clashfinder for both, and prepare for the Best. Day. Ever.


Festival Republic Stage, 20.45

Still riding high since the release of their fantastic sophomore album ‘Berkeley’s On Fire’, young California punks SWMRS will be shaking the Festival Republic stage to the ground with their defiant, vibrant anthems. In a world that’s getting increasingly unsettling, there are few things more therapeutic than bellowing angry punk songs en masse, rallying against the madness with meaningful words that offer empowerment and relief. SWMRS are on their way up, and this will be a truly exciting set from rising stars of the future.

Foo Fighters

Main Stage, 20.15

Dave Grohl is so obscenely popular that it’s long been the case that anytime anyone even vaguely connected to him played Reading & Leeds, rumours would fly around that he’d be making an appearance. He never did. Fortunately, he’s guaranteed to make an appearance this time – or at least you’d hope so. Foo Fighters are far from just being the Grohl show, though, and it cannot be disputed that the Foos are one of the best live bands to ever grace the planet. Energetic, flawless, and consistently incredibly enjoyable, there will also be plenty of gigantic singalongs in this mammoth set – so stick ‘Monkey Wrench’ on and get practicing.