The greatest Reading & Leeds Festival moments

28 August 2020, 20:00

Daphne & Celeste, Arctic Monkeys, Nirvana and Guns N'Roses
Daphne & Celeste, Arctic Monkeys, Nirvana and Guns N'Roses. Picture: Andy Willsher/Mick Hutson/Redferns/Will Ireland/Metal Hammer Magazine/Future via Getty Images

Reading and Leeds are two of the most iconic festivals in the UK. We've taken a look at some of the most notorious moments from over the years.

Every band that has become anything has graced the stage of Reading or Leeds festival at some point. As the 2020 festivals have been cancelled, let's take a look back at some of the most famous (and infamous) artists and sets.

  1. Arctic Monkeys make a splash, 2005

    Back in 2005, Arctic Monkeys were fast becoming the most talked about band in the country. Their era-defining debut still wouldn't be released for another six months when they stepped out on the Carling Stage at Reading Festival that year, but the hype was already overwhelming. On a year when Pixies, Foo Fighters and Iron Maiden were all headlining, it was a sign of the times that the most talked about act from the weekend were four scruffy lads from Sheffield

  2. Jamie T makes a hero's return, 2014

    He'd been out of the limelight for five years and many fans had long given up hope on him returning. But, as Jamie T announced his return in the summer of 2014, excitement began to build. Leeds may have missed out, but when Jamie suddenly jumped on the stage at Reading, word circulated around the festival site like wildfire. His set was stuffed full of new tunes and hits and, more than anything, signified that Jamie T was back in a big way.

  3. 50 Cent Gets bottled off, 2004

    The rapper's appearance on the bill in 2004 was greeted with much controversy - Get Rich Or Die Trying may well have been one of the biggest selling LPs on the planet, but with punters paying to see Green Day, Placebo, The White Stripes, The Offspring and more, he was never going to be greeted warmly. What ensued was one of the festival's worst ever bottling incidents, but the festival stood firm in their commitment to bring audiences the most compelling acts in the world.

  4. Nirvana play their last ever UK show, 1992

    Easily one of the most iconic festival performances of all time, Nirvana headlining Reading Festival 1992 has gone down in rock n' roll history. Pushed onstage in a wheelchair, Kurt Cobain played up to the rumours of drug abuse and ill health - and went on to perform an era-defining set. It would be the last show they played on UK soil.

  5. Guns N' Roses take their time, 2010

    Following the long-awaited release of Chinese Democracy, the new incarnation of Guns N' Roses were still a hot topic. And, in true Axl Rose style, the band were roughly an hour late on stage, causing the show to be pulled early. A visibly disgruntled Rose had to close the set by playing Paradise City with nothing more than a guitar and a megaphone.

  6. Daphne And Celeste are unwelcome, 2000

    Like 50 Cent in 2004, pop duo Daphne and Celeste were brutally bottled off stage in 2000. In fairness to the duo, they stood their ground and took the abuse like champions. Plus, wherever they are now, they can sleep easy in the knowledge that they gave the world the above clip.

  7. Manic Street Preachers make their debut as a trio, 1994

    1994 was a rough year for the Manics. In July, guitarist Richey Edwards was sent to rehab and rumours that the band were about the split were rife. But the group performed at Reading as a trio instead of cancelling. They showed the crowds that, despite everything, they were strong enough to carry on. When Edwards disappeared the following year, it was this line-up that would continue to huge success.