Difference between Reading and Leeds?

Jaguar's picture

Submitted by Jaguar on 2012, February 12 - 4:30pm

So me and fellow WikiFestivals user, John were talking about festival TV coverage and we said how the BBC always tend to focus on Reading coverage, but not Leeds. I said that one year they should shake things up and report from Leeds instead...

Well then that got me thinking!

Has anyone here been to both Reading AND Leeds festival? Is there much difference between the both of them or is it literally the same festival, just in two different areas?

Is the atmosphere completely different between the two festivals? Does the location make much difference, are the people who attend different - younger / older etc etc?

Did you prefer one leg over the other?

Really interested to hear your responses!

Same question applies to all the split location festivals, like V Festival (which takes place in Chelmsford in Essex and in South Staffordshire). Is there any difference between them all?

2012, February 16 - 6:16pm

Jaguar, it is an interesting point you make. I have only ever been to Reading as it is closer and have no real desire to go to Leeds to be honest.

I have a friend from down south who has only ever been to Leeds as she went to uni up north and has said that she thinks a festival down here would be crap!

She loves Leeds and reckons that it has to be miles better than Reading. I guess in my eyes I don't really care in all honesty...like I said, I only go to Reading as it is closer, but if I lived in Leeds I would probably go there.

I wonder what bands think as they are the ones that play both during the weekend. Also, if a band headline at Reading on a Saturday and Leeds on a Sunday do you think that there is a different vibe?

It would be interesting to hear it from a bands perspective and see what they have to say on the matter. I bet the crowds are different. Everyone always says it is better up north and the people are more friendly. I can't say as I have never been to a festival up north.

Does Leeds have riots on the Sunday night too then? I imagine it is just us posh southerners who act like that!

I am intrugued to hear if someone on here has been to both (obviously not on the same weekend!)...is it similar? I imagine it has a different atmosphere as the setting and location is totally different...like Glasto and Reading are totally different you know?

2012, February 16 - 11:08pm

I am pretty sure there is a regular user on here (their username escapes me) who said they have been to both. Hopefully they will come along and post in here soon! I would be really interested to hear their thoughts!

I heard Leeds was really bad last year, riot wise. I know Reading sucks for riots, but I read a lot of complaints about Leeds in particular. Maybe they just aren't used to it like us southerners =P. Ha ha. But apparently the general Leeds event felt poorly organized last year. Plus I don't think tickets did too well. Do you think Leeds Festival still has life in it or is it struggling these days?

Like Kizza, I am interested to hear if they are completely different, almost as if they were two different events like Reading / Glasto. Or if they actually do feel like they have some form of 'connection' between them.

2012, February 22 - 8:29pm

I have only been to Leeds fest so I can't compare directly, but I know that the stereotype of friendly northerners doesn't really hold true. People are people, no matter where they're from. There's always going to be nice people and some idiots who like to ruin things for everyone else. Leeds definitely gets a lot of riots, I was always under the impression it was worse than Reading.

I think a lot of the preconceptions that people have about the two legs of the festival come about because people don't get to experience both of them and so the rumours of what the other is like just escalate. I think Leeds always feels like the underdog as it doesn't get the same coverage and isn't as big, but I think the festival organisers play off this. I have seen t-shirts slagging off Reading festival (obviously made by the company that makes the T-shirts for both legs of the event) and I'm sure that they use the different preconceived nature of Leeds festival to help sell tickets to those who think Reading is a bit too posh.

2012, March 17 - 9:13am

Woooo hooo hello guys, I am here to rescue you! I have been to both and have blogged about both. I'm a southerner so the Reading site was always my first choice. I started going there when i was about 15 and even in my 20's when I had moved to Yorkshire I still travelled to Reading with that 'The Reading festival is the main one' preconception.

However, a few years back I moved to Leeds about 15 mins away from the Leeds site so it would be stupid to travel down south. I loved Leeds last year and can honestly say, neither is 'better' but they are very very different.

The Reading site for instance has a great location in the sense that you can wander off site and in to town to top up cheap booze, head to a pub (to use clean loos) and partake in the tradition we had of a TGIFridays cocktail and lunch on the Friday before the bands started. (our one festival treat) The village at Reading is also much bigger and has more going on. Its a bigger site in general so has to accommodate. The down side to Reading is probably all the chaos on the last night. The riots are extreme and the campsite in general is more manic. You get a lot more people packing up and leaving early on a Sunday rather than a Monday. Also if you dont get there on a wednesday then you best like walking!

Leeds is a different beast altogether. Even if there hasn't been any rain, you can guarantee there will be mud. And lots of it! There are less toilets and like I said before the village isnt quite as good. Instead of being on a square like Reading its kind of spread out throughout the campsite so its not as much of a 'campsite arena'. Plus I couldn't find one mexican food stall! Oh the shame! The Leeds festival pros really are that there is a much bigger community spirit in the campsite. There are two big stages for all night raves (The Piccadilly Party was incredible last year) The dance tents are much less busy than the ones at Reading which means you don't get crushed and as the site is smaller you also don't get too exhausted walking round the site. Until the mud sets in that is.

The only other real difference i have found is the weather. Reading is normally blessed with beautiful weather whereas Leeds feels the brunt of the rain.

Hope that helps!!!!!!!

2012, March 19 - 12:33am

Thank you soooo much for that, me and my mates were debating whether to go to Leeds or Reading, we don't mind travelling to either it's just that Reading tickets tend to sell out much quicker.

What about the age range, do you find that differs?

2012, April 20 - 5:09pm

Age wise... I would say Reading is younger. As I think i mentioned before, Leeds is a bit more hardcore. It has to be due to the weather! lol

Reading does have a slight issue with being fashionable so its full of teenagers who just hang around the campsites giving each other hiccies... urrrghhh!

(Although I was 15 in my first year)

2012, March 25 - 8:17pm

CoralHiDef! You genius! Thank you so much for your fantastic and super informative response! So you don't have a particular 'favourite'? Interesting!

This might sound really stupid, but is Reading bigger than Leeds? I don't know why I have always presumed Leeds was smaller attendance wise?

2012, April 20 - 5:07pm

Reading is bigger or at least feels it. This is both good and bad depending on who you are. The walk to the arena is much further for a lot of the Reading campsite but is managed better with raised walkways. Leeds is shorter but a bit like walking in sinking mud!

When you're in the crowds Reading def feels more full especially in the tents. Leeds is more of a main stage venue. I really like the hectic fullness of Reading crowds but did find Leeds refreshing as you can get near the front and dance! Yes thats right... DANCE something that in Reading is a luxury left only for those at the sides or back.

2012, April 26 - 10:05am

No I very much doubt it. The festivals are different but both are ace. Reading is a younger crowd but you very rarely get people that go to both so i think they just get used to thats how it is.

I've had a blast at both so I wouldn't say it ruins it. Just a different experience.

2012, May 4 - 9:30pm

To be honest, going on your (frankly amazing and interesting) responses CoralHiDef - I think I would actually prefer Leeds Festival over Reading...

I am not a big fan of crowds, but at the same time, I hate being stuck up at the back unable to see anything. Plus, as I get progress speedily into my twenties (ha ha), I am becoming a little tired of the teens at Reading. Namely with all the late night rioting and stuff. I feel like their bloody babysitter - not cool ha ha. Whereas you say Leeds attracts an older crowd? What do you mean when you say older - are we talking like mid twenties or like, fourties old? Ha ha.

Okay this is a controversial point but - does anyone wonder if the bands put more effort in at Reading? I say that because...well Reading gets the most coverage from the media. And it is also the one that the BBC cover. So I for some reason have this hang up that they would put on a better performance at Reading than they would at Leeds?

CoralHiDef - are you going to Reading or Leeds this year? What do you think of the line up?