Arctic Monkeys, The 1975, and Halsey take to the stage at Reading Festival 2022

“Arctic Monkeys and The 1975… get your fishnets, Dr Martens, Stone Island and Fred Perry out,” joked Matty Healy, lead singer of The 1975 who had stepped in last moment to headline the Sunday of Reading Festival, in place of Rage Against the Machine.

And he wasn’t wrong. With the lineup also featuring Wolf Alice, Fontaines DC, Bastille and Circa Waves, just to name a few, the festival was an indie kid’s dream come true.

However something that Reading Festival did exceptionally well this year was book a diverse range of acts, covering all genres and ensuring that there really was someone for everyone.

Bright and early at Friday noon Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes opened the MainStage, sending riotous waves through the site and letting everyone know that Reading Festival had officially begun. 

Donning a ‘Peg The Patriarchy’ shirt that was thrown onto the stage, Frank in his usual style encouraged the crowd to go wild, (at one point telling the stage manager, “I’ll cut a song for a mosh pit”) create circle pits and of course keep the space as safe as possible, especially for women. 

Also quick side note, we may have got to see a bit more of Frank Carter than anticipated, (cue all the audience videos of the singer stripping to his boxers and then going one step further…). 

Indie-alt rock band Wallows, walked onto the MainStage West to the Indiana Jones theme tune in their first ever UK festival performance. The excitement, both for fans and the band was palpable, and crowds of people gathered to see Wallows play their first UK show in three years.

Reading Festival crowds can either be the best crowds an artist will ever play to, or the worst. Sometimes the multiple cans of dark fruits and potential overheating from extensive bucket hat wearing can send the young kids in the crowd into a dangerous frenzy. However, for Wallows, it was heartwarming to see thousands of people, greeting the band with possible the best reception of the weekend. Kids went crazy for them, singing along to every song, dancing, jumping, and even rowing at one point much to the musician’s amusement. 

And of course what is a great audience without a great band? Wallows took to their first ever Reading Festival like a duck to water, their genuine enjoyment creating a beautiful atmosphere, as they stormed through hit after hit, even finding time to throw a cheeky One Direction cover in there.

From the get-go, All Time Low got everyone laughing, the audience going wild as they open with their iconic track Dear Maria before cutting it and telling the crowd, “that was really good, but we do that one last!” Instead, they went straight into Lost in Stereo, treating fans to a mix of old favourites and hits from their latest album “Wake Up Sunshine” throughout the set and of course, ending in true All Time Low fashion, with Dear Maria. 

The stand-out festival bookings, Megan the Stallion, Dave, and Fever 333 brought the Friday night to a close, each bringing their own unique flair to the night, whether that be telling the cameraman “make sure you’re getting my ass for this one”, (Megan), becoming the youngest ever solo musician to headline Reading and Leeds (Dave) or climbing up the stage rig with a guitar and leaving it hanging off the lights (Fever).

The sun was out for Day 2, with once again a hugely diverse range of acts playing throughout the day. 

Nu-metal, bubblegum pop musician, Poppy played MainStage west, effortlessly going from near-whisper singing to screaming the words to a rousing chorus. Intriguing, beautiful and incredibly talented, her ‘poised punk’ persona lead to a rememberable set, that you couldn’t take your eyes off. 

Over on BBC Introducing, singer-songwriter Christian Alexander performed solo, just him and his guitar, showing that he didn’t need any bells and whistles to play a lovely, intimate set that proved his exquisite musicianship and beautiful voice. 

Arctic Monkeys kept their mature, vintage, jazz lounge aesthetic from their most recent album going with a beautiful disco ball centre stage, the screens featuring a retro tinge. But Alex Turner’s boyish charm crept through as he greeted the crowd with a simple “Hello Reading”, just before igniting fans with Brainstorm. Playing hits from AM to lesser played songs like “Potion Approaching” the band’s catalogue is diverse and extensive, and will only grow with the announcement of the new album The Car.

Sunday-Funday as the saying goes, and at Reading Festival 2022 this was proved to be true with sets from Ashnikko, Charlie XCX, Chloe Moriondo, Police Car Collective and of course The 1975.  

 Having suffered from food poisoning during her Leeds performance, Halsey was back in full force for her Reading set and ready to give the crowd “two days’ worth of energy in one show”.

Opening with ‘Nightmare’, images of abortion ban protests flashed up onto the screen, the lyrics “Come on, little lady, give us a smile”

No, I ain’t got nothin’ to smile about,” becoming a poignant and necessary statement. 

Halsey poured her heart and soul into her performance, giving us what was probably our favourite set of the weekend. Fierce and powerful with incredible talent, she was a true rockstar, the mesmerising stage effects not diverting people’s attention from the singer in the slightest.

Last up was The 1975. Having been a last-minute substitute for Rage Against the Machine, and with a few new tracks already out, it was a wonder if the band were going to use this as an opportunity to share more music from their new album. But instead, fans got a real treat with what Matty Healy referred to as “banger after banger”. The performance essentially was a The 1975 greatest hits. It was upbeat, fun and the perfect ending to a great weekend. Plus Matty as always threw some iconic one-liners into the mix, our personal favourite said just before Sex from the first album, “All my songs are about blow jobs, here’s the original”.

Tickets for Reading Festival 2023 are on sale now.

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