Francois van Coke reviews Reading Festival

2012-09-04 09:21
francois van coke
Earlier this year, my wife and I impulsively decided to buy ourselves Reading tickets. Partly because friends of ours would've gone and both of us really wanted to see Foo Fighters perform live. The rest was merely a bonus. It was a short and tiring holiday, but definitely worth it.

We arrived in London on the Wednesday, before the Friday on which the festival started. We hung out with family and old connections for a bit, ate at one of Jamie Oliver's restaurants and had a good time.

On Friday morning, after we bought camping equipment, me, Lauren and four of our friends took the train from Waterloo to Reading. By the afternoon we arrived, took a taxi to the festival and walked around for almost two hours looking for an open camping spot. We camped in the WHITE campsite. Far away from the arena. After we pitched the tents, we were so happy that we first had a few stiff vodkas.

We arrived at the arena at around 19:00, but then realised that we had already missed Coheed & Cambria, Cancer Bats, The Hives and Saves the Day - all bands that I really wanted to see. Missing the bands did not however stop us from downing drinks. By the time The Cure went on stage, I was ready to go to my tent. I also saw a bit of Foster The People, but my memory fails me due to a few Jägermeister's, beers and vodka.

On Saturday morning I was awake at 06:00 already, and then I realised that the previous night was quite unsuccessful in terms of watching music, so I promised Lauren that I would only drink beer for the rest of the weekend.

Green Day is one of my favourite bands since I was a laaitie. Dookie is one of the first albums I ever bought. There were rumours of a surprise show earlier in the week and luckily we heard early that morning that they would open the day at the NME/Radio 1 stage. It was great to see Basket Case and Welcome To Paradise live. Britons love the American band and I think if you play in Green Day you have a wonderful life. Simple sing-along tunes, with an unbelievable live show. Toilet paper guns and all.

The afternoon sauntered on and we spent most of our time at the Main stage. I ordered my first beer by the time that Jack Bugg played in a small tent. He is talked about a lot in England and he recently toured with Noel Gallagher. We couldn't really see much, but the tunes sounded cool. The British describe him as something between Bob Dylan and Arctic Monkeys. It sounds to me like something to check out. Oh yes! And he's only something like 17 years old.

After that the afternoon started picking up with Billy Talent and Enter Shikari, which both of them we've seen in SA. My wife is a fan of Florence + The Machine, so I checked them out and Florence can sing. It was nice. I then convinced our whole team to rather go watch At The Drive In than Kasabian. I've been a fan since their last album was released. They haven't played in about 10 years and it was great to hear all the tunes, but the energy wasn't there like in the old days. I haven't seen them live yet, but I'm talking about live stuff on YouTube. Still awesome and glad I didn't miss it.

The highlights of the last day were three songs from Turbonegro, until my friend Johan Nel decided they're not cool anymore with their new singer. It was his favourite band before the festival. Mark Lanegan, he is one of the singers on my favourite album of all time. Queens of the Stone Age – Songs For The Deaf.

Kaiser Chiefs: The Brits are befok about the band and I am too. Foo Fighters played a three-hour long show of which I sang along for at least an hour. Dave Grohl has the most energy of any man older that 30 I have ever seen. He played that stage for the first time in 1992 with Nirvana. Taylor Hawkins plays the drums almost just as well as Dave. There were fireworks, explosions and Foo Fighters dollars that flew into the air. Thousands of voices singing Best Of You perfectly. It was quite something. After that we ate burgers while Justice Die kept the NME/Radio1 tent going. Reading and this whole mission was worth it. Do it!

*Francois van Coke is the lead singer for Van Coke Kartel and Fokofpolisiekar.

From tent troubles to Foo Fighters fan fare, Francois van Coke says the Reading Music Festival is definitely worth it.
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