With several huge events already crossed off the calendar in 2016, we’re mere days away from Reading & Leeds Festival - an event which every year marks the slow winding down of the festival period. But as ever, the organisers have pulled out all the stops to ensure that the UK festival scene begins its yearly bow out with a bang. Once again we’ve split our Preview coverage in to two huge sections, with this first part focussing on our top picks to check out across the line up, excluding the Lock Up/The Pit stage because Part Two will provide an extensive run down of both these stages. So without any further ado, let’s get stuck in.

Bands To Watch

Whilst recent output may split opinion amongst some of their oldest die hard fans, there is no doubt that booking Red Hot Chili Peppers as UK festival exclusives is a major coup for Reading & Leeds. It’s been nine years since RHCP last headlined the festival so the anticipation for their return has certainly piqued the interest of even the most casual of fans. Releasing The Getaway earlier this year it’s fair to expect that we’ll be getting a couple of new tracks packed amongst a greatest hits set list of tracks which many wouldn’t even get close to rivalling. The band are headlining Reading on the Saturday night and Leeds on the Sunday.


Another huge headliner on the bill this year are the ever impressive Biffy Clyro. We will always stick by the view that the band’s headlining slot at Reading Festival in 2013 was one of the most impressive performances that festival had ever seen, and now with an even greater army of followers behind them and the release of the excellent Ellipsis earlier this year we’re expecting even bigger and better things from their headline slot this time. Biffy Clyro are headlining the Sunday at Reading and Friday at Leeds.

To help epitomise the kind of explosion that has been lit underneath Parkway Drive recently, they’ve bagged themselves a Main Stage slot at Reading & Leeds this year. The band’s live shows have become easily some of the most impressive in all of Metal at the moment and it’s well deserved that this extremely hard working Australian unit have been rewarded for their fine form as of late. When the band released Ire in 2015 it did mark a slightly different path in Parkway Drive’s music, but none of their energy and power waned as they’re set to deliver a potential performance of the weekend. Parkway Drive are playing the Main Stage on Saturday at Reading and Sunday at Leeds. On stage immediately before Parkway Drive, we’ve got probably the most consistent live band in heavy music at the moment. You’re reading this right now, have you ever seen a bad Skindred live show? And if you haven’t seen Skindred live have you ever heard anyone say a mere “yeah, it was alright” from someone who had? The answer to both of those questions are no, plain and simple. Whether you’ve ever given this band any time in the past or not, when they’re on stage they will absolutely grab your attention. Kill The Power. Skindred are playing the Main Stage on Saturday at Reading and Sunday at Leeds.


Another band who seriously deserve their Main Stage slot after a recent vociferous run of form are Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes. The band performed a mid afternoon slot on The Pit stage last year and at both Reading and Leeds the tent struggled to cope with the sheer intensity this band are capable with delivering with every single live show. Frank Carter has regained the venom that was there when the Gallows broke through a few years ago, and judging by some of the other festival slots he’s already played in the UK this year, their Main Stage slot is set to be one of the best you’ll catch all weekend. Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes are playing the Main Stage on Friday at Reading and Saturday at Leeds.

Whilst their positioning on the bill is a bit suspect, what an honour it is to be able to check out the phenomenal Clutch at Reading and Leeds this year. With the fact that they are so low down on the Main Stage bill (unjustly so in our opinion!) they’re not going to have too much time to pack in what’s expected to be an absolute hit fest. Their set lists can be slightly hard to predict as each band member takes it in turns to choose the tracks depending on how they feel on the day, but one thing is for sure Clutch know how to bring an incredible vibe to a live show and will be perfect for knocking out any hangovers from your brain. Clutch are playing the Main Stage on Saturday at Reading and Sunday at Leeds. In another early-ish slot, Coheed And Cambria have hit a whole new wave of momentum since releasing The Color Before The Sun last year. The album itself saw them move away from their signature concept album route, instead going for shorter stand alone tracks. Either way, this particular album cycle has lit a fire under them and live they’re still one of the most epic sounding around. If Welcome Home doesn’t give you chills live you’re not human. Coheed and Cambria are playing the Main Stage on Sunday at Reading and Friday at Leeds.


Sticking with the Main Stage (It’s strong this year ain’t it!), Eagles Of Death Metal are another band who are all set for a triumphant return to Reading and Leeds Festival. The band were obviously left devastated after the horrendous terrorist attacks in Paris last year which had one of their gigs as a main target, so to see them come through that and return to the stage is genuinely such a brilliant sight. Always funs live, always bringing a party atmosphere, make sure you’re down the Main Stage for a boogie. Eagle Of Death Metal are playing the Main Stage on Saturday at Reading and Sunday at Leeds.

So we’ve covered our top picks from the Main Stage across the three days this, but what of the rest of the festival? Whilst we may not regularly cover some of the music below, here’s our top three picks from each stage:

Main Stage: Parkway Drive, Clutch, Biffy Clyro
BBC Radio 1 Stage: Cage The Elephant, Black Foxxes, Twenty One Pilots
Festival Republic Stage: King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, Pulled Apart By Horses, The Temper Trap
BBC Radio 1 Xtra Stage: Wiley, Kano, Big Narstie
BBC Music Introducing Stage: Mouses, Night Owls, Adore/Repel
Alternative Stage: Bill Bailey, Super Hans, Grandmaster Flash

“What about The Pit/Lock Up stage?” I hear you scream! Well head on over to our second Preview feature where we will be running through the top ten bands on to check out across the three days on this incredibly stacked couple of stages.