Reading 2005

1st September 2005

Another year, another Reading and another great hole in my wallet. I’m not going to talk much about the bands (Bloc Party, Foo Fighters, The Futureheads, The Killers and Four Tet – top five of the weekend; bosh.) No, I’m here to whinge about companies like Mean Fiddler taking a very profitable and successful product and milking their customers because they can.

Every year things get a little worse and it seems more and more like MF’s job is to push us as far as they can without us all flipping out and boycotting Reading and Leeds en-masse. £132 for a weekend ticket seems steep – up from £90 five years ago, that’s almost a 50% hike – they should be really proud of themselves.

Now, I have a decent job and I can afford this, so I wouldn’t normally complain, as you know this price when you buy the ticket and you know you are going to see a bunch of quality acts (see first paragraph). What I find intolerable is how they impose ridiculous entry restrictions in order to rinse more money out of you in the arena and charge you £7 for a programme (for the line up card) which they then don’t stick to on the final day – causing you to miss the start of sets.

An additional tent (Nokia Raw) placed right in the middle of the arena caused so much sound leakage that you couldn’t hear the comedy tent from just inside it, and the main stage was badly hampered by it in everywhere but the mosh pit.

Full, sealed bottles of water were not allowed into the arena (for fear of containing alcohol) – they were passed to security guards to drink, so we could pay £2.50 for a bottle of water and £3 for a can of Carling in the arena. Sealed prescription drugs were confiscated, as was any food security could lay their hands on – which is all well and good because all sealed food is obviously full of crack. This is all compounded even more by the price of a fucking rat burger weighing in at £5 a pop. I say rat; you are promised vole or higher…

So: £132 for the ticket, £10 for the pleasure of being able to book it, £15 parking a day, £7 to be told what time the bands are on, £2.50 a soft drink, £5 for a rodent in a bun… but seeing Dave Grohl get behind the kit at the end of an epic Foo's set: priceless.

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