Reading & Leeds Festival Unpacked: A Comprehensive Guide

Reading & Leeds Festival Unpacked: A Comprehensive Guide

Reading and Leeds Festivals are two of the important annual live music events in the UK. With both events taking place over the August bank holiday weekend, each site of the festival attracts several thousand music lovers from all around the world every year.

Here, we've put together the ultimate resource to get your Reading and Leeds knowledge up to scratch, from the latest line-ups and ticket info to camping and travel.

Who is playing at Reading and Leeds Festival in 2023?

Reading and Leeds festivals are notable for sharing almost identical bills, with Reading's Friday line-up becoming Leeds' Saturday line-up, Reading's Saturday line-up becoming Leeds' Sunday line-up, and Reading’s Sunday Line-up becoming Leeds’ Friday line-up. This means that no matter which site you visit, you will still be able to enjoy the same international talent.

The lineup for 2023 is set to be jam-packed with the biggest artists and bands from every genre imaginable. Check out some of the highlights below.

Billie Eilish

At just 21 years old, Billie Eilish has already established herself as one of the most influential and successful artists of her generation. From ‘Bad Guy’ to Bond themes, Eilish’s stunning achievements and onstage confidence may belie her young age, but certainly make her perfect headliner material - be sure to catch her filling every available space on stage with her moody-yet-massive dance-pop anthems and her larger-than-life personality.

Sam Fender

Geordie singer-songwriter Sam Fender, winner of the 2019 BRITs Critics' Choice award, has had his sights set on greatness ever since his debut album ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ shot to the top of the UK charts in 2019. Mastering the guitar aged only 10, some say Fender was born to play - and this year he’ll be playing the biggest stages of his career, following his first-ever headline arena show in his native Newcastle's St James' Park with another headline slot at both Reading and Leeds.


By ingeniously adding math rock, post-punk, and electronic ingredients to their sonic melting pot, indie darlings Foals have established themselves as one of the most innovative and exciting bands of the 21st century. Their affirming latest release ‘Life Is Yours’, which places even more emphasis on synthesised sounds, shows Foals to be as sonically rich as ever despite being the group’s first album as a trio, promising a feel-good, danceable end to the night.

The Killers

After seven acclaimed albums - seven UK number-one albums, at that - it’s safe to say that Killers fans can’t wait to hear what their upcoming eighth will offer. Effortlessly combining such elements as indie rock and new wave with electronica and arena rock, charismatic frontman Brandon Flowers continues to lead the Killers to new heights - and never fails to get the crowd going.

Imagine Dragons

Having sold an incredible 75 million records worldwide, with singles ‘Believer’, ‘Thunder’, and ‘Radioactive’ each reaching over a billion streams, it’s hard to believe that Imagine Dragons only celebrated the 10-year anniversary of their award-winning debut, ‘Night Visions’, as recently as 2022. Widely credited as being the band that kept rock music relevant throughout the 2010s, Imagine Dragons promise to deliver a huge live sound to live up to their huge achievements.

Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi won the hearts of listeners worldwide with the devastating vulnerability of singles such as ‘Somebody You Loved’, but his relatable and self-deprecating sense of humour in interviews and on social media helped the Scottish singer-songwriter become a household name. After the enormous popularity of his award-winning debut, ‘Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent’, fans are understandably excited for the 2023 release of his follow-up, ‘Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent’.

Andy C

Andy C has been a key pioneer in the drum and bass scene since the early 90s, co-founding the label RAM Records and producing the genre-defining track, ‘Valley of the Shadows’, with his friend Ant Miles. Celebrated for his many contributions to and innovations in drum and bass, as well as for his infectious energy behind the decks, Andy C continues to top ‘best DJ’ lists every year - see why for yourself!

Becky Hill

Audiences were first introduced to British singer-songwriter Becky Hill when she appeared in the first series of ‘The Voice UK’, reaching the show’s semi-final and going on to become the only contestant so far to score a UK number 1 hit with ‘Gecko (Overdrive)’. Continuing to explore pop and dance music on her debut album, ‘Only Honest On the Weekend’, Hill is quickly making a name for herself as one to watch.

Lil Tjay

Born and raised in the Bronx, rapper and singer-songwriter Lil Tjay has been releasing music since he was just 16 years old, taking a more melodic approach to R&B and hip-hop and making frequent use of autotune. His second album, 2021’s ‘Destined 2 Win’, made a huge impact, with his sampling of ‘Baby’ on his own track ‘None of Your Love’ leading to him being nicknamed the ‘Bronx Justin Bieber’, and his collaboration with 6lack on his highest-charting single, ‘Calling My Phone’, leading to the pair performing the track live on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’.

Central Cee

UK drill rapper and singer Central Cee has been causing a stir in the British hip-hop scene recently, with two acclaimed mixtapes, an EP, and several singles. After becoming the first UK rapper to reach a billion Spotify streams in just a single year in 2022, right now Central Cee is at the absolute top of his game.

Nothing But Thieves

Reading and Leeds welcome back Nothing But Thieves with open arms, with the furious five-piece set to deliver another dynamite set of indie bangers with a hard rock edge. Following their most recent album, ‘Moral Panic’, with the sequel EP ‘Moral Panic II’, this Southend-on-Sea band still has a lot more to say.


Political rapper Slowthai made a name for himself with his devastating yet timely commentary on the state of the UK in 2019 with his debut album, ‘Nothing Great About Britain’. Taking things to a more personal place with the introspective ‘TYRON’, fans are eager to find out what the grime-punk artist will have to say on his upcoming album ‘Ugly’ - and if lead single ‘Selfish’ is anything to go by, it’s going to be as raw and unflinching as ever.

Chase Atlantic

Alterntiave R&B Aussies, Chase Atlantic, are set to deliver to their synth-laden take on the genre to Reading and Leeds crowds once again. Gradually shifting away from their pop-punk and boy band origins into moodier territory influenced by the Weeknd and the 1975, brothers Clinton and Mitchel Cave and friend Christian Anthony continue to intrigue audiences on their latest release, the deluxe edition of their album ‘Beauty in Death’.

Loyle Carner

Mercury Prize- and BRIT Award-nominated hip-hop musician, Loyle Carner, has returned with another acclaimed album, ‘Hugo’, after a brief yet successful period focusing on his cookery school for children with ADHD, ‘Chilli Con Carner’. Celebrated for his jazz-infused, confessional brand of hip-hop, Carner wears the influence of poets John Agard and Benjamin Zephaniah proudly on his sleeve, along with his heart.

Wet Leg

Wet Leg, the indie rockers from the Isle of Wight, is the brainchild of ‘Mean Girls’-quoting duo Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, who both contribute guitar and vocals. As energetic as it is disaffected, the sound of this award-nominated band finds the sweet spot between garage punk and new wave, as heard throughout their acclaimed self-titled debut album.

Steve Lacy

First rising to fame as the guitarist of alternative R&B band, the Internet, Steve Lacy has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the lo-fi and indie games. Breaking through as a successful solo artist in 2022 with his second album, ‘Gemini Rights’, propelled by the hit single, ‘Bad Habit’, Lacy comfortably shifts from genre to genre, adding jazz, funk, and psychedelic layers on top of a firm R&B base.

Declan McKenna

Singer-songwriter and musician, Declan McKenna, came to prominence when his song, ‘Brazil’, written about the controversy surrounding the 2014 FIFA World Cup, led to more than 40 record labels trying to sign him. Two albums later, McKenna continues to grow and evolve as a musician and as a songwriter, touching on indie, glam, dream pop, and psychedelia - and he’s become quite the live performer, too.

Don Broco

Don Broco have become mainstays of the UK festival circuit, and scoring their first UK number 1 album with their most recent effort, ‘Amazing Things’, certainly hasn’t hindered their position. Fusing post-hardcore intensity with pop-punk hooks and delivering it all with some good old rock ‘n’ roll swagger, Don Broco have something to offer any festival-going music fan looking for a good time.


It’s an exciting time to catch Dublin-based band, Inhaler, as fans follow their upward trajectory from being tipped for success in 2020 to releasing their debut album ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’ to widespread acclaim the next year. Led by singer and guitarist, Elijah Hewson, Inhaler offer all the hallmark energy and retro vibes of a classic indie band.

How do I buy tickets for Reading and Leeds Festival?

Day tickets, weekend tickets, and weekend + early entry tickets may be purchased through an official ticket agent such as Ticketmaster. A payment plan option is available for weekend tickets and weekend + early entry tickets.

Reading Festival Ticket Options

Leeds Festival Ticket Options

Reading and Leeds Festival Guide

Reading Festival, held at Richfield Avenue in Reading, is one of the oldest and most well-established festivals in the country. Originally conceived as the National Jazz Federation (NJF) Festival in 1961, the festival went through a few location and genre changes before settling in Reading in the 70s, with a greater focus on rock, prog, and eventually punk and new wave. Growing in popularity, size, and musical diversity throughout the 80s, Reading Festival has played host to some iconic performances, including the final UK appearance of Nirvana, and the last show the Stone Roses played before their 15+ year hiatus.

The Leeds Festival, held at Bramham Park in Leeds, is the sister event to Reading Festival. Launched in 1999 to meet the enormous demand for tickets to Reading Festival, Leeds not only offers the same bill, but also the energetic, lively atmosphere and welcoming sense of community that festivals are all about.

A popular festival choice for first-timers as well as seasoned music enthusiasts, there are few better ways to spend your August bank holiday weekend. As they say, 105,000 fans can’t be wrong!

Camping at Leeds and Reading festival

What are the camping options at Reading and Leeds Festival?

When you purchase a weekend ticket for Reading or Leeds Festival, standard camping is included - although you cannot camp with just a day ticket.

If you would like VIP access to the private Camping Plus campsite - which offers 24-hour reception and security, proper toilets, and warm showers - you can purchase an upgrade (you must also purchase a weekend ticket, as the upgrade does not include this).

Following last year’s success, both festivals are bringing back their ‘Eco Campsite’ option, which is available to book at no extra cost. Campers are asked to respect the area and to take everything with them when they go home, leaving the site just as they found it.

Campervan and caravan passes, which grant access to the dedicated campervan fields, must be booked in advance. Every occupant of the campervan or caravan must also have purchased a weekend ticket.

The Pink Moon Boutique Village is another luxury camping option at both Reading and the Leeds Festivals, with options to hire out a tent made from mostly recycled materials from their Standard, Classic, or Deluxe Range and access similar facilities, including pamper stations, USB phone chargers, and more. Weekend tickets are not included and must be purchased separately.

Nearby hotel accommodation is also available via Reading and Leeds Festivals’ official partner, IHG Hotels & Resorts. Weekend tickets must be purchased separately.

For more information on accommodation visit: Reading Festival - Where to stay or: Leeds Festival - Where to stay.

Are there any restrictions on what I can bring to Reading and Leeds Festival?

To ensure the safety of all festival-goers, illegal substances, such as drugs, and anything that could be considered a weapon, such as oversized firelighters, are all banned from Reading and Leeds Festivals’ arenas and campsites.

Camping equipment, including chairs, gazebos, cutlery, and disposable barbecues, as well as provisions, including cans and alcoholic beverages, may be brought onto the campsite, but not into the arena.

For a full list of what you can and can’t bring into Reading and Leeds Festivals’ arenas and campsites, visit: Reading Festival - the essentials or Leeds Festival - the essentials.

Are there any shuttle buses or public transportation options to Reading and Leeds festival?

Big Green Coach is the official coach travel and ticket partner of Reading and Leeds Festival 2023, with exclusive access to the official Reading Festival and Leeds Festival coach stations. All Big Green Coach services are carbon-neutral.

Big Green Coach can transport weekend guests from one of over 30 pick-up locations for Reading and over 40 pick-up locations for Leeds on the Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday and return them on the Monday, and can return day guests to a limited number of locations on the Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, departing once the music’s over.

For more information about the Big Green Coach service to Download Festival, visit: Big Green Coach - Reading Festival Tickets - Coach Travel.

For more information about the Big Green Coach service to Download Festival, visit: Big Green Coach - Leeds Festival Tickets - Coach Travel.

What kind of food and drink options will be available at Reading and Leeds festival?

A wide range of food, drink, and alcoholic beverages will be available in the Arena area of each festival. You can only bring food for personal consumption into the arena.

You can bring in an empty reusable bottles of any size (plastic or metal) which you can fill up for free at any of the arena’s water points. 

In an effort to raise awareness of food-related greenhouse gas emissions, certain food traders at both festivals will display carbon footprint ratings on their menus to help customers make a positive choice.

For more information on how you can check your carbon ‘food’ print when choosing what sort of food to buy at the festival, visit: Reading Festival - Staying green or: Leeds Festival: Staying green.

Reading Official partners include: Bacardi, Co-op, Pepsi Max, and Wrigley’s Extra.

Leeds Official partners include: Co-op, Bacardi, Pepsi Max, McDonald’s, and Four Loko.

Are there any age restrictions for Reading and Leeds Festival?

Fans of all ages are welcome to attend either festival, but neither event is aimed at young children and some acts may be unsuitable.

Children aged 15 and under must be accompanied by a ticket holder aged 18 or over at all times. Children under 13 can enter either festival for free.

Young children will be given a Tyvek wristband with space to write their parent or guardian’s telephone number. If your child becomes separated from you, staff will use this number as a primary contact and reunite you. You can pick up a replacement Tyvek wristband from either festival’s Welfare Tent.

For more details on age restrictions, visit: Reading Festival - the essentials or: Leeds Festival - the essentials.

Are there any quiet or family-friendly areas at Reading and Leeds Festival?

Both festivals recommend that guests with younger children camp at their quieter campsites.

At Reading Festival, this is the White Campsite; at the Leeds Festival, this is the Brown Campsite.

What if I lose my mobile phone or wallet at Reading and Leeds Festival?

Reading Festival staff recommend that you write down your mobile phone’s IMEI number on a piece of paper and keep that paper on your person in case you need to report your phone missing. Property lost at the Readiong Festival can be retrieved up to 28 days after the festival has finished.

You can register your mobile phone with the Leeds Festival in advance, again using your phone’s IMEI number. Where possible, Leeds Festival staff will attempt to reunite you with any property you lose at the event. Lost items can be retrieved up to 6 weeks after the festival has finished.

For more information on how each festival handles lost property, visit: Reading Festival - the essentials or Leeds Festival - the essentials.

Is there any merchandise available for Reading and Leeds?

Reading and Leeds Festival online shop offers a wide range of branded merchandise, including college t-shirts, bucket hats, water bottles, and more.

For a full selection, visit: Reading and Leeds - Official merchandise.