The band speak out before their biggest UK shows in years...

IRON MAIDEN singer BRUCE DICKINSON has said the CARLING WEEKEND: READING AND LEEDS FESTIVALS will be important shows – as they’re the first festivals he went to as a kid.

The veteran singer said that Reading Festival was where he was asked to join Maiden, and as a result is close to his heart. The band headline the relatively new northern leg of the festival at Bramham Park in Leeds this evening (August 26), before closing the event in Reading on Sunday night (28).

Speaking to The Sun, Dickinson said: “(Reading) is where I was asked to join the band and it’s also the first festival I wento to and also played at. And this year it will be a big one…we’ll be nervous.”

Other bands playing in Leeds today include Marilyn Manson, Bloc Party and Iggy And the Stooges.

The weather is largely sunny, and My Chemical Romance, Boy Kill Boy, Art Brut and Towers Of London are amongst the first bands to appear.