A look back at all the line-ups over the years
Today (February 24), the final headliner for 2017’s Reading & Leeds festivals was announced. Eminem will make his return to the UK where he could air new tracks – he has promised he’s been working on a new record after all. It’s not Marshall Mathers’ first time at the festivals, though, as a look through every line-up poster since 1989 will show you.
The very first Reading Festival had a line-up featuring some classic bands like New Order and The Pogues, and others who haven’t stood the test of time (Les Negresse Vertes, anyone?).
In 1990, you could have spent your August bank holiday weekend watching The Cramps, Inspiral Carpets and Pixies headline.
Iggy Pop, James and The Sisters Of Mercy topped the bill in 1991, with Sonic Youth, Carter USM, Nirvana, and Blur all appearing earlier in the day.
’92 saw Nirvana make the leap up to headliners, where they made their classic Reading appearance. You know the one – it’s when Kurt made his entrance on stage in a wheelchair.
New Order returned to headline in 1993, alongside The The and Porno For Pyros.
In 1994, perennial headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers made their first appearance at the top of the bill, closing out the Sunday night.
How’s this for a classic line-up? On the Friday of 1995’s edition, you could see Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day and Hole all in a row.
Months after John Squire left The Stone Roses, the Manchester band headlined Reading. The performance drew criticism across the board and the group split two months later.
Suede and Manic Street Preachers kept the Britpop flag flying in ’97, joined by third headliners Metallica.
1998 was a solid year, with legends like Jimmy Page and Robert Plant headlining, plus huge stars like Beastie Boys, The Prodigy, Foo Fighters and Garbage also on the bill.
Red Hot Chili Peppers made their second headlining turn in 1999, which was also the year the festival expanded to Leeds. Blur also headlined, while Elastica brought their second album to the Radio 1 Evening Session Stage.
The Gallagher brothers made their way to the top of the line-up at R&L for the very first time at the turn of the millennium.
Eminem will have headlined the festivals three times after this August. He made his first appearance in 2001.
The Strokes headlined the twin festivals after the release of their debut album ‘Is This It’ the year before. Their Reading set fell on frontman Julian Casablancas’ birthday and the rest of the group presented him with a birthday cake on stage.
Jay Z made his Reading & Leeds debut, nestled into the line-up between Staind and Placebo. Future collaborators Linkin Park headlined on the same day.
2004’s festivals will be memorable for 50 Cent. This was the year he was bottled off stage, with festival-goers in front of the main stage lobbing anything they could find in his direction.
So many future headliners on this line-up, including The Killers, QOTSA, Kasabian, Razorlight, Kings Of Leon, Arcade Fire, Biffy Clyro and, right down on the Carling Stage, a little known group called Arctic Monkeys.
From the Carling stage to the main stage. Arctic Monkeys shot up the bill to penultimate act of the day, providing main support for Muse.
New rave was in full flow in 2007 and Klaxons celebrated that with a NME/Radio 1 tent headlining set that was full of neon, glowsticks and fun.
Have you ever seen anything more 2008 than a festival bill that includes Babyshambles, The Wombats, Vampire Weekend, MGMT and Jack Penate all next to each other?
Four years after making their first appearance at the twin festivals, Sheffield’s finest stepped up to headline.
The Libertines made their first appearance at Reading since reuniting. Poor Arcade Fire were left playing to a half-empty field afterwards.
The Strokes and Pulp co-headlined in 2011, alongside My Chemical Romance and Muse.
Kasabian first made the step-up to headliners in 2012, a year after the release of their fourth album ‘Velociraptor!’.
BIffy Clyro triumphed in 2013 when they headlined for the first time. Eminem fared less well, with fans accusing him of miming.
Wolf Alice, listed right at the bottom of the poster, made their debut at Reading & Leeds in 2014. They’re one of the big tips to headline the events in the near future.
2015 saw the return of The Libertines, while Mumford & Sons and Metallica also topped the bill.
There were a ton of co-headlines in 2016, with Foals, Disclosure, Biffy Clyro and Fall Out Boy all taking turns to close out their respective days. Red Hot Chili Peppers were the only band to headline on their own.
The line-up for this year is beginning to take shape. Kasabian, Eminem and Muse will all headline, while you’ll also be able to see Bastille, Two Door Cinema Club, Major Lazer, Haim, Giggs and more.