Radio 1’s Huw Stephens’ Guide To Reading And Leeds

Hooray! It’s only Reading and Leeds. Couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been passing the site on the train between Cardiff and London for the last few weeks and it all looks ace. It just needs some people and some quality bands. Luckily it’s all sold out and the line-up, as ever, is immense!

The man who books the bands, Neil Pengelly, works all year round on booking the stages and getting it all together. First time I went was straight after my GCSE results (TGAU’s, cos I did them in Welsh) – on a train and BANG! I was there.

For the second time we’re pleased that there’s a BBC Introducing stage at Leeds and Reading. The line up brings new unsigned and emerging music to the world’s greatest music festival, and the bands get on by being nominated by local BBC shows that play new music.

There’s loads on worth checking out, but here are five tips:

1. Bear Driver. This Leeds band make beautiful tunes, and recently had this track out on the recent Dance to the Radio compilation.

2. Goldheart Assembly. Steve Lamacq loves this band. And when Steve Lamacq loves a band you know they’re a band who will be around for while, oblivious to trends, and continue to find a place in your music-loving heart. Live, they succeed in being lovely and rousing, and have melodies to make Fleet Foxes back off and rethink their tunes. Good stuff.

Download The Goldheart Assembly’s ‘Wolves And Thieves’ on the Daily Download blog

3. Soft Toy Emergency. Liverpool knows how to create pop bands of course, but not necessarily POP! bands. Like this lot. They’ve been touring with Unicorn Kid and make unashamedly massive pop tunes while wearing bright clothes. It’s gonna be a welcome big bouncy set from this band this weekend.

4. Not Squares. I saw this band play the stage I curated at Latitude, and they were one of the weekend highlights. They’re a Northern Irish math rock band with crazy rhythms and an injection of surreal lyrics and are fun, which is refreshing. Make sure you try and catch ’em if you can.

5. Everything Everything. Quite simply one of the most exciting new pop guitar bands around. Do not miss.

Hear highlights from the stage on my show on Wednesday night on BBC Radio 1 at 9pm and midnight, and check out the BBC website for footage of the bands playing.