Reading & Leeds Lock-Up Stage – Where The Real Action Is

The Reading & Leeds festival has just announced the Lock-Up Stage line-up for 2011 and it’s looking pretty good. This year has a bit more of a ska feel to it than usual, with bands like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The King Blues playing headliner and support on the Saturday. They sit alongside the more punk orientated acts such as The Bronx and Leftover Crack and the hardcore bands, Comeback Kid and Your Demise. (Full line up here).

The Bronx

The Lock-Up Stage has given me some of my best memories of Reading Festival over the last few years. In 2009 I vividly remember the chaotic stage opening set by The Ghost Of A Thousand. A girl dislocated her knee in a circle pit and The Ghost Of A Thousand guitarist Andy Blyth got ejected from the tent for crowdsurfing when security didn’t realize he was in the band.

Trash Talk

Another moment of insanity was the Trash Talk set in 2010. None of the security guards that afternoon could have been prepared for the carnage that unfolded. As soon as he hit the stage, lead singer Lee Spielman jumped down the front, threw rubbish bins into the pit and dived onto the front rows of the crowd.

He proceeded to stay in the crowd for the entire set until they played ‘Sacramento Is Dead’ and he heartily encouraged the crowd to “get the fuck on stage, this is your festival, get the fuck up here.” Security were powerless to resist as hundreds of people hurled themselves forward. I was one of them and being up there surrounded by people was such a surreal but unique experience.

This is the sort of spontaneity and odd behaviour that just happens in that tent. Here’s three personal highlights from the Reading site last year – what are yours?

A handicapped fan of the band doesn’t let his wheelchair stop him and gets involved in the crowdsurfing action.

The band had played the previous day on the mainstage, but they returned to the Lock-Up to play a triumphant secret set to a capacity crowd.

Trash Talk
The band invite the crowd to join them. Literally hundreds of people duly pile forward.