Giggs’ super-set proved Reading and Leeds 2018 needs a grime headliner

Our money's on Stormzy for a top slot at next year's festivals

If there’s one thing this year’s Reading Festival showed us, it’s that a headline spot from a homegrown grime hero is well overdue – you only need to look at Giggs’ massive Sunday set and even bigger crowd for proof. Reading – and its sister site Leeds – were long known as the trad rock and metal festival of choice, with acts such as Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper playing throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s things took a shift to the indier side of life, with Blur, Pulp and many, many men in Fred Perry shirts on the bill, and by the 2000s the era of The Strokes, White Stripes, The Killers, Kings of Leon and Arctic Monkeys was well and truly upon us.


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In 2017, however, we saw a bill that straddled a hell of a lot more genres than ever before. Sure, the old school were still in full effect, with the likes of Muse and Liam Gallagher representing for all the 40-something fellas, but the largely teenage crowd aren’t all that fussed by men old enough to be their dads. So this was also the year that Major Lazer bought their steaming dancehall party to the main stage, Tory Lanez’s Canadian hip hop ruled supreme, Mura Masa got all tropical, Flume bought out the EDM bangers but most importantly, the mighty Giggs drew a mega massive crowd to his searing main stage set and basically made everyone wonder why the hell he wasn’t higher up the bill. The London MC was making his first, unforgettable appearance in the festival’s biggest arena and casually bought out a superstar – his pal Drake – and even that didn’t overshadow his killer set. In fact, Drake said it best: ““Reading, I go by the name of Drake. I appreciate you, but today is not about me so please make some noise for this legendary god right here. He goes by the name of holler man Giggs.” That noise was deafening.

Which brings us to Reading and Leeds 2018 – surely now is the time for grime acts to not just be booked for afternoon slots on the main stage, but to be representing at the very top. BBK’s all-star O2 Arena takeover on Sunday – where Drake popped up once again – shows that grime is bigger than ever. Stormzy, we’d be checking our inbox for a message from Melvin Benn like a hawk right now if we were you…