The story of Reading & Leeds 2022 – in glorious photos

Check out all of the action as it happens

We needn’t explain just how big this Reading & Leeds 2022 is shaping up to be. After last year’s successful introduction of a second main stage and three additional headliners, the twin-site festival returns with its biggest and most sonically diverse lineup yet. Arctic Monkeys, Dave, Megan Thee Stallion, Halsey, Bring Me The Horizon and The 1975 are set to the top the bill, and there’s also huge sets to come from the likes of Charli XCX, PinkPantheress, Polo G, Willow, Fontaines D.C. and many more.

Are you ready? Team NME are on the ground to bring you minute-by-minute coverage from every corner of the dual-site festival. Here we go!

Friday: And we’re off!

The crowd at Reading Festival 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
The crowd at Reading Festival 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Early arrivals show Reading how it’s done.

Friday: He’s coming for ya!

Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes crowd surf during Reading Festival on August 26, 2022 in Reading, England. (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)
Credit: Simone Joyner/Getty Images

“It is a pleasure to be here at 12.30 in the fucking afternoon, to show you exactly what you should expect from every band here,” said rock hero Frank Carter, opening up the first massive mosh pit of Reading 2022.

Friday: VIPs only

Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes crowd surf during Reading Festival on August 26, 2022 in Reading, England. (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)
Credit: Simone Joyner/Getty Images)

“These mosh pits belong to some very important people,” Carter continued before ‘Wild Flowers’. “Men get to the edge and hold your male friends accountable. This mosh pit is for the ladies. I promise you will not see a happier mosh pit all weekend.”

Friday: All hail Willow

Credit: Matthew Baker / Getty Images

The alt-rock superstar kicked things off on Leeds’ Main Stage East and had a rowdy ol’ time.

Friday: Scream if you wanna go faster

Credit: Matthew Baker/Getty Images

Willow graced the stage with plenty of gusto and a setlist stacked with her huge, heavy rock anthems. Mega stuff.

Friday: Never gonna give you up

BBNO$ at Reading 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
BBNO$ at Reading 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

BBNO$ Rickrolled all of Reading in style before smashing the main stage

Friday: Uh-huh Honey

Black Honey live at Reading 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Black Honey live at Reading 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

“The first and favourite ceremony of ours was Reading festival,” said Black Honey on Instagram this week. “This fest is in our DNA”. Watching them smash their main stage set, we felt it too.

Friday: Griff’s Reading debut

Credit: Andy Ford

“Reading flippin’ Festival – I never got to attend this festival as a teenager, so I want to make my first Reading a special one.”

Friday: Mixing things up

Credit: Andy Ford

Griff remixed ‘One Night’ into Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’. Sounded huge.

Friday: It’s getting hot in here…

Credit: Ben Awin

Sweaty walls and screaming teens: North London’s Bakar received a hero’s welcome at the BBC Radio 1 Dance tent.

Friday: Walloooooows!

wallows
Credit: Phoebe Fox

Two years after they were supposed to make their Reading debut before the pandemic, frontman Dylan Minette led the LA trio through 40 minutes of sprightly alt-rock – and the results were staggering.

Friday: Golden hour

Credit: Phoebe Fox

PinkPantheress’ set was one of the first ‘I was there moments’ of the festival – for those who could actually make it in. A huge crowd packed out the tent, as fans squeezed in to join the party.

Friday: Show us yer grillz!

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Backstage, Knucks posed for NME’s snapper and flashed his golden teeth. Looking good.

Friday: Little Simz proves the doubters wrong

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

“I’ve been manifesting things throughout my career. But people would doubt me: they said Reading main stage? Never.” Little Simz belongs on the main stage, if any there were any naysayers left out there.

Friday: Smashed it

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Leaning on her seismic 2021 album ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’, the London artist’s set was a powerful blend of sweet rhythms, focused flows, and a beaming personality.

Friday: Feel the roar

Polo G live at Reading 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Making his Reading Festival debut, Chicago rapper Polo G pulled in one of the biggest crowds of the weekend so far.

Friday: Such lovely boys!

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Glass Animals shared many a group hug backstage. N’awww.

Friday: Getting the party started

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

“This is gonna be a fun one today,” Glass Animals frontman Dave Bayley tells Reading Main Stage East a few hours later after a buoyant rendition of ‘Tangerine’, and he’s not wrong. Flanked by flashing neon signs (that get brighter and brighter as the sun sets) and barrelling through a dance-pit inducing set of their indie-pop, it’s a triumphant showing from the band.

Friday: Glass Animals sign off…for now

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

“Wow Reading Festival. This has been an absolute trip for us, my goodness,” Bayley addresses the audience before the group’s final song. “These are going to be our last couple of shows in the UK for a while, we’ve got to go make a new album at some point,” he reveals. Still, they end on a banger. After thanking the fans for their support over the past couple of years, the band dive into their global mega-hit ‘Heat Waves’, which sees punters sprinting towards the Main Stage East to get in on the party.

Friday: I don’t care, I love it

Charli XCX performs on Main Stage East on Day 1 of Leeds Festival on August 26, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Matthew Baker/Getty Images)
Credit: Matthew Baker/Getty Images

Replacing Måneskin, Charli brought a solid party of pop to Leeds to get those Friday night vibes going.

Friday: Future rock heroes

Credit: Emily Marcovecchio

At Leeds, the Liverpool alt-rock band whipped up a crowd of moshers into a frenzy.

Friday: Wise words from the Hot Girl Coach

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

“To all my Hotties out there, please remember that loving yourself is the most important thing you can do for yourself.”

Friday: Meg’s dance troupe doubles in size

“They told me I could not bring Hotties up here today,” Megan told the crowd during her performance. She eventually brought some fans onstage anyway, and encouraged them to dance with her, much to the audience’s joy.

Friday: It was Friday, it was The 1975

Matty Healy of The 1975 performs on Main Stage East on Day 1 of Leeds Festival on August 26, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Matthew Baker/Getty Images)
Credit: Matthew Baker/Getty Images

Stepping in for Rage Against The Machine as headliners, Matty and co paid tribute to the band while giving Leeds festival a night to remember.

Friday: Rap at its spine-tingling best

Dave reading 2022
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

With added vocalists and an orchestra section, Dave took tracks from the Mercury-winning ‘Psychodrama’ and follow-up ‘We’re All Alone In This Together’ to glorious heights.

Friday: Can you feel the love?

Credit: Andy Ford

After a surprise appearances from AJ Tracey and Stormzy, Dave got the pyro out to wrap up an hour of superstar-sized spectacle.

Saturday: Live debuts

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

For her first time at the festival, Madison Beer treats the packed-out crowd at the Dance Stage to a stunning rendition – and live debut – of new single ‘Dangerous’. It’s a stripped back moment within the artist’s set, a respite before she rounds off the show with a string of bangers, before which she asks: “Alright who’s ready to party!”

Saturday: A jam-packed tent

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

It’s a completely full tent for Madison Beer – with revellers clambering on the rails outside to sneak a peak of her set.

Saturday: Here’s Fontaines D.C., rocking the shades

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

This is what the best band in the world looks like.

Saturday: It’s AJ Tracey, live and direct

Credit: Simone Joyner/Getty

“I’m sorry I’m not Jack Harlow,” the west London rapper quipped, referencing how Harlow dropped out of Reading & Leeds last minute to perform at the VMAs. Don’t worry, AJ – we’re glad you came!

Saturday: Headliners in the making

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

‘IT ISN’T LOUD ENOUGH’ read the message on the screen as Wolf Alice tore through ‘Greatest Hits’. Damn right, it could never be loud enough for Wolfie. Next time, they should headline.

Saturday: Is it too real for ya?

Fontaines D.C.
Credit: Simone Joyner/Getty Images

Fontaines D.C. stormed Main Stage East, and even invited a lucky fan on stage to perform ‘The Boys In The Better Land’.

Saturday: Ho9909 bring the fire

Any act that inspires a crowd to sit down and start rowing in the middle of a festival tent deserves plaudits, and Ho9909’s alarmingly frenetic set in the Festival Republic tent caused a right old storm.

Saturday: Bring Me The Horizon boss their headline slot

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

“Reading, shove this up your fucking arse!”, screamed frontman Oli Sykes as ‘Dear Diary”s thundering riffs tore through the crowd.

Sunday: This is Sempiternal

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

‘Sempiternal’-era classic ‘Shadow Moses’ inspired one of the weekend’s biggest singalong moments.

Saturday: Heeeeere’s Sheeran!

Bring Me The Horizon and Ed Sheeran on stage at Reading 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

“Here he is,” said Sykes as he introduced surprise guest Ed Sheeran on stage. “The fucking legend himself.”

Saturday: Here. We. Go.

Arctic Monkeys at Reading Festival
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Performing to one of the biggest crowds Reading Festival has ever seen, Arctic Monkeys brought all the hits and teased a new track from their forthcoming album, ‘The Car’.

Saturday: The greatest band of their generation

Arctic Monkeys at Reading Festival
Credit: Andy Ford for NME

The Sheffield gang’s first UK gig in nearly four years included an unreleased song in an otherwise career-spanning set. Read the four-star NME review here.

Sunday: Pew! Pew! Pew!

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

As he hit Main Stage East to churn out 35 minutes of spritely rap anthems, Denzel Curry gave us his best finger gun pose.

Sunday: Let’s have it!

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

The Reading crowd were giving it large throughout Denzel Curry’s set on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday: Dylan has her rockstar moment

Credit: Phoebe Fox

The Suffolk vocalist and guitarist smashed her Reading debut with an impassioned performance on the Radio 1 Dance stage. Rock on!

Sunday: Demidevils out in force

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Before a ferocious rendition ‘Maggots’, Ashnikko got the crowd to engage in some group therapy. “Now when was the last time you had a very good scream? Like a really good, therapeutic scream?” she asked, before leading the audience in a deafening group screech.

Sunday: A vision in blue

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

After a blistering performance on the Radio 1Xtra Dance Stage, the singer and rapper showed off her signature bright blue hair in the backstage area at Reading.

Sunday: Heating up with Pale Waves

Our recent cover stars make light work of the Main Stage East with a mid-afternoon rinse out. A solid mix of the heavy duty cuts and softer melodies, Pale Waves put on a supremely confident show.

Sunday: Taking it all in

Pale Waves were in no mood to mess around at Reading. Airing tracks from their new album ‘Unwanted’, the four-piece brought some serious noise on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday: It’s Run The Jewels’ house!

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

The rap duo put on one of the liveliest sets of the weekend over on Main Stage East.

Sunday: Wise words from Killer Mike

“If you didn’t come with that girl stood next to you tonight, keep your hands off her.”

Sunday: Legends supporting legends

Credit: Joseph Okpako/WireImage

“Well that was fun wasn’t it?” said Halsey after a blistering rendition of ‘Experiment On Me’. “I wrote that song with my friends in Bring Me The Horizon, and in the spirit of keeping things nationalistic, I want to play around with another song by another UK legend,” they added, before launching into a killer cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’.

Check back at NME here for the latest news, reviews, photos, interviews and more from Reading & Leeds 2022.

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