Florence And The Machine open Reading Festival with secret birthday gig

The singer gives punters a surprise by playing unannounced

Florence And The Machine kicked off Reading Festival by playing a two-song secret gig on the BBC Introducing Stage today (August 28).

Initially coming onstage just after noon to a small crowd, some of whom were simply sheltering from the rain under the canvas, Florence Welch soon gathered a sizeable audience to play to.

Organisers then informed the audience that today was Welch‘s birthday, inviting them to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her. As the crowd did so, Welch collapsed into a fit of giggles before sheepishly thanking them and announcing her first track, ‘Drumming Song’.

After finishing ‘Drumming Song’, Welch launched into her cover of Candi Staton‘s club classic ‘You Got The Love’, before leaving the stage.

The star is due to play the NME/Radio 1 Stage at Reading Festival early this evening.

NME.COM will be coming live from both the Reading And Leeds Festivals sites this weekend (August 28-30). Stay tuned to NME.COM/festivals for news reports, blogs, video interviews and photos from the event.

Get next Wednesday’s (September 2) issue of NME for the ultimate Reading And Leeds Festivals review.

Plus have your say on this summer – fill in the annual NME Festival survey now to cast your verdict on 2009, and tell festival chiefs who you want to see next year.

Watch an interview with Florence And The Machine’s Florence Welsh below:

Video courtesy of BBC.co.uk/readingandleeds