Reading Festival organisers plan new event in the North...

Reading Festival is planning to become a two-site event in 1999 running on the same weekend in both Leeds and Reading.

The Mean Fiddler Organisation wants to have the two festival sites operating in conjunction over the August Bank Holiday weekend, with headlining bands playing alternate sites.

The promoters are also planning to revive the Phoenix Festival after last year’s cancellation. The event, which was called off because of poor advance ticket sales, will go ahead in 1999 on July 15-18 at Long Marston, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Mean Fiddler boss VINCE POWER pledged.


He also told NME the new ‘Leeds festival’ would be a three-day camping event at Temple Newsam – the venue for one half of last year’s V98.

Vince said: “We wanted to do a Reading in the North. We have always felt that way since other festivals have had two dates. We have put in an application for the Leeds site and we don’t see any problems with it.”

The double-headed, two-day festival V98 is also scheduled to return this year as V99 at Chelmsford Hylands Park and Temple Newsam in Leeds (August 21 & 22), just one week before the planned Reading/Leeds double header.

It seems unlikely that the licensing authority in Leeds will allow two festivals to take place at the same venue in such a short space of time – so industry insiders are already predicting that only one will get the go ahead.

Metropolis, promoters of V99, declined to comment.

Mean Fiddler is also organising the Fleadh Festival at London’s Finsbury Park on July 10 and the Homelands dance festival in Winchester (May 29) in conjunction with ex-Cream director Darren Hughes.


After Homelands secured the venue and date of last year’s event, Creamfields will take place in late August or early September at an unnamed venue in the North. Cream will also be touring around Europe in the summer.

Meanwhile, Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, looks likely to go ahead on June 25-27 despite Mendip District Council giving organiser Michael Eavis a formal caution. The council agreed not to prosecute Eavis for breaching his public entertainments licence but will leave the verbal warning on record. The breaches related to ‘higher than acceptable sound levels’ and late-night trading.

Chairman of the council’s Environmental Health Department, Councillor Allan Gloak, said: “Despite recent speculation about potential headline acts for next year, I would like to make it quite clear the event has not yet been granted a licence.”

The council decides the fate of the festival in February.

A ten-day festival to mark the first total eclipse of the sun since 1927 will be held at Carlyon Bay, Cornwall (August 6-15). It’s on the same site as last year’s Beach Festival and Fat Les will be making their festival debut there. Other festivals scheduled for ’99 include Scotland’s T In The Park, (date yet to be announced), and WOMAD at the Rivermead Centre in Reading (July 23-25).

John Peel is organising a gig a month at the Queen Elizabeth Hall featuring bands who have appeared in Peel Sessions.

Are there too many festivals already? Can you get a decent bill together when there is so much competition? Have your say. Post a message on Angst!

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