Reading Festival boss opens up about securing The Cure and Foo Fighters as headliners

Melvin Benn also reveals he has tried to recreate the festival abroad, but couldn't do it

The organiser of the Reading And Leeds Festivals has spoken about this year’s event and how pleased he is to have secured The Cure and Foo Fighters as his headliners.

Speaking to NME in a video which you can see at the top of the page, Melvin Benn has promised that The Cure will be “a real treat” and has said he regards securing them as a real coup.

Asked about booking Robert Smith and co, Benn said: “We’re really pleased that we got The Cure to play. Robert Smith is not somebody who just wants to play for the sake of playing; it has to be the right time to play. They’re a hugely important band to what has been British rock and roll music. It’ll be a real treat.”


Benn also described Foo Fighters as one of his favourite bands and said that he believes anywhere Dave Grohl goes comes with a guarantee of a brilliant show.

He added: “The Foo Fighters are one of my favourite bands and just the idea of being in the same field as Dave Grohl is enough for me.”

Benn also stated his belief that the festival is defined by the “purity” of how they book bands and said that he frequently bats away offers from sponsors in exchange for a say in picking the bill.

He said of this: “Reading Festival, more than any other festival in the world, is about the bands. We get sponsors saying to us all the time, can we give you some money and we pick a band, and we say ‘No, not here, we don’t do that’. It’s about purity and absolute integrity.”

The organiser also said that he’d actually looked into recreating the festival in another country aboard, but couldn’t do it as it would be “artificial”.

He said when asked if he’d ever take the event abroad: “I looked at the idea of trying to recreate Reading and Leeds in another country and you can’t do it. It becomes artificial; it’s a copy of, as opposed to the real thing. It’s a defining gig for a lot of bands, playing a bad gig here really does set you back. A great gig here and you’re away. It’s defining for that simple reason.”


You can watch a video of Benn giving NME a tour of the Reading Festival site at the bottom of the page.

The Cure, Foo Fighters and Kasabian will headline this summer’s Reading And Leeds Festivals, with The Vaccines, Enter Shikari, At The Drive-In, Bombay Bicycle Club, You Me At Six and All Time Low playing high profile slots. See below for the line-up so far.

See NME.COM/festivals/reading-and-leeds, and for more information about this summer’s events.

The Reading And Leeds Festivals line-ups so far are:

Reading: August 24 (Fri), Leeds: August 25 (Sat)

Main Stage

The Cure
Bombay Bicycle Club
You Me At Six
Crystal Castles
Angels and Airwaves
Coheed and Cambria
Cancer Bats
Deaf Havana

NME/Radio 1 Stage

The Maccabees
Foster The People
The Courteeners
Graham Coxon
Passion Pit
The Blackout
The Hives
Here We Go Magic

The Lock Up Stage

Social Distortion
Anti Flag
Every Time I Die
Bouncing Souls
Saves The Day
Touche Amore
A Wilhelm Scream
Random Hand
Dead To Me
Star Fucking Hipsters

The Alternative Stage

Chris Ramsey (Reading)
Nathan Caton (Reading)
Late Night Gimp Fight (Reading)
Scroobius Pip (Reading)
Jason Byrne (Leeds)
Stephen K Amos (Leeds)
Naz Osmanoglu (Leeds)
Tom Deacon (Leeds)
Joel Dommet (Leeds)
Abandoman (Leeds)
Chris Shepherd (Leeds)

Reading: August 25 (Sat), Leeds: August 26 (Sun)

Main Stage

Florence And The Machine
The Vaccines
Enter Shikari
The Shins
Odd Future
Mystery Jets
Blood Red Shoes
Los Campesinos!

NME/Radio 1 Stage

At The Drive-In
The Cribs
Billy Talent
Miike Snow
Dry The River
Twin Atlantic
Pure Love

Dance Stage

Katy B
Azealia Banks
Jaguar Skills
Feed Me
Japanese Popstars
Clement Marfo And The Frontline
Zinc (DJ Set)

The Alternative Stage

Reginald D Hunter (Reading)
Lee Nelson (Reading)
Doc Brown (Reading)
Chris Cox (Reading)
Jimmy McGhie
Jeff Leach (Reading)
Kid Koala (Reading)
Benjamin Zephaniah (Reading)
Al Murray (Leeds)
Chris Ramsey (Leeds)
Nathan Caton (Leeds)
Late Night Gimp Fight (Leeds)
Scroobius Pip (Leeds)

Reading: August 26 (Sun), Leeds: August 24 (Fri)

Main Stage

Foo Fighters
The Black Keys
Kaiser Chiefs
Bullet For My Valentine
All Time Low
The Gaslight Anthem
Eagles Of Death Metal
Band Of Skulls
Pulled Apart By Horses

NME/Radio 1 Stage

Two Door Cinema Club
The Horrors
Mark Langegan Band
The Joy Formidable
Django Django
Of Monsters And Men

The Lock Up Stage

Less Than Jake
Me First And The Gimme Gimmes
Trash Talk
Good Riddance
The Skints
Polar Bear Club
This Is Hell
The Flatliners
Apologies, I Have None

The Alternative Stage

Jason Byrne (Reading)
Stephen K Amos (Reading)
Sean Walsh
Glenn Wool
Holly Walsh
Katherine Ryan (Reading)
Doc Brown (Leeds)
Damo Clark
Popcorn Comedy
Dave Twentyman (Leeds)
Kid Koala (Leeds)

Photo Gallery – The 30 Greatest Reading And Leeds Festivals Moments

To check the availability of Reading Festival tickets and get all the latest listings, go to NME.COM/TICKETS now, or call 0871 230 1094.

To check the availability of Leeds Festival tickets and get all the latest listings, go to NME.COM/TICKETS now, or call 0871 230 1094.,AAAAABumiUU~,CmZu1qzq0NxeK5dYcW5EDPxuNrmWNe9J&bctid=1785105937001