The twin peaks of Reading and Leeds are still a spiritual home for rock, metal, punk and all manner of black-clad guitar antics, but in recent years the plus-sized festival has been earning a reputation for megawatt rap headliners like Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and Post Malone. In 2020, that shift takes centre stage – and this time it’s a UK takeover, with international grime ambassador Stormzy bringing his gospel-tinged street anthems to the August bonanza. With Glastonbury already in his back pocket, the double-headline slot should be no sweat for Croydon’s finest (figuratively, that is – we’re sure there’ll be a LOT of sweat).
The irrepressible Liam Gallagher – who outed himself as a headliner back in November – returns to the festival for the umpteenth time to play songs from his two solo albums – plus a few Oasis classics, no doubt. And for the third headliner? Grab your air guitar (or drumsticks or microphone – really, the choice is yours) for Rage Against The Machine, as the LA rap-rockers return to their adoring British public for a spittle-flecked shout-along like no other. Stormzy is just one of a huge cast of UK rappers on the lineup, with AJ Tracey, M Huncho, Aitch, Jay1 and D-Block Europe all flying the flag for a homegrown movement that’s finally getting the shine it deserves. Plus, representing the rap wilds of Northampton, breakout MC Slowthai will bring politically charged bars from his excellent debut album 'Nothing Great About Britain'. A few US imports get a look-in, too – don't miss Danny Brown, Migos, Denzel Curry, Kanye collaborator 070 Shake, plus seasoned live duo Run The Jewels.
Digging into the axe-wielding end of the lineup, you’ll find hardcore veterans Gallows, Dublin punk-poets Fontaines DC, Cali-punk supergroup Fever 333 and unlikely folk hero Gerry Cinnamon, whose lairy anthems of Glasgow life have made him a stadium-conquering word-of-mouth hit. Other highlights include Gen Z soul operator Rex Orange County, lo-fi teen Beabadoobee and euphoric indie-poppers Fickle Friends, along with a smattering of house grooves from DJs like MK and Sonny Fodera.
Reading and Leeds Festival takes place over August 28-30. Check out loads more UK festivals here. And let's relive the time Radio 5 put RATM out live on air, shall we...