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Reading And Leeds Festival Interview

Andrew Kelham
Andrew Kelham 31 March at 01.32

Rock Sound grabs head booker Neil Pengelly to ask about the festival and line-up rumours.

At the official launch of Reading and Leeds Festival Rock Sound grabbed some time with Neil Pengelly, the head booker for the festival, to find out some extra information about the line-up. Green Day, Blink-182 and Lostprophets fans will be very interested to read what he had to say:

How has it been trying to book the line-up for Reading and Leeds this year given the economy and new festivals like Sonisphere? Has it been tough?

''It is tough every year to be honest. There is more competition for the bands you want this year and we are always aware that you cannot repeat bands too often, especially with headline acts we always try to keep that fresh. It was hard but once the whole bill is out there I think people will see the good job we have done with it.''

Has Sonisphere changed the focus of Reading and Leeds, the classic heavy day of the festival seems to be missing this year?

''It has a little bit but once we announce the Lock-Up Stage and announce two Radio 1 stage headliners that are both huge rock acts people will see how rounded it is. Metallica played our festival last year and Nine Inch Nails played two years ago so Sonisphere having them does not make a huge difference to us.''

There were rumours of Blink-182 and Green Day touring again this year, was there any dialogue with either of those bands during the planning for this year?

''Of course we speak to all the best bands each year. I think that Blink-182 will be doing something over here next year and I don't think we will see them here this year. I can't say what Green Day want to do but I'm sure they will reveal their plans in the course of time. We would love to have Green Day at Reading and Leeds one year and when they are around doing festivals then I'm sure we are something they will look at.''

Who you are proud to have booked for the festival this year?

''I think Radiohead will be an incredible show, they are such a fantastic live band and so many people are into them, I would prefer to get a band who are innovative, exciting and amazing live than go for a lesser headliner just because they represent a certain genre of music. I would rather do that than put on a dinosaur rock band. I want bands of the stature of Metallica for Reading and Leeds rather than dilute that for the sake of keeping certain genres in rotation, I would prefer to get the diversity in how we book the rest of the bill while keeping the headlining acts incredibly strong.''

Was it a temptation to keep the heavy day format that has been a hallmark of the festival in recent years?

''It was definitely a question and something we are conscious of as we booked the rest of the bill. We want to keep that appeal and be as broad as possible while at the same time getting the best bands we can. I think Rock Sound readers will be very happy when they see the additions to the bill that are coming up.''

When we will see that?

''We will be announcing one of the second stage headliners next week, they are a very big Welsh rock act but that's probably more than I can say.''


Tickets to Reading And Leeds 2009 are £175 plus booking fees for the weekend or £70 plus booking fees for each day, tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

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