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Reading Festival features

Some Reading reading

With the first Reading Festival hitting Richfield Avenue way back in 1971 it's about time someone wrote a book about it. Ian Carroll has done just that, collecting memories of 500 bands and punters who can just about remember they were there.

Reading Festival through the ages

"The crowd are there to be part of something. The band want to create something special. It's in the air. Everyone is working together to create something legendary."

"I said they wouldn't dare throw anything at Alice Cooper, they know how dangerous he can be, Alice will come after them in their dreams!"
Alice Cooper's memories of Reading in 1987.

So says Futureheads frontman Ross Millard about the Reading Festival. And it's just one of 500 memories to be shared by artists and punters in a special book all about the legendary rock festival.

The author is Ian Carroll, a 41-year-old father-of-one who's enjoyed virtually every Reading Festival since 1983.

"I thought it was about time someone wrote a book," says Ian, who lives in Plymouth, "so in 2004 I started writing, I contacted (festival organisers) Mean Fiddler and it just escalated from there."

For the last two-and-a-half years Ian has been collecting memories from festival-goers and performers alike, from old veterans such as Van Der Graaf Generator, Black Sabbath and Status Quo to more recent artists such as Oasis, Foo Fighters and Slipknot.

Ian Carroll with BB6's Orlaith
Ian Carroll backstage with Big Brother 6's Orlaith

Alice Cooper, who headlined the Sunday for the festival's 25th anniversary in 1987, has this particular gem:

"We only played it once. The cool thing about it was, all we were told was they were going to throw bottles at us!

"The funniest thing was, I said I guarantee they would not throw anything at us. Zodiac Mindwarp went on and they got covered, there wasn't one bottle thrown at us.

"I said they wouldn't dare throw anything at Alice Cooper, they know how dangerous he can be, Alice will come after them in their dreams!"

Ian, who has travelled far and wide to interview bands about their memories, has been pleasantly surprised at how keen the normally hard-to-get-hold-of artists were.

"I'm up to 492 replies so by the time the book comes out there will be about 500. Bands in general do want to talk about it, they're really keen on the festival and they're all really positive about it."

Even 50 Cent, who lasted only 20 minutes on the main stage before he was fiercely bottled off, was up for a chat.

"I was going to have an interview with 50 Cent at the Milton Keynes Eminem date," says Ian, "but Eminem cancelled the whole tour so I didn't actually get to speak to him, which is a pity because that would have been interesting."

Poster from 1979 and 2006
Poster from 1979 and 2006

Perhaps equally surprising is the freshness of bands' memories, considering a lot of them probably weren't all too sober on stage.

"Some of them going back a long way can remember loads, I spoke to Francis Rossi from Status Quo and he remembered quite a lot from 1972/1973 when they played, but then 10CC remembered nothing - and they headlined!"

Ian, whose only previous writing experience is band reviews and horror film articles, will write an introduction to each year of the festival with the full festival line-up at the start of each chapter.

There will inevitably also be a vast array of photographs included in the book.

"At the moment we've already chosen 160 from the Reading Evening Post and we'll probably get another 200 from eFestivals (a festivals website), going back over the last eight years."

Ian will also include a smattering of his own photos, both of the bands and the crowds.

The vast tome, which has a simple working title of The Reading Festival Book, is planned to hit the shops the week of the Reading Festival this year, which starts on Friday 24 August 2007.

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Check out BBC Berkshire's minisite on Reading Festival 2006:
Reading Festival 2006 >

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And what of Ian's memories?

"In 2003 we went to see Polyphonic Spree in the Radio One tent when they headlined. We wore Polyphonic Spree robes because we bought them at the merchandise stalls, and we went round for an hour beforehand with the robes on.

"Of course everybody thought we were in the band so we were signing autographs and having our photographs taken with everyone!"

If the book is a success however, Ian will be signing autographs as a renowned author.

Watch this space for full details of the book once it's published.

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Below is a short list of some of the bands included in the book:

Classic Bands

Whitesnake, Yes, Black Sabbath, Gillan, Scorpions, Suzi Quatro, Uriah Heep, Van Der Graaf Generator, MC5, Alice Cooper, Status Quo, Ted Nugent, Slade, Sha Na Na, The Jam, Sham 69, Supertramp, The Stranglers, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Eighties Bands

Twisted Sister, The Cult, Michael Schenker Group, Praying Mantis, Diamond Head, UFO, Judas Priest, Gary Numan, The Mission, The Wonderstuff, Marillion, Big Country

Nineties Bands

Faith No More, The Wedding Present, The Quireboys, Terrorvision, The Wildhearts, Carter USM, Gene, Senser, Therapy?, Helmet

Modern Indie Bands

Oasis, Foo Fighters, Kaiser Chiefs, Maximo Park, Bloc Party, The Cribs, The Subways, BRMC, The Killers, Ordinary Boys, The Rakes, The Go! Team, Editors, Wolfmother, Futureheads, Guillemots, Ash, The Cooper Temple Clause

Modern Rock Bands

Fall Out Boy, Bowling For Soup, Lostprophets, Less Than Jake, Dropkick Murphys, Aiden, Slipknot, Juliette Lewis, Flogging Molly, Pixies

last updated: 03/04/07
 
Have Your Say
Have you got any powerful anecdotes about the Reading Festival? Share them here!
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TheQuad from Toulouse
I was there in 79. The punk era ... pink or green hair, violence all around and flying beers ... up to 2.5l cans. I also remember Robin Zander from Cheap Trick band throwing the Kiss Dynasty record to the crowd when singing Surrender (on the verse: "I got all my Kiss records out") .... One regret: Scorpions replacing Thin Lizzy...

Geddy
Firt one i went to was 1979.Motorhead,CheapTrick,Scorpions,Peter Gabriel,Gillan & Police all on the bill.Only cost £10.50 for a weekend ticke.Well Good.

noel wyatt(ratty)
i havent seen a mention for bad news? i was their roadie. i had to sit behind the drummer wearing a crash helmet and dodging bottles for the entire set.we had a one man tent backstage full to the roof with beer and a small picket fence surrounding it.that was our hospitality tent. i remember driving home in my van with lemmy along for the ride.mad days indeed. i will be back at reading this year with metallica.

Richard Hogg
The first Reading Festival I went to was the one in 1987 - with Alice Cooper headlining on the Sunday. Back then you could buy a day ticket on the door which suited us fine as we were only interested in seeing Alice.I was 18 and had only recently passed my driving test. Not being festival regulars we didn't think about bringing a tent and ended up sleeping in the car which we parked outside someone's house.On the Sunday we woke early and set off to find a chemist where we could buy some mascara and eye liner to put on our 'Alice' faces.We drank throughout the day enduring clumps of turf and bottles of pee raining down from the back of the festival field. At one point there was a huge food/bottle/turf fight between a group of Punks and Rock fans. Well witty.Several beers later I remember watching the Stranglers and thinking - just get offff the stage.It was finally Alice's turn and as he took to the stage there was an almighty surge forwards from the crowd and I was swept along from side to side sometimes moving as much as 40 feet closer to the stage and back again in the space of one song.There were no namby pamby cups of water and lifts out of the crowd for the girlies squashed down the front - it was very much a 'you chose to be down the front now deal with it' attitude - and rightfully so. It's the same with festival toilets - why do we have to have portaloos? what's wrong with a pit and a row of toilet seats suspended above it? That's what festivals should be about.Alice's performance was up to scratch and included all the theatrics from his Nightmare Returns tour - Guillotine, Robot and exploding crutch (I said crutch).When the gig was over I waited outside for my friends as arranged. They all showed up apart from one - who we eventually found in the first aid tent. He'd drunk so much alcohol that he'd fallen asleep and had sunstroke. This was particularly worrying as he was our 'designated driver' and the only one insured to drive the hire car.

Adam Lawrence
This isn't a book so much as recycleing other peoples memories

Rob
WTF? Why are Gayden in there?Go on...get metallica in!

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