The majority of performances on the Main stage, Radio 1 stage and BBC Introducing stage will be recorded by the BBC. We will endeavour to air each of these performances live or show extended highlights on BBC Three, Radio 1, Red Button and here online.
When the BBC decides to cover a music festival, it needs to work within a tight budget to provide the best value for money for Licence Fee payers. This means we cannot always afford to record all performances from every stage. At Reading festival we are recording the Main stage, Radio 1 stage and BBC Introducing stage. These stages offer the main headline acts from the festival and interesting newer artists.
On occasion an act may not wish to be filmed or recorded. Artists may also agree to be recorded but only allow a limited number of songs to be aired. This could be for a number of reasons for instance: the quality of some parts of the performance, because they do not wish to broadcast new or unreleased material, or they do not want to broadcast their entire live set.
The material an artist plays may not agree with the BBC Taste & Decency guidelines, such as containing excessive swearing. In these instances there is no way for the BBC to air that material.
The BBC is committed to making sure the sound and visual quality of a performance is high. In live open air arenas, the quality of recordings and performances can vary greatly due to environmental and technical factors. The BBC may decide that the recording of particular songs are not of a high enough quality to air, although we endeavour to provide at least a sample of a band's show if we feel they are central to the festival.
Another reason why certain songs are not available on the BBC is due to there being a limited number of broadcast slots to air material. Around 40 hours of performances will be recorded at Reading festival, but TV and Radio slots will amount to much less. This means TV and Radio producers select the performances that reflect the festival best and appeal to the different audiences for networks and channels. Much more material is featured on Red Button and online but even then the practical limitations of editing such a large amount of material quickly can prevent performances from being available.
There's more information about how and why the BBC broadcasts festivals at the Coverage FAQs