Leeds and Reading Festivals officially underway


Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters

Leeds and Reading Festivals have officially got underway.

Pulled Apart By Horses opened the main stage at Leeds. It's the first time a band from the city has had the honour.

Foo Fighters, Kasabian and The Cure are headlining this year's events.

More than 87,000 fans are expected at Reading's Richfield Avenue site with another 75,000 each day in Leeds. Other bands performing include Paramore, The Black Keys, Kaiser Chiefs and Florence + The Machine.

"Ticket sales have turned out stronger than last year and we're all set for a music-filled bank holiday to remember," said promoter Melvin Benn.

"The sun is out and the stages are up.

"The Foo Fighters are completely synonymous with Reading. It's their natural home within the United Kingdom.

"It's a place they want to play and I feel it's a place they feel very comfortable in."

In pictures: Leeds Festival fans

'Future headliners'

Headliners on the NME/Radio 1 stage are The Maccabees, At the Drive-In and Justice.

Aimee-Jade Tiffin-Mcguirk, Rebecca Hamilton, Ella Worthy
Image caption Fans have been gearing up for the first day headliners

Green Day are also believed to be playing a surprise set at Reading this weekend.

During an interview with Zane Lowe on Radio 1 the band said they couldn't confirm or deny the rumours but joked about playing their 1994 album Dookie.

Earlier this month, Melvin Benn said that some of the acts appearing near the top of the line-up could become future headliners.

"Paramore, Florence, The Black Keys - you are seeing future headliners. No question in my view," he said.

Rain is expected at both sites over the weekend but conditions are unlikely to be as bad as the were at some other UK festivals this year.

Reading and Leeds facts

    • 2012 is the 10th year the festival has been at Bramham Park in Leeds
    • The Reading Festival build started on 25 July
    • The Reading site will be using more than 35km, or 21 miles, of fencing
    • There are around 2,300 toilets across the site at Reading
    • Security staff will hand out up to 150,000 cups of water at Leeds this weekend

Melvin Benn said both sites have held up well this summer.

"We've had a phenomenal amount of rain throughout the country," he said.

"Reading and Leeds haven't been affected as badly as we might have expected. They are looking good."

Check the weather at both sites on BBC Weather and you can see the full line-up on the BBC's Reading and Leeds 2012 site.

Weekend ticket holders will also get a free beer or soft drink and burger on each day of this year's festivals.

Huw Stephens will be presenting the early afternoon show on Radio 1 between 1-4pm from Reading Festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. BBC Three will also be showing live performances through the weekend and there will be more on the red button.