Reading & Leeds 28-30 August 2009  

Frequently Asked Questions

Reading Festival from above

Performances on the Reading Festival Main Stage and Radio 1/NME stage from 3pm will be recorded by the BBC. The majority of acts from the BBC Introducing Stage will also be recorded. We will endevour to air extended highlights from each of those performances across BBC TV, Radio 1, Red Button and here online. If you would like to find out more how the BBC is covering Reading and Leeds Festivals read below and leave a comment if you would like to suggest how we can improve it.

Why don't we show all the artists and songs at a festival?

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 afford to record all performances from every stage.

At Reading Festival we are recording the Main Stage, Radio 1 stage (both from 3pm) 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. Artists may also agree to be filmed 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.

There may also be limitations on the amount of material we can film and from where determined by the festival organisers. Organisers care how their festivals are reflected in broadcast and may want to keep some moments or stages exclusive for festival goers.

The BBC meanwhile 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 is due to there being a limited number of broadcast slots to air material. Typically, 40 hours of performances are recorded at a three day 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 material being available.

Producers at the BBC make a number of editorial decisions as to which performances work best to tell the story of a festival. If you have any suggestions about how we could better reflect festivals please comment below:


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