Visit four festivals in a weekend

By Greg Cochrane
Newsbeat music reporter

  • Published


The final person we catch up with at Reading festival before driving the short distance London's Notting Hill for Carnival is La Roux.

Turns out she's heading there for the first time too and is expecting to see, amongst other things, "parrots and cocktails".

No parrots for us. What we do find are hundreds of people in their feathery carnival finary, stall upon stall selling BBQ jerk chicken and an accomadating float of people willing for me to play a few songs on their steel pans. Another great experience, as the packed streets are lined with whilstle blowing party-goers.

A long walk to the underground station brings to an end our adventure, four festivals in one weekend. Leeds, Creamfields, Reading and Notting Hill Carnival have all been visited.

Mission, officially, accomplished.


After taking Friendly Fires' advice and stoking up on some hearty food, the nerves really start to jangle as I'm invited on stage with London dance trio Filthy Dukes.

With thousands watching on at the main stage, a few duff notes later and it's over in the blink of an eye.

With adrenaline still rushing through my veins it's back to the van and the longest stint driving as we road trip between Creamfields and Reading. Except it's not.

Somewhere near junction 16 of the M6 a tyre puncture halts the journey and keeps us stranded on the hard shoulder until we're rescued.

After four hours sleep, we arrive at Reading festival safely, in one piece and ready to get a taste of a roadie's lifestyle with Frank Turner.

That means so far on this 500-mile trip, we've introduced the first band of Leeds Festival, dropped the first tunes of Creamfields, sung on stage and been given a glimpse of life on the less glamorous side of touring life by lugging Frank Turner's kit and re-stringing his guitar.

Not bad going, and Carnival still to come.


Birch services (near Warrington) off the M6 is where we conduct our first job of the day - speaking to Radio 1's Dev on the breakfast show - and the stop-off already looks like an Ibizan after party.

Ravers queuing patiently for a fry up in their Fluorescent get up on their way to Creamfields.

It's those same people going absolutely bananas a few hours later as we kick off the day's tunes by playing a short set in an ice cream van fitted with a hulking sound system as people stream through the gates.

Those punters, who've descended from all corners of the country to the dance-Mecca, are pretty keen to show off some moves.

Nabbing a quick word with St Albans' Friendly Fires (one of the only bands, as opposed to DJs on the bill) backstage it transpires they're doing the same four festivals we are but in a different sequence.

Their advice? Go to any lengths to find some good healthy grub...


So we made it to Leeds Festival without drowning - rain is battering the van as we pull up.

British summer time is already in full swing as it absolutely buckets it down.

First 'job' of the day is to introduce the first band of the weekend (locals lads Dinosaur Pile-Up) on the Radio 1/NME Stage.

Afterwards we catch a word and they're the first ones to tip us off about the secret set from Foo Fighter Dave Grohl's new super group, Them Crooked Vultures who all feature members of Queens Of The Stone Age and Led Zeppelin.

When they do hit the stage for only their second UK gig their set is greeted with a mixture of excitement and bewilderment from the assembled crowd.

Apart from that all the talk amongst fans in the arena is about the festival's ban on flags (opinion is split) and how Leeds, of course, is far superior to Reading.

We'll see you on Sunday, but for the moment, off to Creamfields…


August bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is the biggest festival weekend of the year.

Glastonbury might have the jumper wearing tree-dwellers and V festival might have the celebs. But over four days – and unofficially bringing down the curtain on the summer – is Reading and Leeds, Creamfields and Notting Hill Carnival.

Our wagon above is, barring any flat tyres, going to take us 482 miles to all four festivals in one weekend.

So it's with a cooler full of energy drinks, a moth eaten sleeping bag and our, ahem, mascot Pingu Rascal that we hit the road. First stop, Leeds festival.

Keep checking back for news from the four festivals through the weekend or get Greg's updates on Twitter

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