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These photos encapsulate Reading Festival through the ages


If you missed our exciting news, here it is: CONTIKI IS GOING TO READING FESTIVAL AGAIN! Yep, it’s a big year for us as we launch round two of Contiki Sounds, a Limited Edition trip themed around music, art and all things cool.

In case you’re not familiar with Reading Festival (AKA as the Reading and Leeds Festival), it’s a not-so-little festival held over three days each year and is synonymous with the UK’s youth culture. It started in the 1950s as Beaulieu Jazz Festival, before evolving throughout the 60s and 70s into the Reading Festival we know today: a haven of rock, indie, electro and alternative music.

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We’re calling it – this is the UK’s best music festival

Reading Festival has hosted many of the UK’s most legendary acts over the years, including The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, The Who, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, The Police, Blur, Muse, The Cure, Radiohead, and Oasis, plus top overseas names like Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Metallica, Guns n’ Roses, Eminem, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Blink 182, Green Day and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The list goes on.

Many of the famous acts have headlined several times over the years, showing that even the geniuses behind the tunes think it’s an epic weekend. It’s considered a bit of a right of passage to attend Reading Festival for young people in the UK and abroad. But how has it changed throughout the years? Well, let’s take a look…

The recognisable yellow and red signage hasn’t changed much

The line-ups are ALWAYS a list of favourites

The genre is always being tweaked from jazz, to rock, to Britpop and now opening up to rap

Lines to the porta-loos have always been long

Because some things will never change…


The acts have embraced new tech like lights, streamers and fireworks


Festival fashion has changed over the years, from simple jeans and tees to the modern era of glitter and dress up

The campsite remains a fixture, with the sites recognisable as mini tribes for festival goers

Fast friendships are part of the fun

Reading has also brought amazing connections to people’s lives, going as far as to inspire people on their wedding days…

No matter what era it is, spending the weekend at Reading is a must-do

We’re super excited to announce the second year of Contiki Sounds, a seven-day trip built specifically around the UK arts and culture scene, both past and present. Visiting the likes of Bath, Oxford, Bristol, and Windsor, you’ll take a walk down the UK’s diverse and legendary past (this Roman baths and Banksy walking tours) before partying like it’s 2019 at Reading Festival for three glorious days. This trip will not only see you travelling around all the best bits of Britain but meeting like-minded humans who will quickly become your new besties. You’ll all roll up to the festival and by now you know, this is THE way to do Reading 2019.