Reading 2017: Sundara Karma are hometown heroes at Reading 2017

Sundara Karma, Reading Festival, 2017

The biggest non-main stage crowd of the weekend? Oh yes.

Most bands might spend their set professing a lifelong love for Reading Festival, but for Sundara Karma, this is their local. Taking to the NME/ Radio 1 stage to an enormous crowd, the boys are clearly having a rather special day. “We’re from Reading and it’s been a dream of ours to play this tent since we were this big,” says frontman Oscar Pollock, gesturing way down to the floor. It’s not just a homecoming for this lot though, it’s a set that’s destined to go down as a career marker: the point when Sundara Karma became a real next level contender.

From the opening notes to the final strains, their set is victorious. Packing out the tent to bursting, it’s not just full, but full of real, proper, hardcore fans. When they bust out ‘Flame’, the entire crowd sings along at deafening level. Later, they introduce ‘Happy Family’. “This is a slow one, it’ll give you time to reflect on the transience of life. It’s for all the ex-husbands out there”. It’s the kind of niche thinking that shouldn’t translate to lairy crowds of teens, yet it resoundingly does. 

Decked out in a white suit and eyeliner, Pollock is a proper frontman - the kind of androgynous, Brian Molko-esque character that couldn’t be anywhere but on a stage. And as he leads his band through the last cheers, you sense he’s only going to be on bigger ones from here on in. 

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Photos: Emma Swann