News Why Didn’t Reading & Leeds Instantly Sell Out?

So, last Thursday (17th March) I ventured up from my bed at 8:45am to get ready for a pre-sale. It was the Reading 2011 pre-sale organised by Vodafone. You can say what you like about those tax-dodging bunch of criminals but you can’t say they don’t like to treat their customers. Fifteen minutes after 9am, I had bought a ticket and went straight back to bed until my daily alarm went off, safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t have to go through Manic Monday for another year.

Except that wasn’t the case.

It’s currently nearly 7’o clock as I’m writing this, a whole 24 hours after they went onsale and they’re still there (in fact, they’re STILL there a couple of days after I wrote that last sentence). This is pretty unprecedented given that they have sold out almost instantly in recent years. Why is it the case this time around?

People are finally running out of money

The sudden influx of festivals in the last few years has meant that it’s entirely possible that people have already spent their money on tickets for another event. Reading & Leeds is also usually the final big festival to put tickets onsale and, whilst in the past this has not been a problem, one wonders if by moving the sale forward by a month they would be able to shift all their tickets.

People are running out of patience with the ‘samey’ lineup

One of the many criticisms levelled at Reading & Leeds is that the same kind of bands play it so often that it doesn’t feel fresh any more. For example, Deftones and Patrick Wolf (yes readers, this is possibly the only time on the internet that those two artists are spoken of in the same sentence; savour the moment) only last played in 2009 and they return two years on in very similar slots on the bill to boot. Either their careers have stalled or the organisers have run out of imagination (more on that here - Ed).

People are getting older

Another criticism levelled is that the age group is ridiculously young and some people have just grown out of it. To be fair, it’s easy to sympathise with those naysayers. I felt creepily old when I went to Reading in 2009 and it made me feel a bit wrong, like I was trying to be cool with my fancy trilby hat that I bought years ago in Camden before it became cool and ‘with it’. I was just 21 at the time. The feeling will only be amplified this year when I go there are as a 23-year-old.

People are still annoyed with Axl Rose

To be fair, that’s a pretty good reason that’s hard to argue with.

I guess the overriding point here is that Reading & Leeds is starting to lose its appeal. What was a highlight of the end of the summer is now almost an after-thought after your Glastonburys and your Bestivals and your Latitudes and your Guilfests (ok, maybe not that one but still, at least by pairing Peter Andre with Public Image Ltd they’re building a ‘look’ for themselves; a festival that takes place in Bizarro World). Especially when all those festivals are offering far more for your money in terms of non-musical activities. I mean, why spend £195 on an event that only really offers bands when for the same amount of money you can watch cinema, cabaret and metal robot things fighting each other in Arcadia at Glastonbury?

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