Festival Morons
August 28, 2008

Please give a warm welcome to the FF'ers. At least a warmer welcome than the idiots at Reading Festival gave them, anyway.

The FF'ers are a lovely bunch of folk, who supported my band in Leeds a year or so ago to a great reception. I was really pleased for them to have landed, in the Reading/Leeds weekend, such a high-profile pair of gigs.

But then, this.

Rumours started circulating a while before the festival that they were in fact the Foo Fighters playing a secret show, rather than an unsigned band who were thrilled to have won a competition to play at one of their favourite music events. Despite the band's best efforts to quash the rumours by posting on various sites explaining who they actually were, around 5,000 people gathered around the festival's smallest stage (designed to host 500-1000 people), and proceeded to behave abysmally towards the band for absolutely no reason other than that the Foos weren't playing.

Bizarrely, this extended to the next band as well, who were forced to cut their set short as security pulled the plug on the stage in order to disperse the crowd.

What's more worrying, though, is that a lot of people in this footage don't seem to be hurling abuse, bottles etc through anger, but through amusement. Listen to some of the comments, look at some of the faces. These people are enjoying themselves even more than if the Foos had been playing.

Now, an equally ridiculous rumour is circulating that the whole thing was a PR exercise by the band, and that it was them who started the original speculation that the Foo Fighters would be appearing. It certainly wasn't.

Anyway, hats off to them for pushing through and completing their set. And for the brilliant comment they close with. And for having inadvertently gained themselves so much publicity through this. They've been namechecked, through reports of these riots, on national television and in big national magazines and papers.

"Thanks Reading, you've been the best crowd ever!"
"Oh well, thanks anyway."

Most recent blog posts from Lewis Denby...

EmP EmP - August 28, 2008 (11:35 AM)
The blame for this lies with 50 Cent. No, really.

I was there in 2004 when fiddy got the beating he bloody deserves. Thing with that was, it wasn't so much malicious; the anger was rightious. Who was this twerp invading our rock festival with his lazy beats and cliche ryhmes? As soon as he arrogently strutted on, mubling about whatever skank he'd blinged or shot or shot full of coke, the crowd's intentions were known. He and his army of twits were flooded. I didn't just watch, I threw, and I remain damn proud of it.

But it started something ugly. It made some people think that it was okay to pelt any old band they didn;t like the look of. Sure, I laughed when the My Chemical Romance guy got knock clean out, but it was clear that the bottle wars had stopped being a protest and started to become a tradition. All in all, it's one that the festival could sorely do without.

I don't bother with Reading anymore. A lot of it is because me and music have not been on speaking terms for a fair while now, but it's just as much because there's an ugly underlaying vibe there now.

But there's no such thing as bad press. Here's hoping this will become a platform for the band.
Genj Genj - August 28, 2008 (11:38 AM)
What do you expect? The crowd liked Foo Fighters. They obvious had some sort of brain damage to begin with.
Halon Halon - August 28, 2008 (02:56 PM)
There's nothing wrong with liking Foo Fighters. They're only average live but have plenty of great songs.
Lewis Lewis - August 29, 2008 (05:30 AM)
The 50 Cent thing was interesting. I saw him at Leeds the same year. It was a bit of an odd booking by Festival Republic (then Meanfiddler) and to this day I'm not sure why they felt it a good idea to put such a different act so high up the billing on the main stage, directly before headliners Green Day if I remember rightly. Still, this was old Fiddy's opportunity to win over the predictably hostile crowd.

But he didn't. Instead, he boasted, bragged, and insulted the audience when they didn't buy it. Pretty embarrassing, and while I'll never condone throwing stuff at bands he could have dealt with the situation far better.

Poor The Rasmus, which I think was either the same year or the year after, managed to play a total of three songs at both festivals combined due to the abysmal treatment the crowd gave them. This one I don't understand. Similarly Fightstar in 2005. Plenty of very similar bands at the festivals those years, but for some reason it wasn't cool to like those two. As such, people felt it reasonable to try to hurt them with missiles. Not cool.

The less said about the Leeds/Reading riots every fucking year, the better. It's the reason I'll never do either of those festivals again unless I have guest tickets. I've been spoiled by my one year in the VIP area. It's just much nicer, and while it's still full of idiots, it's full of idiots who are there to have a good time with each other, watch some bands, have some boozes, and not cause trouble to those who have paid nearly 200 to do the same.
EmP EmP - August 29, 2008 (09:54 AM)
I felt awful for The Rasmus. I don't think they even got through a song at Reading and I know a lot of the people who have gathered to listen to them were very vocal in their dissapointment in the band bailing. The poor guys looked scared out of their minds.

Fightstar were hated because they had the guy with huge eyebrows from Busted in there. A lot of people don't need any reasons above petty.

The bottle mentality actually worked ut for a few bands. I remember Fallout Boy turning a hostile crowd to their side by manufacturing the crowd to turn on itself, using up all their ammo on each other and letting the band preform its set in peace. I'm not their biggest fan, but that display did make my day.

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