The year rolls by and Reading rolls in, search for your sleeping bag, tent and ticket; immerse yourself in another summer ritual and descend on this modern day summer solstice.

The festivities opened up when we wandered to the main stage to see everyone’s favourite boy in the corner. The man with the impossibly low jeans pulled out all stops to entertain the thousands that had come to see him and show the sights and sounds of why he won that Mercury Award for his all-action displays. Killing the music to allow us to sing ‘rude boy don’t watch that’ the crowd did their most aggressive accent from the ghetto, but the best part was his hit ‘Stand Up Tall’: the volume oscillated dramatically from ‘din-deh-don’t-know-the-rap to ‘PULL-UP-YOUR-SOCKS-AND-STAND-UP-TALL’. Later on we were gifted the double-whammy of MGMT and Vampire Weekend consecutively: MGMT’s ostentatious antics went down a treat with the audience in the NME/Radio 1 tent, the succession of ‘oh-uh-oh’ that littered their set enabled even those who had only heard the hype, and not the sound surrounding them to join in with consummate ease. Vampire Weekend went on to match the mystical regalia of MGMT, by serving up a series of sing-alongs that surpassed the best of any scout meetings. Indeed it is this boyish innocence that holds the key to Vampire Weekend’s charm, they look like they’d prefer to take a knock than to ever possibly give one out, (unlike the Sex Pistols, eh Kele?), and the crowd were enraptured by their performance. Only a stumbling drunk who played his part perfectly could top the efforts of the bands we had seen and Babyshambles’ ramshackle riot show illustrated that Pete Doherty, whatever else he may have done, is still an astounding showman.

Back at the campsite we had unfortunately seated ourselves next to Megaphone Man. No
superhero, we quickly were at odds and our childish skirmishes encapsulate the Reading spirit: we nicked their firewood and gave him a bloody nose, they woke us up at five in the morning and once pissed on our tents. In normal society we would have a litany of charges against us, but this is Reading, so scream bollocks to that.

Saturday began and in it the two gems that should reside within anyone’s top three performances: Santogold and Justice. In my ignorance and unconverted state I had not previously heard her music, however a happy decision led me to witness an eye-extravaganza as Santi White and band went all out to secure our hearts, they even had two robotic dancers that jerked in to co-ordination spastically to spectacular effect. The fact that they retained their shades and didn’t speak once or interact with the crowd, meant they elevated themselves to another world and ensured amazement amongst all spectators, they even upstaged Santogold slightly but her tremendous vocals and chatty stage presence endeared her to all. Then, when the night fell, Justice appeared. The tent thudded with the unleashed animals within, and their relentless juggernaut of a set was perfectly executed so that no-one knew when the beat would drop, but when it did, cue scenes of chaos en masse.

Sunday, with our ever-battered bodies more bruised than before we were slightly disappointed at the line up prospects, for Reading seemed to have exhausted itself and it wasn’t until dusk before there was any chance of catching us in the arena. Another band of inextinguishable hype were Alex Turner’s new outfit which while having a full orchestra on stage, never really attained any great heights but were enjoyable none the less.

And so with the silent disco offering salvation to those who hadn’t listened to quite enough brilliant music, Reading finished with our all-night campfire causing the nearest fire-towers plenty of concern and the embers were still glowing faintly when the first trains began to leave and us on it.