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Object of the Month: Reading Festival flyer,1971

Reading Festival flyer, 1971 (object no. REDMG: 2011.623.2)

Reading Festival flyer, 1971 (object no. REDMG: 2011.623.2)

August is here and if you live in Reading this means one thing – the Festival is almost upon us! This month’s object is a flyer advertising the 1971 Reading Festival. Like today the festival lasted from Friday to Sunday. Unlike today a weekend ticket would only set you back £2! For this, festival goers could watch the likes of Genesis, Lindisfarne and Wishbone Ash to name a few. With this flyer, music lovers could fill in their details to be sent a weekend ticket in advance.

The 1971 festival was the first Reading Festival as we now know it. Its origins lay with the Beaulieu Jazz Festival that was held in the 1950s. This developed into the National Jazz Festival that moved from site to site. As popular music tastes progressed, rhythm and blues acts were increasingly added to the line-up. By the time the festival settled in Reading, the line-up consisted of progressive rock, blues and hard rock. Today the festival has become so popular that a simultaneous festival is held in Leeds. The long history of Reading Festival makes it the world’s oldest popular music festival!

1971 was a big year for Reading; it was the 850th anniversary of the founding of Reading Abbey and the 1100th anniversary of the first mention of ‘Radingas’ in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. As a result the festival was part of a much wider festival of arts across Reading. This tied it in to the rich, cultural heritage of the town.

Reading is about to welcome some of the biggest bands in the world and around 90,000 soon to be muddy and sleep-deprived fans. As the town prepares it is interesting to think about this flyer, and see how far the Festival has come!

Date published: 11 Aug 2016

Related Content:

Programme from 1976

Discover the story behind the Reading Festival, one of the world's biggest and best known music events.

Date published: 08 Jun 2010

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