The Reading Festival has its roots in the National Jazz and Blues Festival which first took place way back in 1961. Its claim to be the UK’s oldest festival may be something of a moot point in the Eavis household as it didn’t permanently establish it’s home in Reading until 1971, a year after the first Glastonbury festival.  Originally a hard rock festival Reading has evolved over the years to embrace a wide range of alternative musical styles and genres and is now firmly ensconced in the national psyche as a staple of the British summer festival scene. It wasn’t always this way, in an attempt to widen the festivals appeal a disastrous foray into commercial AOR in 1988 almost led to its demise.  The baffling Saturday line up that particular year which saw the harsh yet hilarious bottling off stage of Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler has since become the stuff of festival legend. It also ultimately led to the ousting of original promoter Harold Pendleton. In the aftermath the festival appeared to lose its focus for a number of years until the early 1990’s which saw a revival in its fortunes to such an extent that Leeds leg was added in 1999.

This year’s Leeds Festival tickets will get you access to some of the biggest names in music descending on both sites.  Whether the gurning,  punk of Green Day, the impassioned alt stadia rock of Scots trio Biffy Clyro or headliner Eminem’s Grammy winning rap is your bag, this year’s festival boasts an eclectic mix which should satisfy most people’s musical predilections.

For us the most exciting news from the ‘bigger stages” is the return of the legendary Trent Reznor with Nine Inch Nails,  in what look set to be NIN’s only UK dates this year. The ever reticent Reznor, after employing his usual smoke and mirrors approach to PR, has recently revealed that his eighth studio album Hesitation Marks  is to be released on September 3, 2013, his first work with NIN since 2007’s ‘Year Zero.’

Of course being primarily a new music blog we often spend our time at such festivals exploring the smaller stages, and will be looking forward to discovering which artists are announced for the BBC introducing stages. It’s also welcome news that acts we’ve previously championed about such as Findlay, Savages, In The Valley Below as well as MS MR and Chvrches are all playing this year’s festival. And of course it may well be worth keeping an eye on grime pioneer Wiley’s tweets during the festival, after his hilariously intemperate ramblings about Glastonbury.  Don’t forget your tickets as there’s never a dull moment at Reading and Leeds.