Reading and Leeds festival review – glittery GCSE blowout has most diverse lineup yet

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Bramham Park, Leeds
From Dua Lipa’s choreographed pop to Kendrick Lamar’s rap blitzkrieg, R&L expanded beyond the indie faithful – but Sex on Fire still got the biggest singalong

‘The worst lineup ever” raged social-media users when this year’s twin-site festival was announced in February, while a recent tweet unfavourably comparing the event with that of 2000 (Oasis, Pulp, Primal Scream, et al) went viral.

However, the former rock festival had to adapt to changing tastes. Huge, anthemic indie rock bands – the Vaccines and the Courteeners – still fill the field, but there are far fewer of them. This year’s event is the most culturally diverse yet, with rock, metal, rap, grime, dance and pop represented across seven stages. Some things don’t change, though, and the traditional post-GCSE results blowout attracts a largely teenage audience seizing the opportunity to paint their faces with glitter and try things they wouldn’t dare at home. When rapper Post Malone urges “Get drunk! Do drugs!” you can almost hear the distant wails of irate parents.

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