MESSAGE FROM MELVIN BENN, FESTIVAL DIRECTOR
Dear Reading Festival Goer,
It has been a very difficult month. When we got on site on July 25th, Green Camps ABC and D were waist high in water from the floods, yellow camp FGH and I were over 3’ deep in water, all of brown was over my knees, purple I couldn’t get to and White was just part of the river. We have recovered to a large extent but not fully and a fair amount of the site is still not campable today.
I think it will change and get better but I need to put a plan in today on the basis of it not getting better so this is the update so you can plan with your friends where to camp.
Red Campsite is pretty much OK.
Green A is mostly unusable but not fully.
Green B C and D are not and are unlikely to be.
Green E will be partially unusable as will Green F G & H.
Yellow A B C D & E are all good but F & G are pretty boggy. (I think they will mainly recover)
Brown A B C & D are all patchy but partially useable.
Brown E & F are less likely to be useable as they are still very very wet and I do not anticipate much usage of them.
Brown G H I J & K are mainly useable but have some largish wet patches.
Brown L & M are mainly useable as is most of purple.
White is 90% useable.
To counter these areas of land that we have lost, what was Orange car park has become a campsite. It is in good condition – but it does mean that all of the car parking that was in Orange will now be redirected to white where we have ample car parking space. I would strongly advise to try and use the White campsite if you park there. The signage is being changed as we speak so please please follow the AA signs and they will get you there. That said National Express and British Rail are great options.
The drop off at Orange will remain however so if that was your plan you can still do it but there will be no parking in orange at all.
In respect of the boat operations from white back to the main site on arrival I have improved that considerably and the boat operators are sure they will be able to transport 2500 people per hour. On the Wednesday and Thursday that will be straight over to Brown in order to maintain speed. For show days the boats will go to and from White to Brown but also to and from White to Green so there is less walk to the arena.
At the moment the main arena is in pretty good condition.
In summary it has been a challenge. The summer has been bloody awful but thanks to great support from Reading Borough Council and the Environment Agency who have managed to drop the level of the river adjacent to the site and therefore reduce the level of the water table on site, as well as the amazing efforts of a key number of my site crew (I’m going to put their pictures up on the website so you can thank them and buy them a pint if you see them) We will be able to stage the world’s greatest rock festival despite what climate change and the weather have thrown at us. I always said the festival was more important than the weather!
I look forward to seeing you all there.
Managing Director Festival Republic – Promoter of Carling Weekend: Reading & Leeds Festivals.
PS: The weather forecast for the weekend is actually quite good – too late to dry the land but at least we can enjoy some sun.