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Things to do | Posted 04 Mar 2020

Thinking of visiting Reading this year? You’re in luck, this exciting town has some of the best festivals in the UK. Here are some of our favourites.


Reading Festival

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28th – 30th August - Richfield Avenue

You’ve probably caught some of Reading music festival on TV at some point. Each year, over 100,000 music-lovers flock to Richfield Avenue to see some of the biggest names in music. The likes of Kasabian, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Libertines, and Foo Fighters have all headlined in recent years, but it’s the electric atmosphere that brings people back to the festival year after year.

The headliners for 2020’s Reading festival are Liam Gallagher, Rage Against The Machine, and Stormzy, with the Courteeners, Two Door Cinema Club, and Gerry Cinnamon all gracing the main stage.

Are You Listening?

25th April - Various venues

The aim of this festival is to raise money for Reading Mencap, a charity that supports adults and children with learning difficulties, but it’s also a celebration of Reading music. Each year, many of the town’s most exciting musical talent come together to raise awareness of a vital cause. Many are already regulars of the Reading gig circuit, but you can also catch newer bands, as well as local DJs across the town centre.

Are You Listening has raised more than £60,000 for Mencap from previous events, and we think 2020’s festival will be the biggest yet!

Vaisakhi

13th April

The parade starts at 11am, at the Singh Sabna Gurdawara, Cumberland Road, Newtown

Vaisakhi is one of the most prominent dates on the Sikh calendar, which celebrates the 1699 transformation of the Khalsa Panth into holy warriors. To mark the event each year, the sikh community of Reading holds a bright and colourful parade full of eye-catching floats, music, and delicious street food.

There’s also a Nagar Kirtan parade in nearby Slough to mark the occasion, with a similar array of colourful floats and music.

Reading Beer and Cider Festival

7th – 10th May - Christchurch Meadows

Thirsty? Now in its 25th year, the Reading Beer and Cider Festival is one of the largest volunteer-led beer festivals in the south of England. Located in the beautiful Christchurch Meadows, overlooking the River Thames, attendees can enjoy an eclectic mix of 450 cask ales, 55 key keg ales, 140 ciders and perries, and a huge selection of foreign bottled beers.

But it’s not all about the beers. Sample some tempting street food from international hawker stalls, as well as a pub quiz and live music to keep you entertained in the (hopefully) sunshine!

Water Fest

Dates TBC - Civic Centre

Last year, Reading’s beloved Water Fest celebrated its 30th year, and this year’s event is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever. Held annually, Water Fest is a celebration of the Kennet and Avon canal and the important role it’s played in the town’s history. And what’s more, it’s free to attend, so it’s a great choice for a family on a budget.

East Reading Festival

21st June 2020 - Palmer Park

East Reading Festival is now in its 11th year and is a celebration of the local community. Focused on strengthening connections between the people of Reading and beyond, the event boasts a plethora of stalls, selling everything from street food to arts and crafts. There’s also live music from the local area to keep you entertained as you stroll through the green.

Celebrating the community of East Reading in all its diversity, East Reading Festival is a great place to sample local food, drink and support small businesses in the area.

Open for Art

28th June – 5th July - Various venues

Reading’s first of its kind, Open for Art is an innovative, creative festival that places a focus on quiet spaces, allowing attendees and artists the space to practice their craft – whatever it may be. The festival is all about encouraging people to get involved in art, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and get stuck in, as many of the activities invite guests to participate!

Explore your own creativity with an art workshop or see the world through someone else’s eyes by exploring an exhibition. Run completely by volunteers, Open for Art encourages attendees to learn new skills. You never know, you might discover a hidden talent!

Reading Fringe Festival

28th June – 5th July - Various venues

Now returning for its 8th year in 2020, the renowned Reading Fringe Festival is back with over 100 events celebrating the creative arts. Explore the range of art exhibitions, comedy, live music, spoken word, yoga, and cabaret, all brought together to support local emerging artists and encourage the local community to love and support creativity in all its forms.

Reading Fringe has won a number of awards since it began, including Festival of the Year at the Cultural Awards and the Pride of Reading Award for Cultural Contribution.

Reading Comic Con

21st November - Rivermead Leisure Complex

Brought to you by Creed Conventions, Reading Comic Con returns after a sell-out event last year. With props and vehicles from all your favourite movies and TV shows, this is a great opportunity to let out your geeky side! Plus, each year attendees have the opportunity to meet some high-profile TV and film stars. Last year saw stars from Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who flock to Reading to sign autographs and pose for photos with fans.

Where to stay

To sample all the delights of Reading and surrounding areas, Jurys Inn Oxford is just half an hour away by train. Here you can get a good night’s rest in one of our stylish guestrooms, after exploring the delights of this exciting, culturally-rich town.

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