Main Arena and Bands

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Main Arena and Bands 21 November 2007 12:14 (permalink)
FAQ's on the Main Arena and Bands.
1. What time does the Arena open and what time do the bands start?
The Main arena opens at 11am with the first acts taking to the stage at 12pm.
2. What time do the bands stop and the Arena Close?
Bands will typically stop playing around 11.00/11.30pm.  Entrance to the main arena is stopped at 11.30pm when it is exit only.

3. How many bands play and how long are the sets?
Number of bands and times vary depending on stage and time.  There are 9/10 bands on the main stage every day, more for the NME and even more on the (what up until now has been the) Carling stage and Lock Up stage.  Times range from 30 minutes early on in the day to 60 - 90 minutes for band higher up.  There is normally a 15 - 20 minute gap between acts to set up for the next band, but this is only an approximate, setting up for the headliners WILL take longer.

4. Tent Stage Information.
All stages will hold thousands of people, Radio 1/NME will hold the most, followed by (what up until now has been the) Carling Stage, Lock Up stages and then the Comedy Stage.  If a popular band is playing it WILL fill up and you may find yourself having to stand outside the tent.  You will still hear the band but it is possible that the sound from the main stage will also be audible from outside some of the tents.
5. Stage Hopping
Stage hopping is pretty easy at Reading, due to the layout of the site, as all stages are in relatively quick walking distance, but be prepared to crowds all being herded in the same direction if a popular band is on somewhere ..... you will feel like sheep but there is no need to bahhhhhh!!!

6. I want to be up the front for a band.
It is typically easier to get near the front for bands lower down that it is for higher slotted bands!  Some people will stay down the front of the main stage for the whole day, just so they are there for the headliners.  It is also easier to get to the front by starting at the side and working your way in than it is to start at the back and work your way forward.  If you want to be near the front for the headliners it is advisable to get there and start moving to the front a couple of bands before hand, but its generally not that difficult to get a relatively "decent" spot for a headliner if you do leave it a little late.
The same goes for the tents to be honest, although on a smaller scale, for some of the popular bands, you WONT get near the front if you leave it too late, you have to plan to get there before the previous band finish to get a good spot, although it is possible to get a good spot it you arrive later, it really is pot luck with the tents.
7. Separate Barriered Section at the front.
There is a section at the front of the main stage (not in the tents), that is barriered off from the rest of the crowd.  This is not ticket only or VIP access only, if there is space you can get in it.  Its really successful in cutting down the crushing potential during a set and despite uproar when it was first introduced, people soon accepted that it was a good and welcomed idea.  If you want to be in here for the headliners .... You WILL need to get there early!

8. Band Timings.
You can buy a programme with a lanyard which will give you all the set times for all the stages, and you can get set times from the Zone Manager Caravans in each campsite.  Please be aware that changes made to the line up / set times after the programmes and lanyards have gone to print (about 2 weeks prior to the festival) will obviously not be updated so you need to be aware of late changes before you leave.  Changes on the day will also be advertised on the screen and I believe you can opt into receiving information text messages throughout the weekend.  Bands will also run over schedule which will in effect push everything after slightly out of synch, keep an eye on the main stage screens, and keep your ear out for others mentioning changes so you are not disappointed.

9. Can I meet bands?
NME have a signing tent that various bands will be at for anything from 30 minutes to 1 hour.  It is rare for headliners to be at the signing tent, and I think the highest band up the bill I have seen at the signing tent, was the Killers in 2005.  Be prepared to queue and miss a lot of music in the process.  Sometimes the queues for bands will start 2 hours before they are even due to start the signing.  It doesnt matter how long you queue either, you are not guaranteed to get to meet the band!  Its really personal choice whether or not its worth it to YOU to queue.  Dont let your mates put you off or make you feel stupid for wanting to do it.  They may think its a waste of time and thats fine ... for you it may be the chance of a lifetime to meet a band, so if you want to WAIT, do it!!

Keep your eyes out too, some band members will come and mingle in the main arena at some point.  Kelly from Stereophonics was at the main stage watching the Arctic Monkeys, and loads of other band members and celebs have been spotted out and about!

10. What are the toilets like in the Main Arena?
Toilets are actually not bad at all in the main arena, they do get blocked rather a lot, but thats not til later on in the evenings.  DO make sure you use them one last time before heading back to the campsites for the night, anything that means one less trip to the pitofpoo toilets it good!  You still need to take your own toilet paper.  They do put paper in them in the morning, but when someone finds said paper, they want it and its gone.  They are also separated into male and female toilets.

11. What can I take into the Main Arena?
Its best here to tell you what you CAN'T take into the arena and this includes but is not limited to .....Cans, Alcohol, opened plastic bottles, Illegal Substances, Portable Laser Equipment and Pens, Unauthorised Professional Film or Video Equipment, Audio Recorders, Fireworks and Flares or anything that can classed as a weapon such as pen knives etc. All Items will be confiscated and not necessarily returned. Water points on site are drinking water safe and you CAN bring a 500ml UNOPENED bottle of water into the arena and refill it from these taps as necessary.  As far as I am aware food for personal consumption only is allowed to brought into the arena, so just be sensible with how much you try and bring in.

12. Can I use my Camera in the Main Arena?
Yes you can take into the arena and use a camera, as long as it is not a Professional one!  Bear in mind tho, use your camera for pictures that you wont find elsewhere, there will be a hundred better pictures of bands available after the fest than you are likely to get, what you wont get on the internet from other people is your mate with **** written on his forhead, grass up his nose and condoms on his fingers, passed out in a wet patch!!!!  These are the pictures that will make you smile when the festival is over, use your camera for these pictures and get good band pictures online afterwards from people right up the front or those with a press pass!

13. Can I Crowdsurf?
Taken from the main site ....

"Please don't crowd surf at this year's festival Not only could you hurt yourself but you may injure someone else and ruin their weekend too You will be ejected from the festival if you're found to be persistently crowd surfing."
Dont be surprised if you are a persistent crowd surfer and find the pit guys losing patience!!  No one minds a crowdsurfer doing so for their own safety, but a DM to the face for YOUR enjoyment only is pretty ****ty!
<message edited by sexzee on 23 November 2007 18:08>
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