In 1980s Council ban to the Reading Festival


During this decade, the Reading Festival followed a similar format to that established in the late 1970s, with large crowds flocking to see the era’s leading rock and heavy metal acts perform on the last two days, with a more varied lineup including punk and new wave bands on the opening day.
In 1984 and 1985, the Conservative Party-led local council effectively banned the Reading Festival by reclaiming the festival site for ‘development’ and refusing to grant licences for any alternative sites in the Reading Festival area. In 1984, many acts were already booked to appear, tickets were on sale with Marillion (2nd on the bill on Saturday night the previous year) due to be one of this year’s headliners. The promoters tried in vain to salvage what they could but a proposed move to Lilford Hall in Northamptonshire failed.The resulting gap in the British Reading Festival calendar kick-started the rise of the minor CND benefit event at Glastonbury from obscure beginnings as a “hippie” festival in the 1970s.
After Labour regained control of the council in 1986, permission was given for fields adjacent to the original festival site to be used, with a line-up put together at just three months’ notice.The following year saw a record attendance at what was considered by some to be the last of the “classic” rock years of the Reading Festival, with headlining acts such as The Mission, Alice Cooper and Status Quo.
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