The headline slot at Reading Festival is a big, big deal. It’s a set that comes with a history that runs like a who’s who of alternative music: Nirvana, The Ramones, Pulp, Blur, Oasis, Björk, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd… But the Reading headline slot has also been given over the years to Travis, Razorlight and Stereophonics – and it’s in that spirit that the legendary rock fest and post-GCSE rite of passage is to be headlined in 2015 by none other than everyone’s favourite banjo-plucking west Londoners: Mumford & Sons.
Yes, the Mumfords have been revealed as headliners for Reading and Leeds 2015, and will be sending their farmer’s-market folk-pop wafting across a field full of whiffy teens this August bank holiday. (Other additions to the bill today include Royal Blood, Deadmau5, Years & Years and Bastille – whose lead singer Dan Smith went to school with Marcus Mumford, don’tcha know.)
It’s been all quiet on the Mumford front since the band’s headline set at Glastonbury 2013, but the whisper is that they’ve been working on a new album that’s aimed at a more dancey and experimental crowd – which would explain Winston’s repeated presence at XOYO in recent months. Could M&S finally be ditching the banjo?
How the band’s Reading set will go down is anyone’s guess, really. Reactions on the ground could range from tear-streaked euphoria to the traditional Reading Festival 21-bottle salute. The only thing that’s more or less guaranteed is a string of comment pieces about a new era in the history of the British rock festival: a post-internet age in which four rich kids from Fulham can co-headline with Metallica. Is Reading finally joining the new generation of friendly festivals for families and foodies? If so, see you at the halloumi tent.