Are You Listening Festival is back in Reading for 2019. The annual one-day, music festival takes place every April across some of Reading’s best music venues, including Sub89, The Purple Turtle and South Street Arts Centre. As well as being a packed day of music, it’s also a charity fundraiser: 2018’s festival raised over £13,000 for local learning disability charity Reading Mencap and the event has raised over £70,000 over its eight years.
The day is a mix of sets from Reading’s biggest local bands and some of the the best new acts in the UK. AYL is a great chance to catch some of the most exciting bands of the year in our town before they go huge. Last year’s festival saw a hugely memorable blowout set from punk band IDLES, who hung off the ceiling at Sub89. They’ve since gone on to greatness, topping BBC 6 Music’s album’s of 2018 list with their debut release ‘Brutalism’.
The first line up of bands set to play the 2019 festival has just been announced, so get prepared with our guide to Are You Listening Festival 2019 and find out about the bands to watch, venue information, tickets and more.
When is it?
The next Are You Listening Festival takes place on Saturday 27 April, 2019. It’ll kick off around 2pm with the headline gigs finishing in the early hours.
Where is it?
The festival takes place at several venues across Reading, yet to be confirmed, but in previous years has included: Sub89, Purple Turtle, Oakford Social Club, Milk, Rising Sun Arts Centre, South Street Arts Centre, and arguably the best venue of the festival, the beautiful, St. Laurence’s Church.
How much are tickets?
Super Early Bird tickets are currently available at £20. Buy them online.
Which bands are playing?
The first line up announcement sees a diverse range of acts added to the bill, including alt rockers Our Girl, who will play on the back of their incredible debut album ‘Stranger Today’. Also look out for the mesmerising mix of electronica and furious drums that are the staples of Big Lad‘s music, plus the return of the almighty Flamingods, and their fusion of world, jazz, funk, and rock influences.
If Madonnatron‘s mesmerising harmonies, and atmospheric spaghetti western instrumentation on ‘Mermaids’ isn’t enough to win you over, then nothing will please you.
On the other side of the eclectic line up are the shimmering qualities of Penelope Isles’ music, a refreshing break from the hectic pace of the festival. Funk-infused ESG nodding Stats are sure to put on a party and their music is made to be obsessed over.
Oxford-based producer and multi instrumentalist, Tiger Mendoza, also joins the bill, sure to thrill the crowd at AYL with tracks with hip-hop, electronic, and rock influences.
Elsewhere, the line up features Gently Tender, comprised of members of Palma Violets and The Big Moon, their debut show in Reading at AYL is sure to bring a crowd. BBC 6 Music-endorsed, TVAM, is also set to play from their acclaimed debut album that blends guitars, electronic stabs, and psych undertones. Described by Louder than War as “the missing link between Crass and the Spice Girls”, The Menstrual Cramps‘ political song-writing is sure to win over new fans at this year’s festival.
Relaxed indie folk comes from Bristol based Rozi Plane, and her stunning voice and lyricism. On the complete opposite side of the spectrum is SK Shlomo, know for his collaborations with Bjork and Ed Sheeran, who brings his atmospheric electronic beats and vocal mix.
See the full line up list at Are You Listening’s website.
Which local Reading bands are playing?
Absolutely! Are You Listening prides itself on making sure a substantial chunk of the line up supports the amazing acts we have in the area. Echoic return to the festival with new songs that show the band’s alt rock-based songs are maturing.
Local favourites The Keep Cats also make a welcome return to the festival to blow away the crowd with their riotous live show, and energy that you can’t help but be captivated by.
Workin’ Man Noise Unit bring their no-nonsense rock ‘n’ roll, ready to capture the attention of the guitars lovers out there.
Also on the bill is the brilliant addition of the Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra -sure to be packed out with punters wanting to see music they wouldn’t normally get to hear at a traditional festival.
If you’re a local act looking to play at AYL? Festival, you can email [email protected].
Anything else I need to know?
Are You Listening? Festival are working with campaign group Girls Against to stand against sexual harassment and intimidation in live music.
Proceeds from the festival and ticket sales go to supporting Reading Mencap, who provide information, support and respite services for children and adults with learning difficulties. Reading Mencap don’t receive financial support from the national Royal Mencap and so Are You Listening? Festival has become an important way for the charity to support the much needed work they do in Reading.
I’m sold, how do I buy a ticket?
Tickets and more info are available at the Are You Listening? Festival website.
I love to write about the bands I'm listening to, and the gigs that I'm attending in Reading. I'm a proud champion of the local Reading music scene, and am always looking for new acts to see live. Aside from writing about local music, I am also the co-founder of Reading based record label, Porterbrook Records.