Are You Listening Festival 2018 guide

Tyler Hallows
Idles band

Are You Listening Festival is an annual one-day, multi-venue festival that takes place across the centre of Reading every April. It sees some of the biggest UK bands and Reading’s best local acts come together to play memorable sets in support of Reading Mencap, a local charity working with people with learning disabilities and their families. Are You Listening? Festival is now in its sixth year and has raised more than £40,000 for Reading Mencap, as well as getting bigger and better every year since.

The full line up of acts to play the 2018 festival has been confirmed, so check out your guide to Are You Listening Festival 2018 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 28 April, 2018. It kicks off at 12pm with the headline gigs finishing in the early hours.

Where is it?

The festival takes place at several venues across Reading including: 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 £17.50. Buy them online.

Which bands are playing?

Field Music

The latest line up announcement sees the addition of cult indie favourites, The Lovely Eggs, alongside up and coming talents of BBC 6 Music endorsed, Slug, Oxford alt rockers, Self Help, Doops, and The Surfing Magagzines. Alongside the brilliant guitar bands at this year’s event, Are You Listening have brought in the diverse sounds of Mutant Vinyl, the lyrical word play of Grace Savage, the dance infused rhythms of Breezewax, and a DJ set from Radio X and Are You Listening veteran, John Kennedy, amongst many others.

The Lovely Eggs
The Lovely Eggs

Elsewhere, the line up features an eclectic range of music and artists, from the angular indie pop of Mercury Prize-nominated Field Music to breakbeat pioneers Plump DJs. The act liust also sees krautdance duo Warm Digits added to the bill, as well as Latvia’s Carnival Youth, who have just finished supporting Red Hot Chilli Peppers on tour.

Leeds art-rockers Mush last played in Reading back in November to an ecstatic response and are sure to win over more fans with their return. Animal House‘s party vibes will send audiences wild, and indie folk duo The August List are set to bring their powerful acoustic set to the festival.

Those exciting acts will join the already packed line up of bands, previously announced in November, including Bristol punks Idles (main image), who have just finished tours with Foo Fighters and The Maccabees. Also on the bill are alt-surf rockers Her’s, as well as unique singer-songwriter Deerful and alt-rockers Yonaka, who’ve been causing a storm across the country right now with their electric live shows.

See the full line up list at Are You Listening’s website.

Are there any local Reading bands playing?

Saltwater Sun

Absolutely! Are You Listening prides itself on making sure around 70 per cent of the final line up are local acts. Newly announced local acts include Lucky Punks and their exciting take on alt-rock, the return of Shoals, a blitzing set from Mellor, Adam & Elvis, and Valeras, who have currently be causing a storm across the UK with a series of incredible support tours. Also joining the bill is certified Reading legend, Ben Marwood, whose folk tunes always get everyone singing along without fail.


They will join Reading favourites Saltwater Sun, who will return to blow away audiences with their catchy melodies. Also look out for Drug Store Romeos and their hazy jazz-influenced tunes and Ever Hazel who will stun audiences with their beautiful songwriting.

There’s also psychedelic four piece Vinyl Staircase, sunny beats from Twin Sun and trip hop duo Vienna Ditto, along with Local MC Ash the Author and five piece indie rockers Nobodies Birthday – who supported The Sherlocks on tour this year.

If you’re a local act looking to play at AYL? Festival, you can email [email protected].

Vinyl staircase
Vinyl Staircase


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.

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