My Perfect Reading Weekend shines a spotlight on what Reading residents love to do at the weekend and how they make the most of their free time in our lovely town.
For our second feature, Explore Reading speak to Dave Maul, head honcho at local music promoter Heavy Pop – who put on gigs around Reading and book acts for Are You Listening? Festival. In a month loomed over by Reading Festival, Dave shares his favourite local bands, Reading gig venues and what to look out for in our town’s music scene.
Food & Drink
I live near the Kennet in East Reading and there’s a lot of good pubs around here. At the weekend, I particularly like The Fisherman’s Cottage and The Abbot Cook. Cafe Yolk is also nearby for a great breakfast. I don’t dine out in town much but when I do, I like Dolce Vita. I’ve had some great experiences there, and I really like the family feel to the place.
If I’m heading to a bar at the weekend, Milk Bar is up there with my favourites. They have a great selection of rums, craft beers and cocktails. Plus they have, without a doubt, the best-looking and well put together cocktail book around town. The staff are also friendly, knowledgeable and are happy to go ‘off piste’ to create a cocktail you will enjoy.
Things to do
Reading Festival dominates the August music calendar, but I’ll be keeping my eye out for Festival warm-up gigs, which often pop up around town in the weeks before. (So far, there’s a show from Reading success story The Amazons on Wednesday 9 August, 7pm. Oddly, their gig is part festival warmup, part opening of the new Dr Martens store, Queen Victoria Street, but it is free).
This month I’m also really looking forward to the DJ set from 6 Music and Big Audio Dynamite’s Don Letts. He’s at the Purple Turtle on Saturday 12 August as part of the Reggae Reggae Show summer party.
If I could see any local act on my perfect weekend, it would probably be Matt Maltese. He’s a really talented Reading-based singer-songwriter who is now starting to build a name for himself and is definitely one to watch. For more of a party vibe, I also really like Twin Sun.
Whichever band is playing, I’d head to one of my favourite gig venues, the Rising Sun Arts Centre. It’s an old house and it can get pretty cosy, with the bands playing in what I suppose was the dining room. The centre is all staffed by volunteers and, though it’s not the biggest or, from a tech point of view, the best venue in town, it has a lot of character and I have had many a good night in there. They also have their Here Comes the Sun Festival on Saturday 12 August (£7), which features music and arts at the centre all day to raise funds for their space.
Want more local music in Reading?
Heavy Pop are organising two big events in September:
The Are You Listening? Festival Party is at Oakford Social Club on Saturday 9 Sept. It’s an all-day band event with all donations going to Reading Mencap.
On Wednesday 13 September, Heavy Pop present the livewire pop punk Superglu along with Canadian indie rockers Bad Pop and more at Face Bar. Find out more.
Hello! I'm Claire, the founding editor of Explore Reading. I'm a Reading native and former digital director of Time Out Shanghai. I founded Explore Reading so no one can say, ‘there’s nothing to do in Reading’, again. When not editing Explore Reading, I'm probably drinking a Manhattan.