Summer is a-coming in, as the Reading Abbey hymn goes. And it really is this month, with more events than I know what to do with filling the Explore Reading inbox. We’ve got food festivals, outdoor film screenings, World Cup parties and, of course, the much-anticipated reopening of Reading Abbey and all the events around that to look forward too. Get out there and get exploring your way through the best things to do in Reading in June, hopefully in the sunshine.
Events in Reading in June 2018
Friday 1 – Sunday 17 June, 11am-11pm, Forbury Gardens, free entry, read more
The beloved street food festival takes over Forbury Gardens for three weeks this month, meaning there’s plenty of opportunity to get your al fresco lunch on. Grab a seat on the treehouse-like roof terrace in the middle of the park, order a specially-brewed Blue Collar Beer and eat like a king in the sunshine. This month sees Explore Reading favourite the the Gourmet Cheese Toasties sisters make a return, along with spicy meats from Peru Sabor, crunchy bites from the Crispy Squid Guy and delicious pulled pork burgers from Sear Street Kitchen. Find out what street food to order in our guide to Feastival.
Friday 1 June, 8pm, Purple Turtle, Free, read more
Dream State have been nominated for the best-British breakthrough act at the Kerrang! Awards this week. See their gorgeous melodic vocal hooks and driving guitar riffs in the intimate setting of the Turtle (and for free!) before they go big. Support comes from Origami Heart.
RISC roof garden summer event
Saturday 2 June, 12pm, RISC, £3.50
RISC’s award-winning sustainable roof garden opens up again for one day of public tours. Explore its 185 species of plant, an edible forest, water harvesting and more. Read more about the RISC roof garden in this article from The Whitley Pump.
Saturday 2 – Sunday 3 June, Broad Street, free entry
Reading’s spoilt for street food choice on the first weekend of June. As well as the marvellous, laid-back Feastival, we’ve also got a two-day food market lining the shopping mecca of Broad Street. Reading CIC bring street food vendors and chain restaurants together for their annual celebration of food in Reading. Stalls will run from Halifax all the way down to Marks and Spencer and will include local regulars Vegivores, MOMO dumplings and Leymoun wraps alongside rarer names, such as Crocus Paella, Pitta-Pitta souvlaki, and Noodles & Co.
Forbury band concert season
Every Sunday from 3 June, 3-4.30pm, Forbury Gardens, free, read more
Another reason to love Forbury Gardens, (it’s one of the best things in Reading, you know?) is the truly charming concert season at the bandstand, every Sunday throughout the summer. What better way to spend the day than to sit back and listen to the orchestra music lilt its way across the park. June sees the Small Strings on Sunday 3, RASPO Steel Orchestra on Sunday 10, the Bracknell & Wokingham Community Band on Sunday 17 and Woodley Concert Band on Sunday 24.
My Dad Wrote a Porno Live
Wednesday 6 June, 8pm, The Hexagon, £29.50, buy tickets
Jamie Morton’s dad writes erotic fiction under the name of Rocky Flintstone. Jamie managed to turn the telling of those stories into a hugely successful podcast with the help of friends James Cooper and Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine. Here, the trio read ‘a lost chapter’ of the notorious Belinda Blinked saga. If you don’t know, Belinda is a sales director in the glamorous pots and pans industry and has lots of fun without her clothes on instead of selling cookware. The podcast has had me roaring with laughter for months. How a pre-prepared touring show will go, I’m not sure, but the stories are bonkers and outlandish enough to make it a very fun evening out.
Meet the Brewer: WildWeather
Thursday 7 June, 6pm, BrewDog Reading, free, read more
Local madcap brewers WildWeather are one of the country’s most exciting breweries right now. They’re taking over eight taps at BrewDog on Castle Street and will talking about the process and the flavours behind those brews. Read our review of BrewDog’s new Reading bar.
Colour, Light and Transparency
Until 8 June, 9.30am-5pm daily, Riverside Museum, free, read more
Printmaking group Print At the Park present a colourful exhibition of original handmade prints at the turbine house at Reading’s Riverside Museum, next to Bel and the Dragon. Works will also be available to buy from £40. Read more about our small, but quirky Riverside Museum.
Joseph Morpurgo: Hammerhead
Friday 8 June, 8pm, South Street Arts Centre, £8, buy tickets
Following sell-out runs at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, three-time Chortle Award winner Joseph Morpurgo brings an outlandish satire on post-theatre Q&As to South Street. The premise is that Joseph has just presented his one-man, nine-hour, multi-lingual Frankenstein opus and is ready for your questions. His larger-than-life multimedia show sends that up in hilarious fashion. Fortunately, there is no real post-show Theatre Club after this one.
A Field Called Wonder
Friday 8 – Sunday 9 June, Chiltern Retreat Rural Camping, Lane End, HP14 3JP, £45/weekend, £20/day, book tickets.
Secular community Sunday Assembly return with their second annual summer field festival for families, members and newcomers. Sunday Assembly are a friendly community of people who gather together to ‘live better, help often and wonder more’, their Sunday gatherings including rock singing and talks to expand the mind. The weekend will include a mix of walks, games, beers, fires, food, music, African drumming, line dancing, group singing and more. The ticket price includes all food across the weekend.
Special Auction: One Amazing Lifetime’s Accumulation
Saturday 9 June, 9.30am, Reading Cattle Market, free entry, read more
This month sees a special auction at the Cattle Market, selling a lifetime of furniture and artefacts from a man called Anthony Andrews. He was a collector (some may say hoarder) of fascinating, beautiful, unexpected pieces and, by order of the executor of his estate, they all must go at auction. Bid for vintage gramophones, Victorian prams, jukeboxes, beautiful wooden cabinets and more. Read our account of the Reading auction house to get a flavour of how it will go.
Whiteknights Art Trail
Saturday 9 – Sunday 10 June, 11am – 6pm daily, free, read more
There’s another great opportunity to see art in its natural habitat this month on the Whiteknights Art Trail. Thirty-six artists, designers and makers around the university area open their doors, or the doors of public venues (The MERL, Maiden Erleigh School) to the masses to view and buy their work. There’ll also be tea and cake on offer at some of the venues too, to stop you flagging on your walk around. Highlights include trail regular Tom Cartmill (pictured) who presents the mixed media paintings he recently exhibited at the London Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy, local photography Salvo Toscano and sculptor Sadie Brockbank. See the full art trail route.
9 to 5: The Musical
Wednesday 13 – Saturday 16 June, 7.45pm, The Kenton Theatre Henley, from £14, Book tickets
Woodley Light Operatic Society present this whooping, light-hearted musical based on the 1980 comedy film starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as three secretaries who take on their sexist boss. The musical originally ran on Broadway with extra songs written by Dolly Parton (and ‘team’). Expect the community theatre company to bring it to Henley with lots of comic, charming country twang.
The Village at Station Hill
Thursday 14 June, 4pm-11pm weekdays, 12-11pm weekends, Station Hill, free entry, read more
The pop up bar and event space returns at the bottom of the station steps just in time for outdoor drinking season, oh, and the World Cup. There’ll be a big screen showing the main matches, Wimbledon and cult movies at night, all in the shadow of Reading eye-sore, the Garrard Street Car Park. There’ll also be a bar, food stalls, mini golf and deck chairs – although beware, while it’s free to enter, on England match days there’s a £5 charge for deck chairs and it’s £30 for pub benches, which should be booked in advance for groups.
CultureMix Steel Band Festival
Friday 15 June, 7pm, The Hexagon, £5, buy tickets
The Berkshire Youth Steel Percussion Orchestra brings together school steel bands from across the county to celebrate the sounds of the Caribbean. At this one-day festival, one hundred steel pans combine with a choir of one hundred voices for a showcase of Trinidad music for the whole family.
Reading Abbey Revealed
Saturday 16 June, 11am-5pm, Reading Abbey and Forbury Gardens, free, read more
This is it. The big one. We’ve been waiting nine years for the Abbey ruins to reopen after they shut for conservation work. On opening day there will be a chance to explore the restored ruins, and hear stories from the Abbey’s past delivered by volunteers who will be taking on historical roles in costumes. In Forbury Gardens there will be a pop up from Reading Museum doing craft sessions, reenactments and storytelling. Plus Feastival will still be there for all your street food needs.
Saturday 16 June, 11am-5pm, Chestnut Walk, Free, read more
This year Water Fest partners with the Abbey reopening to promote the connection between our waterways and the development of Reading as a town. There’ll be live entertainment, children’s activities, craft and charity stalls and narrowboat displays all lined up along Chestnut Walk by the canal.
Little Red: ‘Draw Blood’ album launch party
Saturday 16 June, 8pm, Rising Sun Arts Centre, £5, book tickets
Playful folk trio Little Red launch their new album at Rising Sun Arts Centre with support from Jack Cade and the Everyday Sinners and The Seasons in Shorthand.
East Reading Festival
Sunday 17 June, 12-6pm, Palmer Park, free entry, read more
This family fun day in Palmer Park celebrates the East Reading community. There’ll be 50 stalls offering food (including Tutu’s Ethiopian and The Italian Craft Truck), crafts, local community organisations and things to buy. For entertainment there’ll be two stages, with performances from creative and community groups in East Reading and a kids activity area organised by the Churches Together in Earley and East Reading. That will include football training, circus skills and Nepali cultural activities. There’ll also be an animal corner where the little ones can pet exotic and more cuddly animals.
Tuesday 19 June, 8pm, South Street Arts Centre, £12, buy tickets
She Goat Theatre present this quirky production about uncanny lookalikes, originally commissioned for Battersea Arts Centre. Full of gender-twisting visuals and gothic storytelling, DoppelDänger promises ‘an uncanny blend of 1630s-inspired Euro retrofuturism and 1930s wrestling’. Of course it does. This two-woman show looks at the self, otherness and what it means to be women on stage. It’s followed by Theatre Club in the South Street bar, for a chance to talk about the production with the audience and production team.
Tuesday 19 June, 7pm, Reading Film Theatre £8, buy tickets
As part of Refugee Week 2018, Reading Refugee Support Group present a screening of this moving documentary from Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei (who, fun fact, I once met at a Metallica concert). Ai and his film crew document individual stories and stark scenes of migrants leaving famine, persecution and war. There will a round table discussion with RRSG after the film. See more films to watch at The Reading Film Theatre.
Wednesday 20 June, 6.30pm, St Laurence Church, £5, Read more.
Reading’s crowdfunding community return to St Laurence Church for another night of charity, fundraising and fun. This month Red Balloon, The Reading Association for the Blind and Bounce Back for Kids area pitch for funding. You pay £5 entry which is a donation towards the winning charity who take away all the door money as a donation. You also get a bowl or two of freshly-made vegan soup, live music from a local performer and an art exhibition.
Cult Screens at The Abbey Ruins
Wednesday 20 – Saturday 23 June, from 7.30pm, The Abbey Ruins, from £15.35, book tickets.
Open air cinema Cult Screens returns to Reading for the summer, this time with a season of screenings at the very impressive, newly-opened Abbey Ruins in June, before it heads over to Caversham Court Gardens in July. Films at the Abbey in June include the Big Oscar News ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri’ (20 June) and the Hugh Jackman-fronted musical ‘The Greatest Showman’. That film is everywhere at open air screenings this summer, it’s basically this year’s ‘Top Gun’ (oh, there’s also a ‘Top Gun’ screening, 23 June).
Saturday 23 – Sunday 24 June, Slots from 10.30am-4.30pm, meet at the Town Hall, £5, book tickets
This Sitelines production, produced by South Street with RBL Theatre Company, Beautiful Creatures Theatre and more, is an immersive theatre experience bringing the Abbey to life. Sessions will run throughout the day with ten audience members at a time being led through the Abbey Quarter while the performance presents scenes from the Abbey’s history.
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.