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Sharing the same line up of acts the Reading and Leeds festivals take place each year on the last weekend of August. Reading, the older of the two, is the longest running popular music festival still taking place anywhere in the world. The addition of Leeds was started in 1999. Originating from the Reading Jazz Festival of 1961 today’s festivals can be most accurately dated as having begun in 1971 when Reading became the permanent festival home. Traditionally Reading and Leeds are regarded as rock festivals but throughout the years they have widened somewhat to include the various new and fragmented genres within a basic rock umbrella. In this spirit the late 1970’s saw the inclusion of punk acts. The 1980’s saw the inclusion of goth and indie acts, and the 90’s to the present has seen the inclusion of styles such as grunge, death metal, industrial, alternative, and even hip hop. As mentioned earlier the two festivals share the same line up, thus the Reading headliner of Saturday is probably the Leeds headliner of Sunday and so forth. Leeds festival has a capacity of 75,000 and the venue is most easily reached by shuttle bus services from Leeds station. Reading has a capacity of 87,000 and the festival site is within walking distance of Reading station and the town centre. Reading is approximately 40 miles west of London and is easily reached by frequent main line trains, which probably makes it the more popular of the two festivals for foreign visitors.
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