Reading festival final day marred by violence and tent burning

The end of this weekend’s Reading music festival was marred by violence and the burning of tents, prompting complaints to police and organisers about lax security.

A number of videos were shared online showing several tents being set on fire on Sunday evening, the final night of the three-day festival. Festivalgoers also complained of objects being thrown as fights broke out.

In one video, people could be heard asking “where’s security?” while an official tried to douse the flames with water from a backpack.

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This is next to my tent. Another 3 or 4 within 50 metres pic.twitter.com/AU9N1NXtPa

&mdash; Noah (@NoahWFC) August 29, 2022

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Another post complained that security was “thin on the ground” as a tent burned.

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She's moving to the arena but security are thin on the ground. This is orange camp off Little John's Lane pic.twitter.com/1VmP25xfLw

&mdash; Alison (@999bradders) August 28, 2022

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In a video posted to TikTok, festivalgoers could be heard chanting “let’s go fucking mental” as a tent burned.

Another TikTok video showed bottles, mugs and chairs being thrown in an apparent fight between two sides of a camp site.

The festival has become popular with 16-year-olds as it falls on the weekend after GSCE results.

Anxious parents were among those complaining to police. One tweeted: “Absolute joke of a festival, my daughter rang me last night, she an her mates don’t feel safe in the festival, the burning an looting an robbing of people, having each to pay £50 to a total of £250 to get a taxi home!!!”

Festivalgoers complained of a frightening atmosphere, including one who was hit by something as she recorded a video message.

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Better mood, but literally missiles hitting them as they leave. Grim.
This isn't a safe festival @OfficialRandL @thamesvp pic.twitter.com/ggu6OSlfuq

&mdash; ❓🦎 (@curiousiguana) August 28, 2022

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Responding to a message from organisers urging people to take home their tents, a Twitter user called Emma said: “So much abuse and it was honestly scary in those camps tonight, sort your security team out and your rules it’s a joke.”

Another, called Rhianna, said she witnessed two tents burning and mallets and a tent pole being thrown.

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2 tents got set on fire in the space of ten mins where i was, mallets were being thrown and a tent pole got thrown with such force it pierced through my friends tent which could have been awful had she been in it. it’s not just lads “messing around”

&mdash; rhi ♡ (@Rhianna_Jayyy) August 29, 2022

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2 tents got set on fire in the space of ten mins where i was, mallets were being thrown and a tent pole got thrown with such force it pierced through my friends tent which could have been awful had she been in it. it’s not just lads “messing around”

— rhi ♡ (@Rhianna_Jayyy) August 29, 2022

After midnight Thames Valley police said fires at the site had been extinguished.

In a statement on Monday, the force said: “There were some fires in the campsite on Sunday, but festival security had water pumps and extinguished these within minutes.”

Police also said about 50 people were expelled from the site after disorder on Sunday afternoon.

The statement said: “There was some disorder in the campsite at about 4.30pm on Sunday, but this was dealt with within minutes by festival security and about 50 people were ejected from the site. Those ejected were safeguarded by the festival organisers, Thames Valley police, and British Transport Police to ensure they could get home safely.”

When contacted, the organisers of the festival referred to the statement given by police.

This year’s festival, which was broadcast on the BBC, was headlined by the Arctic Monkeys, Megan Thee Stallion and the 1975.

The Guardian