Reading and Leeds has emerged clear winner in NME‘s 2011 festival survey, being voted best major festival by music fans. 

The pair of annual festivals beat off stiff competition from the likes of Glastonbury, V and T in the Park to be crowned best major festival of the year. 

Astonishingly, 57% of those surveyed said they were “not bothered” about there being no Glastonbury next year, and of the remainder who were, the majority picked Reading and Leeds as their preferred alternative. 

The twin sites also scooped the accolade for best value for money and the best campsites. However, the festival lost out in the sanitary stakes by picking up the most votes for worst toilets (49%). 

The survey results clearly showed that music fans still love festival season, with a whopping 91% disagreeing with Glastonbury founder, Michael Eavis’ view that festivals are “on their way out”. 

“There have been a lot of negative headlines recently about the future of UK festivals, so it’s really encouraging to see that NME readers don’t believe a word of them! Personally, I’m very sad there won’t be a Glasto next year, but it will also be really interesting to see which other festivals people will go to instead. As well as Reading and Leeds, NME readers also opted for places as diverse as Isle of Wight’s Bestival and Sziget festival in Budapest.”

[quotename]Krissi Murison[/quotename]
[quotetitle]NME Editor[/quotetitle]

The survey, which saw votes from over 1300 music fans, also featured Pulp as big winners. The band picked up the most votes for anthem of the summer with Common People and Jarvis Cocker triumphed in the best onstage banter category, with 47% of the vote. Meanwhile, their hook-up with The Strokes at Reading was voted favourite onstage collaboration. 

Muse‘s Origin of Symmetry spectacular was voted favourite single moment of the summer (19%). The Teignmouth trio also had the most spectacular stage show according to 54% of respondents. 


  • The Vaccines‘ incredible year continues with over 50% naming them the summer’s best new band 
  • Two Door Cinema Club beat The Horrors and Bombay Bicycle Club as the breakthrough band voted most likely to return as headliners 
  • The Killers, Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chilli Peppers topped the list of fantasy headliners for 2012 
  • The vast majority (86%) are not tired of reunions, and while Carl Barat has said it won’t happen, Libertines were top of the wish list for next year 

The tragic events at Pukkelpop and in Indiana haven’t put music fans off the festival experience, with over 90% saying they feel safe at festivals. 82% believe festivals are doing enough to be green. 

Value for money didn’t score so highly, with nearly half of respondents saying that UK festivals were ‘a bit on the pricey side’ (43%), although only 4% branded them a ‘total rip off’. 

“I’m delighted that the readers of NME have voted Reading & Leeds as the Best Major Festival this year. It is with thanks to both the fans and festival goers that we are able to create the greatest rock and roll show on the planet and this accolade confirms my commitment to bringing you the most memorable experience. 2011 will go down in Reading & Leeds history with incredible performances from headliners My Chemical Romance, Pulp, The Strokes and Muse plus many, many more. I hope to see you all again in 2012!”

[quotename]Melvin Benn[/quotename]
[quotetitle]Managing Director of Festival Republic[/quotetitle]