We live next to Reading Festival – we watch celebs from our balconies and save hundreds without facing massive queues | The Sun

RESIDENTS living opposite Reading Festival say they have the best experience of all – and it doesn't cost them a penny.

Steve and Mel Kemp haven’t missed the three-day bonanza for 20 years – as their fourth-floor flat gives them a birds eye view of the Berkshire site.

While they can only see the top of the main stage, the pair will still be able to hear every note blasting out from headliners The Killers this weekend.

Speaking from their Beresford Road home, Steve, 62, said: “It would have cost us more than £400 for two weekend tickets.

"But we can sit on our balcony with a drink and listen to all the music.

“When we’ve had enough, we’ll be able to go indoors, close the window and draw the curtains."

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Teaching assistant Mel said this is the first year they won't be attending the festival, having camped there every year with their kids.

The 61-year-old added: "It means we won’t have to queue for drink or food, and nobody can stand in front of us and block our view.

“Instead our kids are going and taking our grandchildren. So the cycle moves on!”

The decision has been made easier for rock fan Steve who admits this year's line-up – including 'Bad Guy' singer Billie Eilish and Geordie legend Sam Fender – "is a bit poppy".

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They won’t be the only ones watching from the luxury five-storey Da Vinci House, separated from the Richfield Avenue site by a road and train tracks.

The 1975, Foals, Imagine Dragons and Becky Hill are also performing at the event over the weekend.

Solicitor Evelyn Wong, 30, said it's her first year in the flat and says it's been amazing to watch fellow residents prepare for the event.

She explained: "Some neighbours are even rigging up their own little light shows on their balconies to operate alongside the big Festival ones."

Meanwhile 25-year-old software engineer Corey Forbes will don a pair of headphones if the music gets too loud while he works from home.


While one woman who lives just round the corner in Lonian House, has bought a Festival ticket for her partner – but will be staying home to watch from her balcony.

The 31-year-old said: "I’m not a big lover of festivals myself. I’ll be able to hear all the music and can sing along from my balcony if I want to."

But she admits the festival – which attracts up to 90,000-a-year – packs out her local Tesco and interrupts the daily routine.

Next door at Leonardo House, Abbie and George Barratt will be listening to the music from their fourth-floor balcony with week-old baby Lilith.

George, 23, who can see the top half of the main stage from the flat, said: “We went along to the festival last year but this time it’s not really as rocky as we’d like."

The annual Bank Holiday festival – which has a copycat event held in Leeds – dates back to 1961 when it started as the National Jazz Festival at Richmond Athletic Ground.

It has since grown to accommodate seven different campsites and in 2019 attracted a record 105,000 crowd.

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Reading Council will monitor noise levels throughout the weekend and have set up a hotline for residents to report any concerns.

Festival organisers were approached for comment.

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