Reading Festival returns

Reading Festival rolls into town next week and we are reminding local residents to plan ahead as shops, public transport and roads will be a lot busier than usual.

After an absence of a year, the Festival Republic’s Reading Festival returns from Friday 27 August through to Sunday 29 August, with more than 100,000 revellers expected to attend the three day event.

Plan for Traffic Delays

Local residents planning to travel into or around the town centre from Wednesday 25 August to Friday 27 August are being asked to plan their journey in advance, leave early and be prepared for longer travel times as festival goers arrive.

Near to normal travel levels are expected on the Saturday and Sunday (28 and 29 August), although shops and supermarkets will likely be busier than usual.

Roads are expected to be extremely busy again on the Bank Holiday Monday (30 August) as festival goers leave the event.


  • Residents are advised parking restrictions will be in place around the Richfield Avenue site as usual and the area should be avoided wherever possible.
  • Festival car parking is available at Mapledurham and Kings Meadow for parking pass holders.
  • Hills Meadow Car Park will be the dedicated area for drop off/pick up. From here festival goers can either walk to the site, or use the free shuttle boats provided. For festival visitors parking at Mapledurham, a pedestrian bridge has again been constructed direct to the site to ensure easy access.
  • For those parking in Kings Meadow, a boat service is provided free of charge to help transport everyone, including tents and belongings, to the festival site.

Temporary Traffic Management

As usual, temporary traffic management will be in place at various locations around town.

  • For security and safety, a night-time closure of the Thames Path (from 8pm to 6am) will again be in operation from Thursday 26th August to Monday 30th August. The closure will apply between Scours Lane to the far end of Thames Side Promenade.
  • There is again a full closure of Richfield Avenue – between its junctions with Cardiff Road and Tessa Road – from 10.30pm to 1.00am, on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This closure is to assist a safe exit from the festival site of the 20,000 day ticket holders.
  • During Bank Holiday Monday, the Napier Road / Vastern Road roundabout will be particularly busy, with temporary traffic management utilised if required.
  • The northbound closure of Cow Lane is likely to be reinstated between 8am and 3pm to assist with the coach transfers and exit of service vehicles on the festival site, depending on traffic levels in this area. It is advisable to avoid driving through these areas if possible, in addition to the areas immediately around the site and main event car parks, during Bank Holiday Monday.

Getting to the Festival Site

Reading Borough Council has again worked with the festival organisers to produce travel information leaflets. These have been sent out with tickets with details of bus, rail and park and ride services.

  • The quickest walking route from Reading Station to the site is via the Northern Interchange. Festival visitors also have the option of travelling to the site via hackney carriages, or a special festival shuttle bus that will operate from the northern exit of the station.
  • Throughout the duration of the festival a temporary taxi rank will be operating in Tessa Road – opposite the Rivermead Leisure Centre next to the festival site – as a further option when travelling to and from the site. There will be a second taxi rank at Thames Prom for those exiting the site on Monday from 1130pm Sunday until 2pm Monday only. Visitors are being reminded that they should pre-book private hire vehicles and not hail them from the roadside. All licensed vehicles will display a Reading Borough Council plate on the back and all drivers should have an identity badge in full view.
  • For private cars, the only pick-up and drop-off is Hills Meadow car park. Festival goers then have the option of walking along the tow path to the festival site via Christchurch Bridge, the Council’s pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Thames, or taking the free boat up to one of the ticket entrance gates.
  • To help maintain traffic flow, the Council’s parking enforcement officers will as always be working alongside police to crack down on people who park illegally and cause an obstruction.

Rivermead Leisure Centre, Noise Checks, Residents Hotline Number

  • Rivermead Leisure Centre and its facilities will be closed for normal activities for the three days of the festival.
  • The standard of noise control has been reviewed for the 2021 event and the intention is once again to avoid unreasonable disturbance to local residents. Sound testing will take place on each day of the festival and these will be conducted under the direct supervision of officers from Reading Borough Council.
  • A special hotline number – 0208 396 7621 - has been set up for local residents’ use who wish to offer comments or to raise queries during the event. The line will be answered between 9am and 5pm on Wednesday 25 August, and then 24 hours from 9am Thursday 26 until 3pm Monday 30 August. There is also an email (emails are checked regularly during main event hours).

Organisers Festival Republic have sent Reading Festival entry requirements directly to all of their ticket holders. Festival Republic require all ticket holders need to demonstrate their Covid 19 status before entering the site. More information on Festival Republic’s ticket holder entry requirements.

Last updated on 16/08/2021