Exclusive backstage portrait photo gallery at Reading Festival 2017

We headed down to Reading festival to document the backstage goings on. As one of the most prolific festivals in the UK, this year saw the likes of Kasabian, Eminem and Muse headline.

We were backstage to catch all the action, and asked 48 of this year’s lineup: “What is your festival FAULT?”

Charli XCX

“I was playing a festival in Finland but I had food poisoning and had to keep a bucket behind the drummer because I was just going to throw up at any moment, but managed to keep it in. After I finished I just went for it!”


“My worst festival habit is that I get a bit too over-excited and I overestimate how much I can do on stage and always almost fall. I have a lead on my mic and always get tangled up in it… but almost falling is better than actually falling!”


[Brad] “I was in a mosh pit at a festival and I had my nose broken. I went to the emergency response people who set my nose back in place and went back out and started moshing. I’m a mosh boy.”

While She Sleeps

“The first time I came to a festival, I paid. The second time, I worked it. Third time, I broke in. The fourth, I’m playing it.”

Pale Waves

“We were at Leeds Festival and woke up to find my tent cover had been pulled off. My mate was like, ‘do you want me to pull it back over for you?’, so he did and someone had shit on it and wiped their arse on the tent.”

Zeal and Ardor

“I was at a festival doing a gig and I was really thirsty. I saw some water bottles so I grabbed one and took about ten sips. It was a little bitter and I went on to have what must have been the most emotional festival of my life… that ‘water’ was laced with I don’t know what but I had a wonderful time and guess that’s what you get for stealing someone’s water.”


“We were filming a live music video and one of us slipped and dislocated a knee so we had to cancel and re-film a couple months later…”

The Americas

“We are just a big calamity really. My guitar breaks, without fail, every show. Vomit is always involved at some point… we have so many faults!”

X Ambassadors

“We were standing on stage, about to play and our monitor board had gotten damaged on the flight – but we didn’t know this yet. We’re waiting, couldn’t hear anything, 5 mins go by… 10 mins… 15-20 minutes go by… 10,000 people are waiting to see us. I just went out there and played with an acoustic guitar on my own.”

The LaFontaines

[Jamie] “We were headlining a festival and I had never been at a festival before; I got so drunk I got caught smoking a spliff and the police kicked me out and we were not even able to play.”


“Just now I managed to put a hole in the drum. Oh, and maybe sometimes being accidentally too sexy.”


“We were at a festival once and we all got really drunk and poured beer over each other, but thats what happens when you drink. We don’t wanna say ‘don’t drink too much’ because that’s boring at a festival!”

Saint PHNX

[Stevie] “Alan’s biggest festival fault is farting on the tour bus. He is absolutely disgusting, he is rotten.”

[Alan] “Stevie’s biggest fault is that he stinks and he picks his nose and eats it.”

Breaking Benjamin

“We were in Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio and we had a small trailer/dressing room… when time came to do the show we got locked inside the trailer and had to climb out the window – but instead of helping the crew just stood about laughing and filming us struggle”

Anna Straker

“At Glastonbury my mic stopped working. No one knew why; I got halfway through the song and we finally got the mic started and had to start again but in the meantime, I was left standing there!”

The Sherlocks

“On Friday night we were asleep on the bus and our sound engineer started screaming, ‘help, help, emergency, stop, stop!’. He was having a night terror and thought he was driving the tour bus, so he was stood up in his bed trying to apply the imaginary breaks for like 5 minutes. He woke up and was like I’m sorry everyone, I was dreaming.”

Against The Current

[Chrissy] “So I was at Leeds a couple of days ago trying to get into the backstage area, and they were holding up the guests. I got waved at by security and this female bouncer got really mad and thought I was jumping the queue so she punched me in the arm. It really hurt but I was so shocked I didn’t know what to do! So bizarre…”

The Hunna

[Ryan] “Hands down it’s gotta be me losing my passport in Hamburg. The police let me in the country for the night, then the next morning we went to the embassy to get a one-day passport. It was a nightmare, apparently my passport ended up in Cyprus.”


“I had a performance on Friday and the times were mixed up and no one was told about it. So I was doing my set and I literally watched everyone walk away. It was so embarrassing!”


“3 years ago we played a gig. I’d had no sleep, was wrecked, and my voice just blew out on stage. I didn’t know what to do. Off stage my sister had a bottle of rum… I claimed that I didn’t make it back to the tent; I passed out, pissed myself, woke up in my own vomit and heard a lot of stories… I literally could not talk!”


[Todd] “I went on stage and put my guitar behind my amp but it had been moved in the time that I had been away from stage. I went on stage to play and pick up my guitar and couldn’t find it.. I must have been faster than Usain Bolt; I had to sprint to side of stage and grab it carry on with the set.”

“Letting Todd in the band.”


[George] “I got real drunk once and I couldn’t get into the tent. I was so wrecked they found me the next day passed out on top of the tent with a stolen bottle of rum…”

Barns Courtney

“I did a gig in Milwaukee. The crowd was really far back from the stage so I thought, ‘I have to get closer.’ I thought it would be a really great thing to get down there, so I jumped off thinking it was grass down there. Turns out it was concrete and I broke my foot in 5 different places. Managed to finish the set though… and I didn’t want people see me cry!”


[Roland] “I’m always falling over – like literally always, but at a festival that’s OK it’s expected”

[Jamie] “Always know where to pitch your tent – never do it in the walkway because it’ll get trashed.”

Picture This

“We are not very rock and roll – we don’t really drink and we are very disciplined and proper into the creative side of things!”

Jimmy Eat World

“You’re gonna be so bummed out, we’re all good boys, but I have one story.. we were at this festival in Belgium once and I ate five waffles. I felt so sick…”

Deap Vally

[Lindsey] “Today right before we went on stage I had to pee really desperately, so I went in the shower because it was the closest thing I could find, and then I accidentally turned on the shower and soaked myself before the set. But you know what it was really refreshing and I felt so great during our set!”

Louis Berry

“Security who don’t know what they’re doing, telling me to go here and there and calling me a prick for no reason really pissed me off.”

The Orwells

“Having to wait here in the sun roasting, it’s the worst shit ever! Other than that, our festivals have been amazing, we have killed it every year”


“I had my music stop during a set and I had to just stand there and talk to the audience while it was fixed… and I once fell while leaving the stage – but I was wearing 6inch heels!”

Huw Stephens

“My festival fault is I once went on stage to introduce a band and I forgot the name, so had to walk off stage and pretend it was a fault with the microphone whilst finding out the band’s name before coming back. I styled it out!”


“Projectile vomiting at most festivals – it seems we haven’t done it at Reading yet, but the night is still young.”

Olly Chamberlain

“I was playing at a bar once and I just fell off the stage right on my face. I got back up, played the last bar on my guitar and shamefully hobbled off stage…”

Oh Wonder

[Anthony] “You know the mosquito mesh at the top of your tent? Well, someone was sick through mine once while I was sleeping and I was covered in vomit. It was delicious.”

[Josephine] “I turned up to my first festival and forgot to bring a tent, but i thought, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll just borrow one, it’ll be fine’. I was young!”

The Amity Affliction

“One of us nearly died cos we were drinking so much.”

Circa Waves

[Kieran] “Sam usually throws his bass in the tents but always misses and it crashes to the floor. As for me, I’m faultless!”


[Laura] “Last year, we didn’t realise it was gonna be so muddy and the van got stuck in the mud… we had an hour before our set and I had to walk to the backstage area in my night dress. It was freezing but what no one told me is that it was see through – so these guys’ biggest fault is not telling me my night dress was see through!”

You Me At Six

[Dan] “I was at a festival as a punter. I was about 16 and I was watching Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I really needed a piss so I had my mates huddle round me while I peed in a cup, but they decided mid-pee to move away, so there I was standing there with it in a cup – and yes, just like Chris from Love Island, it does touch the bottom!”

You Me At Six

[Josh] “Realistically every time I open my mouth on the mic in front of how many thousand people that is somewhat hazardous! When I’m not singing, it has to be when I try and channel my inner Ricky Gervais in between songs – it usually ends quite badly, not as funny as I think I am, maybe!”


“We were at a festival, at a Muse gig, and I had a few gins so my balance wasn’t great, and I fell and twisted my ankle, so while the rest of the guys were at the after party I was sitting in a Polish hospital.”

Dillon Francis

“Maybe walking off stage in Australia… but it was called for!”


“We just played Summer Sonic in Japan, and I nearly ate it on stage. It was so embarrassing but I managed to style it out. Had to pretend I was break dancing.”

Sundara Karma

[Oscar] “We played Latitude in 2015 and we still getting used to the whole rider situation. We were getting free alcohol, we got really drunk beforehand on a litre of vodka and then went on stage. I went in for a crowd surf, underestimated the strength of the crowd and just got dropped on my face. I really hurt my ribs but didn’t realise until the next morning.”

Glass Animals

“We got so wasted for a festival in Switzerland for so many days in a row that we had to cancel the show. We drank so much, got on stage and nothing came out of my mouth so we had to cancel. So yeah, not great.”

Stefflon Don

“I was told before one of my shows that we had to cut short the set time, so when I saw my manager signalling from side of stage in the middle of my song Real Ting, I cut it short. When I got off stage my manager said to me ‘No, Stef, I said go into the crowd.’ I felt so bad ’cause Real Ting was the song they were waiting for and I saw all my fans faces were disappointed, so yeah I felt really bad…”

Delta Heavy

“We took a wheeled suitcase to Glastonbury last year and literally had to drag it through the mud. Not fun…”

Jacob Plant

“We were about to go on stage at Glastonbury and we didn’t know our sound monitor had broken, so we’re standing on stage in front of 20,000 fans and there was no sound.. our set was only 20 minutes, so after 15 we just went out there acoustic and did a couple songs. We felt so bad but it turned out really good.”

The Big Moon

[Jules] “I broke a tooth having sex with my boyfriend in my tent…”


“Whenever I have a show in another country, I try to learn their language. We had a show in Germany and I was sweating out ’cause I was proper hot, and I asked my pianist who said he’d learned German in school. I said ‘what is “I am hot” in German?’ and he said its ‘ich bin heist’. So the next show, I was shouting ‘ich bin heist’ and everyone was laughing. I just thought it was because 0f my accent. I came off stage and I had loads of tweets quoting me as saying I was sexy. Yeah, so that was embarrassing”

Photography Jack Alexander

Words Jade Cunningham