Thousands of revellers gather for first Reading and Leeds festival in two years

Reading and Leeds festivals are some of the first major music festivals to resume after the pandemic (Pictures: Backgrid)

Thousands have arrived at Reading and Leeds festivals, making up crowds unseen since before the pandemic.

After being canceled twice, for the first time since the annual events began in 1961, the music festivals started on Friday.

This year’s headliners include Oasis’s Liam Gallagher, Stormzy, Disclosure, Catfish And The Bottlemen and Queens Of The Stone Age.

Event-starved young people poured into venues carrying loads of booze, tents, camping equipment and the ever-present bum bag.

In some good news for festival-goers, this bank holiday weekend looks like it is going to stay dry and calm.

People in Reading can even look forward to sunshine and temperatures of up 21°C on Sunday – after a fairly grey and miserable summer.

Similar conditions are expected for Leeds – which could see its bright sunny day and 21°C heat as early as Saturday.

Any attendees over the age of 11 have to prove their ‘coronavirus status’ before entering.

They can do this by showing they have been fully vaccinated – with at least two weeks passed from their second doses – or by providing a negative lateral flow test.

People who have immunity from having the disease can demonstrate this with a positive PCR test within 180 days of the festival – and 10 days of isolation of course.

The weather is expected to stay dry and pleasant for the rest of the weekend (Picture: Backgrid)
Thousands have pitched their tents at Reading festival (Picture: Hyde News and Pictures)
Young people have been starved of live music and other party events for almost two years now (Picture: Rex Features)
Reading and Leeds festivals were cancelled twice because of the coronavirus pandemic (Picture: Rex Features)
Almost all festival-goers arrived with loads of booze (Picture: Rex Features)
Any festival-goers over the age of 11 had to prove their ‘coronavirus status’ (Picture: Getty Images)

Proving ‘coronavirus status’ is not the only new, pandemic-inspired element to the festivals, anyone at the event will be able to get a vaccine ‘as easily as a beer or a burger’.

But the jab will be refused to anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘Vaccines are saving lives and allowing us to regain the freedoms we’ve been looking forward to over the last 18 months – from visiting family abroad to festivals and gigs.

‘It’s brilliant to see different sectors and industries stepping up to help get the country vaccinated, making it easier than ever to get your jab.’

GP and deputy lead for NHS England’s vaccination programme Dr Nikki Kanani said: ‘Thanks to the hard work of NHS staff and volunteers, more than half a million young people aged 16 and 17 have had their first dose.

‘Teams across the country have worked tirelessly to get their communities protected, vaccinating at convenient pop-up clinics in the park, at places of worship and stadiums, and now at Reading and Leeds.

People can get coronavirus vaccines at the ‘vaccine tents’ set up at the festivals (Picture: PA)
People cannot get their jabs if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Picture: PA)
Festival-goers have been treated to warm weather after a miserable August (Picture: Rex Features)
Many in Leeds prepared for the rain (Picture: Backgrid)
Many people dressed up for the event (Picture: Getty Images)

She continued: ‘It is great to see the return of live music and performances.

‘As festivalgoers head to the main stage this weekend to see their favourite headliners, I am also urging anyone who hasn’t to add the “vaccine tent” to their festival itinerary to get that lifesaving vaccine as the best protection we can get from coronavirus.’

More than half a million 16 and 17-year-olds have already had their jab, NHS England previously announced.

It comes after around 4,700 positive coronavirus cases were linked to the Boardmasters festival in Cornwall on the week of August 11.

Similarly, about 1,000 cases are through to be connected with the Latitude festival which took place at the end of July.

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