Monday 30 August 2021 by Dan Einav

Literature enthusiast left severely disappointed by Reading Festival


Literature fan at Reading festival

A literature enthusiast was left feeling confused and severely disappointed after attending the annual Reading Festival.

Simon Williams, 53, a self-described “bookworm”, had arrived at the Berkshire-based event hoping to get stuck into some literary classics.

“I’d brought my anthology of English Verse and was looking forward to a weekend where I could just catch up on some reading and chat to like-minded people,” he explained.

“When I arrived it seemed to me that the festival organisers had adopted a WWI theme for this year to commemorate the centenary of the conflict.

“They replicated the atrocious conditions and deafening noise that the war poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon had lived through, and even hired thousands of actors to behave like the traumatised, dead-eyed teen soldiers that they had written about.

“But it seemed like those youths were the only people there. I’m not sure where any of the actual festival-goers were because I didn’t see anyone else holding a book or willing to talk about literature the whole time that I was there. It must’ve been a really poor turn-out.

“With all the noise I could barely get any reading done at all. I don’t know if it was meant to be an endurance exercise to train us to be able to read in any conditions, but I prefer to do my reading in a more tranquil environment.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Simon though, as Williams told us, “On Saturday night I went to see a slam poetry performer called ‘Stormzy’.

“It wasn’t Keats, but the way that he played around with language was quite good fun.”

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