reading fest main stage

Reading Festival 2023 Rolls Into Town

  • Info on traffic, travel, getting to and from the festival site, a residents hotline number and how organisers are working towards a more sustainable event
  • Festival goers are again being urged to say no to single use plastics and take their tent home
  • Day ticket holders for Saturday August 26 are being urged to plan to use alternative transport as rail services from Reading Station will be severely disrupted

READING will transform into a festival town once again next week with residents reminded to plan ahead with shops, public transport and roads a lot busier than usual as 105,000 people attend the three-day event.

 Plan for Traffic Delays

  • Local residents planning to travel into or around the town centre from Wednesday 23 August to Friday 25 August are being asked to plan their journey in advance, leave early and be prepared for longer travel times as festival goers arrive. Thursday August 24 is expected to be particularly busy as most festival-goers arrive that day.
  • Near to normal travel levels are expected on the Saturday and Sunday of the festival (26 and 27 August), although shops and supermarkets will be busier than usual.
  • Roads will be extremely busy again on the Bank Holiday Monday (28 August) as festival-goers leave the event.


  • Residents are advised parking restrictions, including no stopping for pick-ups, will be in place around the Richfield Avenue site as usual. The area should be avoided.
  • 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.
  • If dropping off/picking up, please use sat nav postcode for Hills Meadow Car Park RG4 8DH
  • Festival car parking is available at Mapledurham and Kings Meadow for parking pass holders.
  • For festival visitors parking at Mapledurham, a pedestrian bridge has again been constructed direct to the site to ensure easy and safe access.
  • For those parking at Kings Meadow, an official festival boat service is provided free of charge to help transport everyone, including tents and belongings, into the festival site. People are advised to be on their guard against any illegal/unregulated boats that may be operating, which includes offering a taxi service.

Temporary Traffic Management

As usual, temporary traffic management will be in place at various locations around town. Please look out for signage.

  • For security and safety, the usual night-time closure of the Thames Path (from 7pm to 6am) will again be in operation from Thursday 24 August to Monday 28 August. The closure will apply between Scours Lane to the far end of Thameside 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 of festival weekend. This closure is to assist a safe exit from the festival site of the 20,000 day ticket holders, with a contingency to extend eastbound to the junction with Caversham Road (except for access) should reasons of safety necessitate.
  • During Bank Holiday Monday (August 28), the Napier Road / Vastern Road roundabout will be particularly busy, with temporary traffic management utilised if required.
  • The northbound closure of Cow Lane, between Portman Road and Cardiff Road, is also likely to be reinstated between 8am and 3pm on the Bank Holiday Monday to help 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, in addition to the areas immediately around the site and main event car parks, on the Bank Holiday Monday.
  • There will be enforced parking and loading restrictions in place around the festival site, particularly along Richfield Avenue.
  • Guests should follow the boroughwide signing to the designated drop-off/pick-up area (Hills Meadow Car Park, George Street, RG4 8DH) or to their pre-booked car park.

Getting to the Festival Site

The Council has again worked with the festival organisers to produce travel information, made available to festival-goers and the general public, via the festival website:

  • 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 towpath 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.
  • 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 Rivermead Leisure Centre and next to the festival site – as a further option when travelling to and from the site.
  • 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.
  • Festival-goers are reminded not to use private land as pick-up/drop-off points without express permission from the landowner or they may be liable to receive parking fines and / or be subject to other legal action.
  • Due to planned industrial action on Saturday August 26, services from Reading Station are expected to be severely disrupted (Reading Station closes from 7pm,  although it is envisaged Elizabeth Line services will still be operating). It is important that day ticket holders for Saturday plan ahead for alternative transport.

Rivermead Leisure Centre, Noise Checks, Residents Hotline Number

  • The new Rivermead Leisure Centre and its facilities will be closed for normal activities from Weds August 23 to Tuesday August 29 inclusive.
  • The intention is once again to avoid unreasonable disturbance to local residents. Sound testing will take place on Thursday evening and each day of the festival prior to the live show. These will be conducted under the direct supervision of Council officers.
  • A special hotline number – 020 8080 1518 - has been set up for residents who wish to offer comments or to raise queries during the event. The line will be answered between 9am and 5pm on Wednesday 23 August, and then 24 hours a day from 9am Thursday 24 until 3pm Monday 28 August. There is also an email for residents to use: (emails are checked regularly during main event hours).

 Sustainability and Climate Change

  • The Council - together with Festival Republic - is again urging festival goers to build on recent improvements by again saying no to ‘single-use’ plastics and taking their tent home. The total waste generated at the site in 2022 was 42 tonnes lower than in the previous year – a decrease of 5.07%.  There was also a 21% decrease in tents left behind at the site year on year.
  • Following the success of the festival’s first ever Eco Campsite in 2022, and after initially selling out earlier this year, Festival Republic has expanded the eco site by tripling capacity. Festival goers who want to stay with other like-minded eco-friendly campers and leave no trace should act quickly and visit
  • Campfires and disposable BBQs are banned at the festival site this year. Anyone seen creating or fuelling a fire will be evicted. This is to support the Council’s local Air Quality Action Plan and will contribute significantly to improved air quality at the site and for local residents in the vicinity. It is also in consideration of local impacts as set out in Festival Republic’s Green Nation Charter.  For a list of what festival goers can and can’t bring into the site go to Disposable vapes are also banned.
  • Driving towards Festival Republic’s target of reducing 50% of its emissions by 2030, the festival is increasingly being powered by a combination of battery storage units and biofuel to achieve greater reduced emissions. 
  • Festival Republic, along with the Council, encourage the use of low-carbon transport such as coach, train and car sharing. It is working with Liftshare this year to promote car sharing, incentivising this with a priority car park and an onstage experience.  
  • Due to the high carbon emissions associated with beef production, Festival Republic has taken the decision not to serve any in crew catering. 
  • Reading Festival goers donate £1 of their car parking fee to Trees for Cities, which has funded the planting of 22 mature trees in Reading to date.
  • In a new initiative this year, the Council will be placing two glass bottle banks for shoppers and festival-goers to use over the festival weekend, directly outside the front entrance to the ALDI store at Vastern Court, on Vastern Road. Many revellers leave the festival site to buy drinks in glass bottles before decanting them into alternative containers, as glass is not permitted on the festival site. The Council hopes to capture as much glass recycling as possible at the new bottle banks to contribute to Reading’s glass recycling tonnages and reduce glass litter and breakage along the route back to the festival site, also reducing pressure on the public litter bins in the area.