NEARLY 100,000 revellers will descend on Reading Festival this year and local residents are being reminded to plan ahead so they don’t get caught out by the festival jams.
A total of 100,000 festival-goers are likely to attend this year’s event. About 80,000 weekend tickets have been sold.
Roads will be busy throughout the week beginning August 20th, but congestion is expected to peak from Wednesday August 22nd and Thursday August 23rd as festival-goers arrive in town. It will peak again on Bank Holiday Monday (August 27th) as crowds depart. The town will also be busy for the duration of the festival, which this year runs from Friday August 24th to Sunday August 26th.
Local residents who need to get around town should consider their journey carefully. Where possible taking the bus, cycling and walking may offer a speedier journey. People who do need to travel are being advised to allow plenty of time.
Parking restrictions will be in place around the Richfield Avenue site as usual and the area should be avoided if 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.
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 9pm to 6am) will again be in operation from Thursday August 23rd, to Saturday August 25th inclusive. The closure will apply between Scours Lane to the far end of Thames Side Promenade.
Like the 2017 event, there is 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 (August 24th,25th and 26th). This closure is to assist a safe exit from the festival site of the 20,000 day ticket holders.
During Bank Holiday Monday, temporary traffic restrictions will be in place at the Napier Road / Vastern Road roundabout. The northbound closure of Cow Lane will be reinstated between 8am and 3pm to assist the main exit of weekend ticket-holders. 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.
Tony Page, Reading’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“The Reading Festival is a fantastic event which brings with it a huge boost for local businesses and the town’s economy. Working with Festival Republic, the Council has built up many years of experience of hosting the event but the town will of course be extremely busy, both before and after the festival.
“As always, we would strongly advise residents to plan ahead for the delays that will inevitably occur with 100,000 festival revellers in Reading. The quickest way to get around during festival time is often by public transport.”
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.
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.
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 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 official pick 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 ticket entrance gates.
Rivermead Leisure Centre and its facilities will be closed for normal activities for the three days of the festival.
A special hotline number – 03330035931 – 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 22nd August, and then 24 hours from 9am on Thursday 23rd until 3pm Monday 27th August. Residents can also email firstname.lastname@example.org. Emails will be checked regularly during main event hours. Alternatively people can contact organisers Festival Republic directly on email@example.com during office hours.
Notes To Editor:
Safer Road Berkshire has launched a new travel companion app designed to help get people get home safely after a night out, including festival goers. The ‘Get Your Coat’ app allows users to choose a designated driver from contacts in their phone and then ring them at a press of a button, or send them an automated message, including a location, to say that you’re ready to be picked up. At the push of a button users can also search for and call taxi numbers within the area or set up reminders for their last bus or train home. A drinks tracker allows users to keep track of their own alcohol consumption. The application is being promoted through the organisers of Reading Festival and Drinkaware.
The Get Your Coat app is entirely free to download and is available through both iTunes and google play stores. Just search for ‘Get Your Coat’ in the app store or visit www.getyourcoat.app.