Reading Museum exhibition celebrates 50 years of Reading Festival

  • Video report from ITV News Meridian's Mel Bloor

Tens of thousands of music fans will descend on Reading on Thursday (August 26) for one of the UK's biggest summer festivals.

This year marks 50 years since the first ever Reading Festival took place and to mark the occasion, an exhibition will open on Thursday at the town's museum.

It will feature items from unseen photos to unique rock memorabilia.

The exhibition tells the story of the very first Reading Festival and reflects upon its legacy on the life and times of Reading in the early 1970s.

Brendan Carr, from Reading Museum, said: "We've been working with a legendary rock photographer called Jill Furmanovsky who has worked with us to find these rare and in some cases unseen images of the very first Reading Festival 50 years on."

The exhibition is supported by festival director Melvin Benn, who attended the second Reading Festival in 1972.

A selection from the vintage photo collection. Credit: ITV News Meridian

He said: "It was extraordinary, it was shambolic in lots of ways but it was extraordinary and it was the birth of something".

"I think what you may forget is that I think that at around that time there was only two festivals around really which was then Reading Rock Festival and Glastonbury Festival."

"It genuinely was the birth of something."

  • Ratna Sofia Munir, Rock Academy

Funded by Arts Council England, the exhibition includes work created by young people and students from the local Rock Academy.

From the academy, Ratna Munir, said: "I made a podcast about the history of Reading and the public responded to it when it first started and how the public think of it now and the positive impact compared to 50 years ago when people didn't really like it."

The exhibition is open to the public from Thursday (August 26) and runs until January 29 2022.