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Live Music

Amandeep enjoys the sound of summer at one of the UK’s many music festivals. She even gets to go backstage with a British band!

Watch the video. Then go to Task and do the activities.


Think about the following questions:

  • Have you ever been to an outdoor music festival?
  • What do you think people like about them?

Amandeep goes backstage to meet British Sea Power at the Reading music festival.


Amandeep: It’s the height of the music festival season here in the UK. Some of the biggest bands in the world are performing to huge crowds in the open air. This is Reading Festival where over three days more than 200 acts are performing across eight stages.

I’m going to be following one of Britain’s top bands, British Sea Power, as they prepare for their show tonight.

Late in the afternoon, the band arrive backstage by tour bus.

British Sea Power have a very distinctive sound. They mix the influences of poetry and the English landscape with an indie rock sound. I spoke to the band’s vocalist and guitarist, Scott Wilkinson.

What’s the atmosphere like at a music festival?

Scott: Erm, they’re all very different, they have their own character. This one was traditionally… it was kind of like the rock festival. Because you see a lot of music in one weekend, maybe see some new music that you wouldn’t buy a ticket to go and see, see something by accident, you know.

For the band, there’s lots of hanging around before their concert later tonight. But I wanted to find out what life is like for the fans.

When you come to a festival, there’s a few things you need to bring with you. A lot of people stay overnight, so of course you need a tent. After dark, a torch comes in handy. The British weather is very unpredictable, so a lot of water, because it might be hot, but if it rains, of course, you need your waterproofs, an umbrella and the all-important wellies.

It’s also very important to remember where your tent is. There are thousands of them. So what’s brought so many people to the Reading Festival?

Fan 1: Music, I've got friends and having an absolutely wicked time.

Fan 2: I just really like the atmosphere, and there’s so much here...

Fan 3: …meeting new people, listening to good music…

It was getting dark, so after looking around, I headed backstage again to see how the band were doing. There are a lot of last-minute preparations before the band can perform. Just before they went on stage, I spoke to guitarist Martin Noble.

Amandeep: Martin, what’s it like to perform at a music festival?

Martin: Erm, it’s really exciting. You know, you rehearse all the time in a small dark room, and then this is your chance to actually finally get out there and play to your audience.

Amandeep: You’re just about to go on stage soon. Are you nervous?

Martin: You know, sometimes you get the nerves, but you know, if you can see the crowd are up for it, then there’s nothing to worry about.

The band are just minutes away from performing. They’re doing their last-minute sound check now, and from here the crowd looks amazing.

Task 1

Watch Amandeep's documentary about the Reading Music Festival. Which of these questions is answered in the documentary? Click on six questions.


Task 2

Can you remember the missing information in these sentences? Watch the documentary again and complete the sentences with the correct words and numbers.


Task 3

Use the correct words to complete Amandeep's introduction to her documentary. Then watch the video again to check.



Language level

Intermediate: B1


A couple of times I was on the concerts.
People like music festivals because they can see their favourite singers, feel general atmosphere of crowd and of course hear live music.

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Hi, guys, what a festival! I think it would be great to feel this environment and to sleep in a tent with your friends, there are lots of festivals across the world but I think this could be one of the best in U.k.

Hello, Team.
Help me with this please..
"It was getting dark, so after looking around, I headed backstage again to see how the band were doing"
In my understanding, why Amandeep speaks in the past form is because she wants to tell us story of her trip, right?
But how about this one,
"Late in the afternoon, the band arrive backstage by tour bus".
Why is the verb in the sentence is 'arrive'?
Shouldn't it has been written 'were arriving' as she says 'it was getting dark'?
Would you please explain?
Thank you very much indeed.

Hello Nizam,

The present tense can be used to tell stories. This is quite frequent especially in spoken English, as is the case here. The sentence about the band arriving backstage comes after a series of other sentences in the present tense, and when it is spoken we see the band getting out of the bus, so the present tense makes sense here.

Amandeep could also have used the present tense in the other part you ask about. I couldn't say for sure why she chose the past tense here. My guess is that it is because she recorded herself saying these words after the festival and saw the event as past at that point.

I hope this helps you make sense of it.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team