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Are You Listening? festival returns to Reading with huge line-up

Published: 17 Apr 2014 09:300 comments

The fundraising festival with it’s finger firmly on the pulse of what’s fresh in music, Are You Listening? returns to Reading town centre on Saturday, April 26, after a successful debut in 2013.

Ezra Furman

With this year’s line-up boasting more than 80 bands, and 70% of the talent on the bill drawn from the local area, organisers are hoping to beat the success of AYL? 2013, which drew 1,000 punters to enjoy it’s multi-venue musical bash – and raise much-needed funds for Reading Mencap.

With names on the bill including Chicago’s bluesy rock’n’roller Ezra Furman, Red Kite, The Patient Wild, Intraverse, Revbjelde, Echoic, Bear & The Woods, Amy’s Ghost and John Kennedy (XFM), and the music taking place at Pavlov’s Dog, The Bowery District, Face Bar, Oakford Social Club, RISC, Milk and South Street Arts Centre, this year there is something for everyone – whether you’re into indie, rock, reggae, hiphop or folk.

We caught up with festival co-organiser Dave Maul to find out more.

“The first year of AYL? was an experiment in a way, to see if it worked and if people would be interested, and raising money for charity was not something we had done before. But it went so well we thought we had to do it again,” he tells LoveLife. This year the festival boasts some 14+ venues, at South Street, Face Bar and The Bowery District.

“We want everyone to be involved,” explains Dave. “We want people to come down, to have the opportunity to enjoy it, and even the experience of going to a gig is great.”

So, how do the team behind AYL? – led by Shane Daunt of Black&White Music and Dave of Monkeysuit Music, choose the acts for their jammed-packed and eclectic bill? “The first thing is that we have got to think that they are decent!” Dave says. “And they have to be something that will work; we like to keep a bit of variety, and we match those bands to venues that will suit their sound, or that will work with the flow of the venue.

“We also get smaller bands to support bigger ones, the ones from out of town, so they get that experience of playing to new audiences.”

The organisers are still keen to recruit volunteers to help out on the day – with half a day of helping out getting you a festival wristband. Last year more than 50 people, including students, Mencap volunteers and local music fans, took part.

“We need volunteers to help run the event anyway, but it adds another community element to it,” Dave says. “We are keen to get everyone involved, so everyone gets something out of it.”

To help out, email areyoulistening@bwmusic.co.uk with the subject headline Volunteer. Tickets to AYL? are £10 in advance for a festival wristband, allowing access to all venues, and £12 on the day, with limited £5 single-venue access tickets also available on the day. Buy online at www.bwmusic.co.uk; www.readingarts.com or www.wegottickets.com

For line-up details, updates and more information, visit areyoulistening.org.uk

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