Thanks to Kev for the loan of the pics below, Dan for the arena shot and some bloke's Thin Lizzy site for the programme cover - sorry, I forgot where it was nicked from...
Impressed by Dan and Wigg's tales of '82, Kev and Fat Reg joined them in 83, together with O'Niell (pronounced "Onyul"). Fat Reg had failed his A-levels and his Mum gave him the £16 for the ticket as consolation. Aaaahh. Above: arena, 1983
Click on pics below to see 'em bigger.
You know you want to...
It was astonishing. The whole place was filled with bikers, who rode their bikes around the camp-site, over tents and fought in the mud by the taps. The toilets were a health hazard. The bikers had smashed the lighting and all the bogs had overflowed - not at all pleasant in the dark. Luckily there were traditional underground loos - complete with attendant - in the centre of Reading. We went there.

There was masses of heavy metal and prog-rock, but the bikers objected to the presence of Steel Pulse on the Friday and sent them packing in a hail of piss-filled bottles. Philistines.

After the end of each day's entertainment, biker blues bands played impromptu sets dotted around the camp-site. Can't imagine that happening today...

Dan drank a whole bottle of Jack Daniels on the Thursday night and fell to the ground in the arena - in those days it was open on Thursday because there weren't the stalls selling hippy shite all over the place - yelling that there was an earthquake. Reading remained unmoved...

Wigg got totally lashed on rough snakebite and spent his money on a collection of ear-rings so tasteless that he threw them away shortly after sobering up.

Wigg got pissed again on the Sunday, wandered off for a bit and at some point took a brief rest in the arean by leaning on a Uriah Heep flag erected by some hippies. They asked him not to. "Piss off" replied Wigg. One of the hippies got up and punched him in the eye - whatever happened to peace and love, man?

By the time we saw him again, at the front during The Stranglers, he'd been patched up by St John's ambulance, but his eye was blood-red all over. Black Sabbath were fronted by Ian Gillan and played in front of a poorly-scaled Stonehenge replica - which is where the scene in "Spinal Tap" came from, and the mighty Thin Lizzy bowed out with their farewell UK gig.

We were festival converts. Then the local council sold the site and Reading was off for three long years... but we'd be back.

Seems like we couldn't drink as much back in those days. pathetic... Main, indeed, only, stages. You didn't have any problem seeing bands in 83 Piss-filled bottles at dusk. Brings back so many wonderful memories Steel Pulse, during their brief appearance before the idiots bottled them off
Dan, looking like Ozzy's bastard offspring. Taken after the drinking of the Jack Daniels Reg, back in the days before he was fat. It wasn't long in coming, mind... Wigg, after being punched by the irate hippy. Wigg lets us have a close-up view of the damage. Nice...
Good things about Reading 1983
• Fat Reg's first festival
• Seeing Thin Lizzy's farewell
• Lager
• Heavy metal - and lots of it
• The Duke - Reading's best boozer

Bad things about Reading 1983
• Thin Lizzy's last ever British gig
• Ramones pulling out
• Drunken Hippies
• Ignorant bikers bottling Steel Pulse off stage
• Progressive rock
• Wearing sensible shoes all weekend
• Rivers of piss down the back steps at the Duke

Best Bands of Reading 1983

Reg, Wigg and, kneeling, Onyull, who told his employers he was going to a funeral, as they wouldn't let him have time off. Wonder what happened to him?
• Thin Lizzy
• The Stranglers
• Hanoi Rocks
• Big Country - honestly
• Truffle at the Duke on the Thursday night
• Suzi Quatro
The most tasteless earrings ever. A skull, a skull and crossbones, a guitar and a dagger. Let this be a lesson: don't get royally pissed before going on a shopping spree when there's only shite on sale
Worst Bands of Reading 1983
• The Enid
• Marillion
• Black Sabbath
• And any of the other prog-rock shite
Click to see the full Reading 1983 line-up
Reg, Wigg and Kev. Precious little chance of seeing these three standing up at a festival these days