Sometimes it’s great to have low expectations… This year looked like being terrible, particularly when the White Stripes were forced to cancel their appearance. It left no one I was particularly bothered about seeing that I hadn't seen before, apart from The Darkness.

But there were some unexpected treats in store - mostly on the Carling Stage. Plus the spectacle of old men playing heavy metal, a sight not seen at Reading for, ooh, the best part of 20 years.

And it was the 20th anniversary of Fat Reg's first trip to the festival. Can there be a better way to spend a weekend? The company of great mates, four days of good weather, lashings of cold lagers and some damn fine rock 'n' roll.

So, follow the links above to re-live the best weekend of the year - and one of the best Readings ever.

Sunday August 24, 2003: Metallica are onstage and the crowd are going mental