The Reading Festival originates from the National Jazz Festival, which was conceived by Harold Pendleton (founder of the Marquee Club in London) and was first held at Richmond Athletic Ground in 1961. This festival, in turn, took inspiration from events held in America. Throughout its first decade the festival changed names and moved around sites several times, being held at Windsor Racecourse, Kempton Park and Plumpton, before reaching its permanent home at Reading in 1971.
The line-up settled into a pattern of progressive rock, blues and hard rock during the early and mid 1970s then became the first music festival to embrace punk rock and new wave in the late 1970s, when The Jam, Sham 69, The Stranglers and Penetration were among the headline acts. The festival attempted to provide both traditional rock acts and new punk and new wave bands in the late 1970s and early 1980s, occasionally leading to clashes between the two sets of fans, though the festival gradually became known for focusing on heavy metal and rock acts....(Read more at Wikipedia)
Links to Peel
John Peel attended the predecessor of the Reading Festival, the Sunbury National Jazz and Blues Festival, at Kempton Park Racecourse, in 1968; he previews his appearance there on the Top Gear of 11 August 1968.
Main article: Reading: Radio.