Festivals get under way

The festival season reaches its climax with the start of the Reading and Leeds festivals today.

More than 150,000 music fans are descending on the twin sites for the bank holiday weekend event.

The three-day festival features headline acts Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead, who are performing at the festival for the first time in 15 years.

Other artists performing at the rock festival include Kaiser Chiefs, Ian Brown, The Prodigy, Florence and the Machine and Placebo.

Organiser Melvin Benn said: "Almost everybody's arrived, all the sound systems seem to be good and we've had incredible weather.

"I'm very pleased with the start we've had, and we're just looking forward to the music kicking off now. I'm feeling positive about the weekend."

In Reading, 83,500 music fans will be descending on the site on the banks of the River Thames, while 70,000 will be at Leeds' Bramham Park.

Mr Benn added: "Kings of Leon and Radiohead will be the two highlights for me. I can't wait to see them.

"We've got the best bill of the year."

He said there had been "a couple of issues" with fake tickets, but that the situation had improved from last year.

Festival Republic, promoters of the Reading and Leeds festivals, said a number of tickets had been issued by unofficial websites, including http://www.readingfestival2009.com and http://www.readingfestival2009.net.

A spokeswoman warned anyone holding a ticket from those sites, and the Leeds Festival equivalents, that it is not genuine and they will not be allowed into the festival.

Mr Benn said: "The key message to the festival goers is to enjoy the festival, but to stay safe and look after their valuables.

"We've been working very hard to prevent the tent crime we had last year.

"There were a couple of arrests in Leeds on Thursday night, people who were clearly out to try to steal things. Hopefully that will send a very strong signal out."