After two years without the Reading Festival, 1986 saw its return. The Conservative-run council had refused to give it a licence but with Labour back in power, the festival was back on.
Hawkwind and Saxon topped the bill and Killing Joke proved a massive hit. There were some local bands too including Miller and Dog ‘Ouse.
Reading’s organisers, The Marquee, came up with a solution – use Friday as ‘alternative day’ and get all of these newer bands out of the way before the traditional Reading crowd descended fully. Friday even used to start a few hours later and there was an air of throwing the punks and goths a bone from the top table. The 1986 line up is a good example of this, with Killing Joke and The Mission on the Friday before Saxon and Hawkwind took over as Saturday and Sunday headliners.