• Rivermead Complex
    rivermead leisure complex 2
  • Rivermead - Reading Festival
    Reading Festival Air Photo, from Rivermead Leisure Complex
  • Rivermead - Tree Planting
    Tree planting in Reading, rivermead leisure complex

Rivermead Leisure Complex

General Info

Full Name:                          Rivermead Leisure Complex

Address:                              Richfield Avenue

Opened-Closed:               1988-present

Brief History

The Rivermead Leisure Complex was opened in June 1988 by Sir Steve Redgrave. It was built to provide a sporting and entertainment centre for Reading. Since its inception it has played host to major artists owing to it having one of the largest audience capacities in the town.

The Complex has been an integral part of many festivals in Reading; since it opened it has helped host Reading Festival to deal with the festival’s growing capacity. From 1990 it also played an important role in WOMAD in conjunction with Reading Borough Council until the festival moved to Wiltshire in 2006. And since 2000 it has hosted the Rockers Reunion Winter Party.

Frequent Performers

Status Quo have performed 4 times.

The Prodigy have performed twice.

Carter & the Unstoppable Sex Machine have performed twice.

Fun Lovin’ Criminals have performed twice.

Paul Weller has performed twice.



Staff from Rivermead Leisure Complex helped to plant 1000 trees between Little John’s Farm, the Complex and the river. The trees were intended to provide a family of local badgers greater security from the effects of Reading Festival and were thus donated by Melvin Benn of Festival Republic, the company that organise Reading Festival. With the support of volunteers and Reading Borough Council staff the task was completed in just 1 day to the delight of the badgers!

Reading Festival:

During the festival, Rivermead Leisure Complex is used as the base for the security and police teams, as well as offering washing and toilet facilities to the many festival-goers. It is also reported to provide a very good view of the whole festival site, an opportunity sometimes taken advantage of by a few!

Performers Timeline


1989 The Monkees
1990 SaxonMetal Church
1991 Gary Glitter
1992 Peter GabrielStatus QuoCarter & the Unstoppable Sex Machine
1993 The ShamenThe GridSub Sub

Carter & the Unstoppable Sex Machine

Sultans of Ping

Status Quo

1994 Deacon BlueStatus Quo
1995 The Stone Roses
1996 Deep PurpleLevellersThe Prodigy
1997 SuedeMansunEternal

Manic Street Preachers

The Charlatans




The Prodigy

Red Snapper

Status Quo

1998 UB40Ocean Colour SceneDebbie Harry & Blondie

Natalie Imbruglia

1999 Brian MayGarbageMoloko


Fun Lovin’ Criminals


2000 Robbie Williams
2001 Paul WellerOcean Colour SceneFun Lovin’ Criminals

Mel C

Paul Weller

2002 ToploaderWill YoungSummer XS
2003 Craig DavidGabrielle
2004 Scissor SistersTravis
2005 AthleteMagic NumbersKings of Leon

People in Planes

Debbie Harry

Parallel Lounge

2006 SugababesRazorlightThe Zutons
2007 Queens of the StoneageThe Eighties MatchboxB-Line Disaster

The Kooks

2008 James BluntThe BishopsKaiser Chiefs

Late of the Pier and Club Smith

The Hair

The Fratellis

The Hoosiers

Officer Kicks

Absent Elk

The Pigeon Detectives

The Virgins

Red Light Company

2009 StereophonicsTom AlloneThe 78s
2010 Bloc PartyGrammaticsMadness
2012 Ed SheeranProfessor Green


Other performers include Alexander O’Neill, Lulu, Mystique, Soul to Soul and The Christians.