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Thursday, 23 August, 2001, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
Festivals promote The Strokes
The Strokes
The Strokes: Caused huge interest among rock fans
Organisers of the Reading and Leeds festivals have bowed to fan pressure and moved hotly-tipped rock band The Strokes to the main stage at this weekend's events.

There had been fears that too many people would try to get into the 8,000-capacity Evening Session tent, where they had been due to play.

And festival organisers have dismissed rumours that the Leeds leg has been cancelled.

Headliners Eminem, Travis and the Manic Street Preachers and supporting bands will play at both Reading and Leeds over the weekend.

They were really excited about playing - they were asking lots of questions because this is the biggest gig they've played

The Strokes spokesman
Fans have already started arriving at the two sites, which are expected to attract more than 50,000 people each for the UK's biggest summer rock festivals.

A spokesman for The Strokes said the move to the main stage would allow many fans to see the band who had not managed to get tickets for their small-scale tour.

"They were really excited about playing - they were asking lots of questions because this is the biggest gig they've played," he told BBC News Online.

The New York band has been creating huge interest, and their debut album, Is This It, could go to number one when it is released on Monday.

"The profile's high enough and people are curious," said the spokesman.

Eminem: Plays a warm-up gig in London on Thursday
They will play at Reading on Friday at 1635 BST between Eels and Iggy Pop, and at the same time on Saturday at Leeds, he added.

Meanwhile, organisers have reassured fans that the Leeds leg of the festival has not been called off, despite speculation.

Travis: Among the other big names at the festivals
"There is no substance to these rumours, the Leeds Festival is nearly sold out and we are looking forward to the weekend," a spokesman said.

The first night at Leeds will be headlined by controversial rapper Eminem, who has arrived in the country for a warm-up show in London.

The Grammy-winning star - who was met by protests the last time he played in the UK - will perform a sold-out show with his rap band D12 at London's Astoria on Thursday.

Other bands who will appear over the weekend include Marilyn Manson, Green Day, Supergrass and PJ Harvey.

Reading has long been one of the highlights of the UK musical calendar, and expanded to take in a second site in Leeds in 1999.

It is this year's biggest rock festival following the cancellation of Glastonbury in January.

Behind the beat

Clickable guide
See also:

23 Apr 01 | Music
Eminem leads Reading line-up
10 Jun 01 | Music
New York's new sound
22 Aug 01 | Scotland
Turin Brakes in for festival
23 Apr 01 | Scotland
Eminem tops Glasgow bill
26 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Oasis take Reading by storm
27 Aug 99 | Entertainment
Reading goes north
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