White Stripes greet festival fans - a year late

Detroit rockers The White Stripes took centre stage at the Reading Festival - a year late.

Detroit rockers The White Stripes took centre stage at the Reading Festival - a year late.

The enigmatic pair had been due to headline at the sell-out mud-fest last year but had to pull out after singer Jack White was involved in a car crash.

To an ecstatic reception from the crowd last night, Jack opened their belated headline set with a brief apology.

“My name is Jack White, this is my big sister Meg, sorry we couldn’t make it last year – we caught a cab this time.”

Their appearance came at the end of a packed second day at the festival with performances from top bands including The Libertines and Mercury Music Prize nominees Franz Ferdinand.

But perhaps the warmest welcome of the day was reserved for Morrissey who took centre stage immediately before The White Stripes.

Despite his migration to Los Angeles, he endeared himself to the crowd in Caversham by dedicating a song to the local police after he was recently caught speeding in the area, earning him penalty points on his driving licence.

After crooning his way through classics such as Every Day Is Like Sunday, he delved into his new album You Are The Quarry.

Standing within earshot of the Radio 1 tent, he led the crowd in a chorus of booing for the station which, he said, had refused to play two of his latest releases.

And in a possible attempt to show that he has not lost his British irony, he introduced his song, Crashing Bores by asking: “Has anyone seen Emmerdale recently?”

With the rain holding off for a second day, Friday’s pools of mud were less in evidence yesterday although Morrissey’s smoking jacket still made him by far the cleanest looking person at the festival.

Police said that the festival was continuing to progress well with reported crimes down by almost a fifth on last year so far.

A Thames Valley Police spokeswoman said that there had been 276 reported offences related to the festival by last night compared with 313 by the same point last year.

The festival continues today, its final day.

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