SURPRISE! I am the oldest person attending the 2018 Reading Festival.

Approaching main stage I resemble an English teacher on a school day trip gone horribly, horribly wrong. Thank goodness I don’t have to mark homework submitted by this bumbling multitude of stoned halfwits. Instead I join them, tapping my ageing toes to the hits of Panic! At the Disco.

God, I mumble to myself, has it really come to this?

Joking aside, the band are great crowd pleasers and even throw in a rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody. Their set is a reminder of Reading’s great redeeming factor; its knack of pulling together a stellar line-up. For instance, Saturday’s headliner is Kendrick Lamar, arguably the hottest MC on the planet.

Reading has promoted urban music acts for many years. The 2018 reception to these is a welcome change to that accorded rapper 50 Cent only 14 years ago. Happy memories abound of how the artist was pelted off stage by an onslaught of soft drink bottles filled with urine, and even a random deckchair. This was not a moment in UK music to be proud of – especially if you missed.

There are other welcome changes since my last visit to Reading in 1999. These include an excellent BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage, with sets across the weekend from the likes of Annie Mac and Hannah Wants. There is also a new venue called The Pit. I briefly venture in to discover that someone seems to have exploded the contents of a teenager’s bedroom across the Berkshire grass. No-one is smiling.

The most exotic change since the 90s are the spine tingling band names. Back in the day there were groups with sensible names. You know, Nirvana, Oasis, that sort of thing. Now you can thrill to the the likes of – and here’s a random selection for your enjoyment – Hippo Campus. Ski Mask The Slump God. Skinny Girl Diet. Teenage Wrist. And my favourite of the weekend, the superbly named back-to-back DJ sets billed as Netski B2B Jauz B2B Slushii – which is enough to incinerate any spellchecker.

Nashville rockers Kings of Leon headline Sunday night and their hit Sex on Fire providing a standout moment. Unfortunately there wasn’t much fire left at the festival by this point. Torrential rain had extinguished it. And unlike the tens of thousands of teenagers surrounding me, I couldn’t even phone my dad to pick me up.

Reading is a great British festival. It has a longstanding role to play in the UK’s summer musical calendar. As a festival it is a champion of messiness and wrongness. It’s a field where the young can let themselves go, Truly. My comment about stoned halfwits would be in jest if it wasn’t for one my most enduring memory of this year’s event.

The wreckage on the campsite come Monday morning was a disgrace. Almost no-one had bothered to pack away their tents or clear up their litter. A sea of flapping canvas awaited the gutsy volunteers who had pitched up to salvage abandoned tents.

The volunteers’ noble intention was to donate these to refugees. Most tents were rammed with mud, sleeping bags, junk. Inflated airbags littered the site. If you can’t even pack away your tent then you hardly deserve to twerk to the music of Netski B2B Jauz B2B Slushii. Let alone join my new indie band, Pop-Up Pensioners.