LEEDS FESTIVAL MOVES FOR GOOD

Organisers hope to make Bramham Park permanent home after successful and violent-free weekend…

LEEDS FESTIVAL organisers have said BRAMHAM PARK will become the full-time home of the northern leg of the CARLING WEEKEND after the event passed off without violence for the first time in three years.

This year’s festival was moved from its original home at Temple Newsam to Bramham Park, just outside the city. For the last two years at the old site the festival ended amid violent scenes. 2002 was particularly bad, with toilets burnt down, resulting in the conviction of a number of festival goers for their part in the violence.

This year, West Yorkshire Police say they made only 28 arrests over the weekend. A delighted organiser Melvin Benn told NME the change in site has worked wonders, and the days of the Leeds Festival at Temple Newsam are gone.

“I’m over the moon. I’m so happy. It’s a dream come true,” he said. “I think (the change) had an extremely positive effect on the festival. It felt less cramped. The campsites felt less cramped, the arena felt less cramped. The fact the campsites were unified as one helped, and I think people respected the fact the space was nice… Reading Festival moved two or three times before it found its permanent home. But I think we’ve got there on the first move. I do think Bramham Park will become the permanent base.”

He continued: “There was only so much I could do. I could organise it, I could put the show on and I can do everything in my power to make it as good as possible, but I can’t be the fans. And the fans took the decision to make it better. They realised it wasn’t a positive way forward. They realised they were being judged badly as music fans and I think they took the decision to make it better.”

The only major problem in Leeds happened when 22 fans were injured duringSystem Of A Down’s Main Stage set. The front barrier moved approximately half a metre, and one girl trapped her foot.

Melvin told NME that they’re now undertaking a “de-brief” to find out exactly what went wrong, in the hope of preventing anything like this happening again.

“I’ve asked for the barrier to be sent away to be inspected to find out what happened.” he said. “Beyond that, the barrier was installed to a professional standard, it was a professional barrier, everything was done correctly. But until we get the technical report on what happened I can’t work out what the lessons are to be learned.”

And he had a final word for the fans at Leeds Festival. “The only thing I can say is thank you. You’ve done yourself proud and you’ve done festival-going proud.”