POLICE CONDEMN FESTIVAL RIOT

Organisers insist festival "will have a long and successful future" while local residents get set to oppose any event next year...

Police have condemned “sustained, determined and mindless” violence which took place at the close of the Leeds festival in the early hours of this morning.

Up to 500 festival-goers went on the ramage at the Temple Newsham site, burning down 71 toilets block and a portacabin. Over 200 officers, many wearing riot gear, were called in to contain the violence.

Inspector Nick Dyson of West Yorkshire Police said one male officer suffered a broken nose and that two vehicles were damaged during the rioting.

“Police say the violence, which is believed to have involved several hundred people, was determined and sustained and have condemned it as mindless,” he added.

Local residents are set now to oppose next year’s event. This year’s was only greenlighted a couple of weeks ago, following resident opposition to a licence.

Councillor Lee Benson said people living around the Temple Newsam estate will be “disgusted” by the trouble. He said the battle against holding the festival in future would have gone on anyway, but the latest violence strengthened the objectors’ case.

“The main objection has always been the damage which the event does to the park and the violence over the past two year has just been an add on. Local people will be disgusted by what has happened and they will be determined to fight on,” he said.

However organisers Mean Fiddler are insisting the festival “will have a long and successful future.”

Company MD Melvin Benn attempted to play down the trouble, insisting just under 1% of festival goers were involved and calling the riots “regrettable.”

“There were a series of incidents involving up to 500 people in which 71 tiolets and one portacabin were damaged by fire. No festival goers were injured,” he said.

“Police and security attended, contained and dealt with the situation. In the context of the first sell-out Leeds Festival which saw 50,000 people enjoy the live return of Guns ‘N’ Roses after nine years and the return of the Prodigy after four years and three days of the best music festival in Britain, the actions of under 1% of the crowd, while regrettable, should not be allowed ro detract from a very successful weekend which has put Leeds Festival firmly on the UK music map.

“We will not give in to the mindless minority and will strive to make it more successful next year. The Leeds Festival will have a very long and successful future.”

In contrast, police at the Reading leg of the festival have reported few arrests and very little trouble.

Were you caught up in the trouble at Leeds? Email NME.COM with your eyewitness reports and photos at news@nme.com.