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Monday, 26 August, 2002, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
Festival marred by violence
Slipknot at Reading
Slipknot played at Leeds and Reading
Police have condemned "sustained, determined and mindless" violence which marred the end of the Leeds music festival early on Monday morning.

Several hundred festival-goers went on the rampage after the event at Temple Newsam finished, burning two toilet blocks to the ground and attacking police with missiles.

Skips were set alight and electric cables were pulled down, and 200 officers - many in riot gear - were deployed to stop the trouble.

Over 50,000 people attended the three-day event, which otherwise passed off peacefully.

Perry Farrell
Festival favourite: Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction
Inspector Nick Dyson of West Yorkshire Police said one male officer suffered a broken nose, while two vehicles were damaged.

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

The Leeds event ran in conjunction with the long-running Reading festival, with bands such as Pulp, The Strokes, Ash and Foo Fighters playing both venues on alternate days.

But the Leeds site - which also featured a set from Guns 'N' Roses on Friday - was only confirmed last month after councillors originally refused a licence application after complaints about violence at last year's festival.

Now local campaigners are vowing to oppose next year's event.

But Melvin Benn, of festival organiser Mean Fiddler, said it would be showing "a lack of Yorkshire grit" if the festival was cancelled.

Death

The Leeds festival was also marred by the death of a 19-year-old man, found in his tent by friends.

Police said the man - who is believed to have had a history of congenital heart problems - had been drinking during the night, and they were not treating the death as suspicious.

Festivalgoers had previously been entertained by a varied bill including Ash, who played despite the suspected cracked ribs suffered by drummer Rick McMurray in their recent bus crash in America.

Prodigy
Prodigy played Reading on Sunday
Also playing on Sunday were the Foo Fighters, Muse, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Hives.

By contrast, Thames Valley police said the Reading festival ended in a "good-natured" way - with the worst offences being a few drunken brawls.

Most of the crimes reported at the music extravaganza were thefts - anything from sleeping bags to mobile phones - mostly from tents.

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The BBC's Richard Wells
"The festival has been marred by violence for the second year running"

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25 Aug 02 | England
22 Aug 02 | Entertainment
24 Jul 02 | Entertainment
22 Aug 02 | Entertainment
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