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Monday, 26 August, 2002, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Troubled festival 'will be back'
Slipknot at Reading
Slipknot played at Leeds and Reading
Leeds Festival organisers say they are determined to return next year - despite a night of arson and violence which marred the event's end.

Around 500 people went on the rampage after the festival at Temple Newsam finished, burning 71 temporary toilets and a portable building to the ground and attacking police with missiles.

Skips were set alight and electric cables were pulled down, and 200 police 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.

I just can't see it happening here next year - not after this

Local campaigner
Ron Monaghan
The company behind the festival, Mean Fiddler, said in a statement it would be back next year, despite this year's problems.

"The actions of under 1% of the crowd, whilst regrettable, should not be allowed to detract from a very successful weekend which put the Leeds Festival firmly onto the UK music map," the statement said.

"We will not give into the mindless minority and will strive to make the festival even better next year. The Leeds Festival will have a long and successful future."

Inspector Nick Dyson of West Yorkshire Police said one male officer suffered a broken nose, while two vehicles were damaged.

Perry Farrell
Festival favourite: Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction
"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. Ron Monaghan, the vice-chair of pressure group The Friends of Temple Newsam Park, said: "I just can't see it happening next year at Temple Newsam. Not after this - from what I hear these were the worst scenes yet."

But Mean Fiddler's Melvin Benn told the BBC it would be showing "a lack of Yorkshire grit" if the festival was cancelled. The company is four years into a five-year agreement to hold the festival at the site, but it still has to apply for a licence each year.


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 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.

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
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