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Last Updated: Friday, 16 May, 2003, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Festival switches venue
Audience at Leeds festival
More than 50,000 tickets are expected to be sold
The organisers of Leeds Festival have decided to switch the event to Bramham Park, it has been announced.

The troubled event was expected to go ahead at its usual site in Temple Newsam after councillors granted permission on Wednesday.

Promoter Mean Fiddler had promised the council improved security, a total ban on bottles and special non-combustible toilets for the site.

Last year's festival was marred by the toilet blocks being set on fire, which forced Mean Fiddler to look for an alternative venue amid protests from Temple Newsam residents.

Bramham Park, which is situated to the north-east of the city, near Wetherby, was granted a licence on Tuesday.

Mean Fiddler managing director Melvin Benn said he decided to switch to the back-up site to safeguard the long-term future of the event.

Toilet blocks engulfed in flames at Leeds Festival
The toilet blocks fell prey to arsonists at last year's event

"There is an assured future for the use of the land at Bramham that the investment in infrastructure justifies," he said.

And Mr Benn, who deliberated for 24 hours over his choice of venue, said Bramham Park fulfilled all the criteria.

He added: "It offers the most beautiful of locations, is owned and managed by people aware of the difficulties the event has had - but committed to help eradicating them - is slightly further removed from local residents, and is in Leeds."

"I am very much looking forward to a fantastic event now."

West Yorkshire Police had objected to licences for both sites over fears the event could not be policed safely.

Safety concerns

More than 40 people were injured and damage estimated at 250,000 was caused during the violence at last year's festival.

A police spokeswoman said: "We have objected to the applications discussed at both hearings."

"We still have serious concerns about public safety and will now consider our options."

She confirmed their concerns were based on the violent scenes seen at previous Leeds Festivals.

Around 50,000 tickets are expected to be sold for the three-day event, which takes place on the August bank holiday weekend, bringing with it 6m to the local economy.

Blur, Metallica and Linkin Park are among the bands booked to appear.




SEE ALSO:
Festival site given green light
13 May 03  |  West Yorkshire
Blur and Metallica head festivals
07 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
New venue plan for festival
20 Feb 03  |  England
Sentences over festival violence
19 Feb 03  |  England
Troubled festival 'will be back'
26 Aug 02  |  Entertainment


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