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Leeds Festival line up and history through the years
Leeds Festival line-up poster
It started here with the 1999 line-up

BBC Leeds takes a look back into the headliner history at the Leeds (and Reading) festival.

The first festival, at a site in the grounds of Temple Newsam, including Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Blur was in 1999.

The event is 'twinned' with the Reading Festival so that the same line-up appearing at both venues over three days.

The Reading festival dates back to 1971 as a National Jazz and Blues Festival.

For 2011 Muse, My Chemical Romance and The Strokes have been confirmed as the headliners.

Musical fireworks

A weekend ticket would have cost you £80 for that initial 1999 Leeds event.

Unfortunately, the early years of the festival in Leeds were often as notable for controversy as for the musical fireworks.

For instance in 2001, with Eminem's appearance taking most of the musical headlines, police were pelted with stones and other missiles when violence erupted at the end of the festival.

A group went on a rampage of what the police called "mindless violence and damage" in the campsite.

Leeds Festival ablaze in 2001
Part of the Temple Newsam site ablaze in 2001

More trouble followed next year, Kate Skelton (then a student in Leeds) said "a nasty combination of alcohol-fuelled mob mentality and a few cigarette lighters led to the burning of toilet blocks and vandalism on a massive scale."

So it was under a bit of a cloud that Leeds Festival moved to its current home, in Bramham Park, for the 2003 event. Acts appearing that year included Metallica, Linkin Park, and White Stripes.

Melvin Benn, managing director of promoter Mean Fiddler, tried to reassure local residents over the switch.

Fresh start

Sunglasses on a stall
Whatever the weather. Sometimes shades... sometimes wellies.

He said: "Moving to Bramham has given us an opportunity to have a fresh start and has given us an opportunity to try new things.

"It was the right time to move."

The new site of the festival was originally opposed by the Parish Council of nearby Thorner.

However, despite a few teething problems and heavy traffic volumes on the nearby A1 and A64, the festival has seemed to find a calmer home and the extra income generated by the event has been a boon for the Bramham estate.

Festival Headliners
99: Charlatans, Blur, Red Hot Chilli Peppers
00: Oasis, Pulp, Stereophonics
01: Travis, Manic Street Preachers, Eminem
02: The Strokes, Foo Fighters, Guns 'n' Roses
03: Linkin Park, Blur, Metallica
04: The Darkness, The White Stripes,Green Day
05: Pixies, Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden
06: Franz Ferdinand, Muse, Pearl Jam
07: Razorlight, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Smashing Pumpkins
08: Rage Against the Machine, The Killers, Metallica
09: Kings of Leon, Artic Monkeys, Radiohead
10: Arcade Fire, blink-182, Guns 'n' Roses

Speaking in 2009 Nick Lane Fox, the estate's owner (who admitted that he had never actually been to a festival before one moved to his home) told Look North.

"The estate was just about breaking even when the festival came along and gave us an extra income. We could actually then plan in a formal way."

The first improvement was to turn arable land around the estate back into grassland, buildings have been restored, culverts dug and an urn replacement project is planned!

BBC Leeds website has been at every Leeds Festival and Layla Painter has been the website's reporter for six of those years. What have been her festival highlights?

Layla says: "In 2006, the first time Kaiser Chiefs headlined the main stage to roars of 'Leeds, Leeds, Leeds', it was the local lads made really good and the crowd loved it.

"And also I remember watching the action on the first ever unsigned stage when the Raw Talent show was able to highlight the great unsigned bands in Yorkshire.

Wearing Wellies

"And what would a festival be like without grumbles about the weather? One year it rained so heavily it seemed everyone was wearing wellies and wallowing in the mud."

Leeds Festival crowd
Leeds - there's nowhere better to be

Now firmly established in its place in the UK's summer festival merry-go-round Leeds 2011 will look forward to welcoming around 70,000 revellers as usual.

Giving a helping hand to new bands on the unsigned stage, now part of BBC Introducing , is also an integral part of Leeds Festival with its multi-stage music making.

BBC Introducing at Leeds Festival
30 Jul 10 |  Things to do
Time-worn stone gets rock revival
26 Aug 09 |  England
West Yorkshire's Raw Talent
12 Oct 09 |  TV & Radio
Reading Festival musical history
29 Mar 10 |  Arts & Culture



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