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10:59 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 11:59 UK

Leeds Festival line up history

Leeds Festival line-up poster

The history of the Leeds Festival starts in 1999 with headliners for the first festival, at a site in the grounds of Temple Newsam, including Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Blur.

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.

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

In pictures: Leeds Festival through the years

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

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.

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."

Sunglasses on a stall

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.

Urn replacement

Festival Headliners

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 site'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.

Wallowing in mud

"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

Now firmly established in its place in the UK's summer festival merry-go-round Leeds 2010 will look forward to welcoming around 70,000 revellers as usual. Weekend tickets, with camping included, cost £180 and all sold out within a short time of going on sale.

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

The big story for 2010 is The Libertines will reform to play alongside headliners Guns 'n' Roses, Arcade Fire and blink-182. The four original members of the London band, including Peter Doherty, last appeared on stage together in 2004.

Libertines play Reading and Leeds

In Pictures: Leeds Festival through the years

Your festival memories

If you have a festival memory to share, email

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West Yorkshire's Raw Talent (12 Oct 09 |  TV & Radio )
Reading Festival musical history (29 Mar 10 |  Arts & Culture )

BBC Leeds: Leeds Festival 2009
Kate: Live from Leeds
Leeds Festival 2010
Bramham Park

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