THOUSANDS more music fans are expected to pour into the Wetherby area this year as Leeds Festival bosses raise the crowd capacity to just under 80,000.
The Leeds festival, held annually on August bank holiday, is expected to see an extra 5,000 festival-goers visit Bramham Park for one of the UK’s biggest music festivals.
The decision was revealed in a report compiled for Leeds City Council’s licensing committee this month by the event organiser, Festival Republic.
Until last summer the maximum number of music fans allowed was capped at 69,999. As previously reported by the Wetherby News, the capacity for 2011 was increased to 74,999.
The council report says: “Consultation with the responsible authorities suggests that there would be no objection to the proposed capacity provided that the site facilities and supporting infrastructures were adequate to support this.”
Festival Republic have stressed, however, that it will only press ahead with plans for the higher crowd limit if ticket sales indicate there is sufficient demand for such a step.
Now, Inspector Paul Dwyer, of Wetherby Police, has told the News that officers will be able to easily absorb the extra crowds.
He said: “West Yorkshire Police continue to work closely with Festival Republic, Leeds City Council and other agencies to provide an emergency contingency function as well as advice and support to traffic management.
“This year’s planning is at an early stage but the aim of the police will continue to be to support a safe and enjoyable event with minimal impact on the surrounding communities and those who are not attending the event.
“West Yorkshire Police are aware of the increased capacity this year and policing provisions will cater for that.”
Chairman of Thorner Parish Council, Tom Mycock, said Thorner had benefited in many ways from the Leeds Festival.
He told the Wetherby News: “My personal opinion is that it has helped the village. Melvin Benn has done a great deal for the community here, as well as money going to the community fund.
“We have had very few, if any complaints about the festival. I think last year I heard the noise once for about half an hour in total.”
In Bramham, a similar scheme was set up to Thorner with a Bramham Community Fund, it aims to benefit the community of Bramham and has received more than £160,000 in grants since it started in 2003.
Last year the Wetherby News reported crime at the Leeds Festival fell by about 13 per cent compared with last year’s event, Police said 107 incidents had been reported, compared to 123 in 2010.
The majority of those crimes were related to thefts from unoccupied tents.
On Wednesday, managing director of Festival Republic, Melvin Benn, hosted a conference which focused on combating crime at British music festivals.
Mr Benn chaired the event alongside chief superintendent of West Yorkshire Police, Andy Battle.
An announcement of this year’s line-up will be made on Monday March 12.
Rumoured bands to be playing at this year’s festival include Foo Fighters, Kasabian and Green Day. Tickets will also go on sale the same day.
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