Leeds Festival boss thanks community

27th July 2011. Melvin Benn talks about the lineup for the BBC Introducing Stage at the Leeds Festival at Bramham Park.
27th July 2011. Melvin Benn talks about the lineup for the BBC Introducing Stage at the Leeds Festival at Bramham Park.

THE boss behind Leeds Festival says it has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to organisations in the Wetherby area since the event moved to Bramham Park eight years ago.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday to launch this year’s three-day event, which takes place on the August Bank Holiday weekend, Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn thanked the community for its continuing support and said the festival had allowed more than £500,000 to be donated to clubs and organisations in the area.

He said: “Over £500,000 has gone into local villages that have helped all sorts of causes – the football clubs, the cricket clubs, the bowling clubs, the pensioners, computer clubs and all sorts of little things that really have benefited.”

Pointing to the close community ties between the festival and local organisations, Mr Benn added: “Bramham Football Club actually run the five-a-side football pitch at the festival. It’s probably harder organising and picking teams from 30,000 lads that all want to play football than it is to organise the entire festival. It is really good that they continue to do that.”

He also thanked land owners Nick and Rachel Lane Fox for their continued help throughout the years.

“Their hospitality has probably played host to six to seven hundred thousand people and that’s a lot of people to welcome but they do it absolutely every year with open arms,” he said.

This year, donations in Thorner have funded a new pitch for the football club, brand new toilets for the village hall and a new carpet for the old people’s home.

In Clifford money went to the upkeep of the village hall and the local Brownies and Guides group among others.

And in Scarcroft money raised from ticket sales has gone towards maintaining the village hall. Funding was used to renew the old suspended ceiling tiles and redecorate the main hall areas while a new kitchen is planned for next year.

Coun Paul Thompson, of Scarcroft Parish Council, said the money received from the festival was vital to the upkeep of the hall.

“It has enabled us to do jobs on the hall we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford,” he said.

l The Leeds Music Festival runs from August 26-28 and among the popular bands set to appear are Muse, My Chemical Romance, The Strokes and Pulp.

andrew.groves@ypn.co.uk