What does this Leeds Festival crowd do for you?

PAGE ONE PIC -'Crowds go wild at the Leeds Festival, Bramham Park. .  26th August 2007
PAGE ONE PIC -'Crowds go wild at the Leeds Festival, Bramham Park. . 26th August 2007

WETHERBY’S police chief says he is confident this year’s bigger Leeds Festival will not cause problems for residents despite thousands more music fans pouring into the area.

The crowd capacity at the festival has been increased by 5,000 to 75,000 for the event, which will be held at Bramham Park for the eighth year.

And Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic also, says organisers have signed a 15-year agreement this year to keep the festival on the Bramham Park site.

He is confident the event will be another sell-out.

Chief Inspector Marcus Griffiths, of Wetherby Police, said: “We have now had several meetings with Festival Republic and the local authorities and we are quite happy and satisfied with the process in plan. The number of security staff at the festival will increase proportionally with the capacity and we feel we can easily absorb the extra 5,000.”

Melvin Benn, Managing Director of Festival Republic, has said he wants to continue investing time and money into the nearby villages of Thorner and Bramham.

The Bramham Community fund, which was set up in 2003, aims to benefit the community of Bramham and has received more than £160,000 since it started.

He said: “Every year the festival brings business to the community in terms of bars, clubs, pubs and shops. We invest a lot of time and money into the communities of Thorner and Bramham by working closely with the residents and the parish councils to ensure that if there are any problems they are delt with quickly and that they don’t arise again.”

Bramham residents who want to go to the festival can buy a discounted ticket for around £40, a big saving on the £180 price. The money will go into the Bramham Community Fund.

Nick Lane Fox, owner of the Bramham Park site, said: “Over the years the Bramham Community Fund has helped in a number of ways to help the community of Bramham and has put considerable time, money and resources into helping the communities of Bramham.”

Colin Pool, a clerk at Bramham Parish Council, said: “Since the project was set up the money has contributed to several projects around the village here and has benefited the local community.”

Mr Pool said the money had been spent on a number of projects, the current project being to add a pavilion to the Bramham Sports and Leisure Centre. Refurbishments have also been made to Bramham Village Hall.

A similar scheme is set up in Thorner, with money raised to help pay for a new football pitch for Thorner Utd FC as well as a new boiler for a Cub and Scout hut in the village.

The Thorner Comedy festival has also received grants from the Thorner Community Fund which has helped to make refurbishments to the Victory Hall over the last five years.

Steven Wood, who is involved in organising the comedy festival which took place in February this year, said: “The Leeds festival and Melvin Benn, who has organised this have helped us immensely over the years. The big name acts we have booked at the festival would not be possible without Melvin’s support and help.” Previous acts at the Thorner Comedy Festival include comedy star Michael Mcintyre and Alan Carr.

Mr Benn has said he is determined to continue to tackle traffic problems this year at the festival. He said: “Traffic problems at the Leeds festival have improved massively in the last two years and I am confident they will improve again this year.”

The festival, which takes place over August bank holiday weekend between Friday 26 and Sunday 28, will have Sheffield rock band Pulp, led by frontman Jarvis Cocker, as the headline act, as well as The Strokes.

Other acts this year will include Muse, My Chemical Romance and Madness.