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Aug 30, 2011

REVIEW: Leeds Festival hailed 'best yet'

This year's Leeds and Reading festivals have been the best yet despite challenging weather conditions, the festival director has said.

Speaking at the Leeds site on Sunday afternoon, Melvin Benn said bands and fans had coped admirably with the torrential rain that hit the Bramham Park site on Friday, as well as its sister festival in Reading this weekend.

"Here in Leeds we've had probably the worst weather we've ever had on a show day thrown at us on Friday," he said. "Nobody batted an eyelid, the bands didn't care, the festival didn't care, the fans didn't care, we just carried on really."

But 70,000 fans at the festival for the weekend, as well as the extra 3,000 to 4,000 day ticket holders, did not seem to mind the weather.

Mr Benn said: "It has been a challenge...but we're able to respond to just about any challenge that's thrown at us and the resilience of the audience really is just heartening for anybody and everybody.They want to enjoy the festival - a bit of a rain is not going to spoil it."

Despite the damp days, Mr Benn said this festival had been his best yet. "Without doubt this is my favourite year," he said. "Without doubt next year will be my favourite year - that is how I work."

Clean up of the West Yorkshire site will begin in the next few days and go on into September, he said, when workers would start turning the soil.

Staff will revisit the park in December when all the leaves have gone from trees and bushes to get the final pieces of litter, and extensive reseeding would take place to try to replenish the fields that have been churned up with so many people walking over them.

On Saturday night large crowds were drawn to the main stage by headline act My Chemical Romance, while Noah and the Whale had a tent full of fans and the Radio 1 NME stage singing along in unison to many of their songs.

Pulp headlined the festival on Sunday with The Strokes taking to the stage just before them, having headlined Reading the night before.


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