Dance music festival set to send Wetherby into a spin

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Ten thousand dance music fans are set to descend on Leeds after council chiefs granted permission for a major festival - a year after the organisers were forced to abandon the city.

The Mint Festival will be held at Wetherby Racecourse over two days during the weekend of September 19 and 20, with the arena open for four days in total, and camping on the site.

Last year, organisers were forced to move the one-day festival to Lincolnshire after the event outgrew its Lotherton Hall base - and negotiations with Leeds City Council about other venues were fruitless. But now a panel of licensing chiefs has given the go-ahead for the massive dance party, and it looks set to become an annual highlight of the city’s musical calendar.

Permission was given despite objections from local people and reservations from the police.

Local councillor John Procter said in a letter to the decision-making panel: “Given the fact there are 10,000 plus people expected for what is a dance music festival, I am concerned there are likely to be problems with possible crime, noise nuisance, public disorder for local people, and problems accessing the site, particularly as public transport is not the best.”

A statement on Mint Festival’s facebook page, referring to last year’s one-day event, said: “After an unsuccessful attempt to secure Temple Newsam we formed the opinion that Leeds City Council were not willing to support MINT Festival, at this time, either there or at any other viable Leeds venues. Many meetings and calls followed but for reasons we still find hard to understand the council confirmed this was their position.”

Last year’s event had to be moved twice, from Leeds to Ripon, and then to the Lincolnshire Showground. The organisers said they had “a stark choice - cancel the whole event...or begin the search again for another venue – which could not be in Leeds”.

A report to yesterday’s licensing panel meeting said the arena would be open from 10am to 11pm on both days and the licence would be “held on an annual basis to cover a four day period to facilitate one event...on the third weekend of September each year”.

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