Never again – that was the pledge today from councillors as they vowed to prevent a repeat of the muddy mayhem that followed this year’s Leeds Festival.
As reported in yesterday’s Yorkshire Evening Post, streets in the centre of Leeds became a sea of mud and dirty wellies during Monday’s mass exodus of fans from the rain-hit music festival to the city’s train station.
Now the city council’s executive member for the environment, Coun Mark Dobson, has made it clear he expects event organiser Festival Republic to meet some of the cost of the subsequent clean-up operation.
The council has also hinted that measures for stopping similar problems in the future could become part of the festival’s annual licence agreement.
One idea that has already been floated is the provision of hosing-down facilities at the exits from the festival’s Bramham Park site, near Wetherby.
Water hoses were used at a Tesco store in Seacroft to wash the wellies of fans arriving to stock up on supplies over the weekend.
Coun Dobson said: “I will be seeking an urgent conversation with partners such as Network Rail to discuss their views and also the organisers to see how they can contribute to the excess cost of the clean-up which otherwise the Leeds taxpayer will now have to pay for.”
Coun Rebecca Charlwood, chair of the council’s licensing committee, said she wanted to hold talks with Festival Republic “to prevent anything similar occurring in the future”.
Heavy rain turned parts of Bramham Park into a quagmire during the festival, which ran from Friday until Sunday.
Monday saw the main concourse of Leeds City Station carpeted with mud as out-of-town fans came straight from the site to catch their trains home.
Large numbers of unwanted wellies were also dumped in roads near the station.
Festival Republic today said that it had sent a team to the station on Monday and collected more than 200 pairs of boots before taking them back to Bramham Park.
The firm’s managing director, Melvin Benn, added: “Obviously I will be entering into discussions with Leeds City Council about any concerns that they may have regarding the festival and I look forward to having those conversations.”