Looking back at Leeds Festival: The riots of 2002

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The modern Leeds Festival is a safe and well-policed event.

Yet in the Festival's early years, it experienced rioting, violence and crowd trouble.

The first Leeds Festivals - then known as the Carling Weekends - took place in the grounds of Temple Newsam House, on a site that many believed to be too small and unsuitable for hosting such large numbers of people.

The situation came to a head in 2002, when up to 500 music fans rioted on the Monday in the year that Guns n' Roses graced the stage.

The rampage saw toilet blocks destroyed and skips set on fire, and hundreds of police officers had to be called in to contain the crowds.

A policeman had his nose broken when missiles were thrown during what was described at the time as 'determined and sustained' violence, while electric cables were also pulled down.

The 2002 attendance was around 50,000 people, and the event was only given the go-ahead weeks before, when a licence application was granted despite concerns over crowd control in previous years.

The violent scenes led to the decision by festival organisers to move the event after four years at Temple Newsam. From 2003, it was held at the current Bramham site, near Wetherby, where there is capacity for over 75,000 fans. Security has been increased and there has been a huge reduction in the number of crowd incidents.

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