Video: Clean-up under way as Leeds Festival 2016 crowds head home

The mass exodus from Leeds Festival began last night as festival-goers started packing up their tents and piling onto coaches.

Muddy footprints and abandoned wellies marked a trail from shuttle bus drop-off points in Leeds city centre to the railway station today.

Exhausted music fans sat slumped among bagpacks and sleeping bags, with many sleeping on the station floor while waiting for trains.

Bewildered looking passengers entered the main concourse to the sight of dozens of bedraggled youngsters, before picking their way through them to reach the station exit.

Former University of Leeds student Caitlin, 24, had travelled up from London for the festival.

“Saturday night it absolutely poured down while Foals were on the main stage, but yesterday the weather cheered up a bit,” she said.

Leeds Festival revellers return home via Leeds City Centre.  Pictures: Bruce Rollinson

Leeds Festival revellers return home via Leeds City Centre. Pictures: Bruce Rollinson

“When you were walking around, the mud was slopping in your boots. Our tent was alright – we were on top of the hill – but the tents by the edge of the paths were just decimated.”

Among those waiting to catch a train home were friends Caitlin Gardner and Phoebe Coldbeck.

Phoebe, 21, has recently moved to the UK from Australia and Leeds was her first British music festival.

“I definitely didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “Everyone said it’s wet and it gets messy, but I didn’t expect the mud at all. My shoes kept getting stuck so I just abandoned them and had to go without shoes until I bought some wellies.”

I knew 2016 was going to be a great year for Reading and Leeds.

Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic

But the downpours on Thursday and Saturday had not stopped her enjoying the experience.

She said: “It’s been really good. It’s the first time I’ve been to a three-day festival. It’s just about the right amount of time – you’re ready to go home at the end.”

A number of people took to social media to complain about queues for buses out of the site on Sunday night and this morning.

Caitlynn (@helpus_scotland) wrote: “@FirstWestYorks your Leeds fest bus shuttle service was absolutely disgusting. Queued for 3.5 hours to end up getting a taxi.”

Festival-goers marching on to the train station.

Festival-goers marching on to the train station.

Meg (@_Meeeg__) said: “Four hours waiting for a bus at Leeds Fest was ridiculous.”

Adrian Fez (@AdrianFHFC) said: “Organisation of Leeds Fest was a joke. Two hour wait for a shuttle bus and we were relatively near the front.”

Meanwhile, the clean-up operation in the station and out on the city’s streets was well under way today.

Council teams used high-pressure hoses to blast mud from the pavements in Sovereign Street and Victoria Road.

Others collected the mud-caked wellies and trainers left near bins and bus stops.

The festival drew to a close last night with the Red Hot Chili Peppers headlining the main stage.

Caitlin Gardner and Phoebe Coldbeck wait for their train at Leeds railway station.

Caitlin Gardner and Phoebe Coldbeck wait for their train at Leeds railway station.

Festival Republic, which organises the Leeds and Reading festivals, said 170,000 people had visited the two sites over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Managing director Melvin Benn said: “I knew 2016 was going to be a great year for Reading and Leeds, with five headliners over three days and sold out crowds. I’m so proud of the line-up and the fact we’re still giving fans the best music line-up.

“I was blown away by Fall Out Boy’s set and it was great having Biffy Clyro back at the festivals, closing Reading with an incredible stage production last night. Red Hot Chili Peppers delivered a set even more impressive than their previous in 2007. Disclosure co-headlined alongside Foals; a band who have risen through the Reading and Leeds ranks and proved they truly belong on the Main Stage, that performance was a long time coming.

“Thank you to everyone who made this weekend one to remember, I look forward to seeing you again in 2017.”

Weekend and Instalment tickets for next year’s festival will be on sale from tomorrow (Tuesday) at 9am, for a limited time at 2016 prices.

The clean-up operation begins in the city centre.

The clean-up operation begins in the city centre.

Festival-goers heading home after Leeds Festival drew to a close last night.

Festival-goers heading home after Leeds Festival drew to a close last night.

‘Miracle’ as danger driver hits 100mph during police chase through Leeds estate