Leeds Festival security has been increased ‘dramatically’

Have your say

Leeds Festival boss Melvin Benn today reassured music lovers that this year’s event will be the safest ever - after working closely with police anti-terrorist experts to “dramatically” increase security.

It follows the recent spate of terrorist attacks, not least of all the suicide bombing which killed 22 people and injured more than 100 others at American singer Ariana Grande’s Manchester Arena gig.

But while bag searches may take a little longer, festival-goers should get on site faster after an investment in extra training, resources and bigger entry lanes, he said.

The biggest change will be allowing only A4-sized bags into the main arena itself - which is now common practice at most concert venues.

Backstage security will also be tighter than ever with sniffer dogs used on production vehicles at the venue in Bramham Park.

The measures apply to his Leeds and Reading double header festivals - both on August 25 to 27 - where this year’s big names include Eminem, Kasabian, Muse and ex-Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher.

For tickets, updates, safety information and more visit www.leedsfestival.com

Melvin, managing director of Festival Republic, produced the One Love Manchester benefit concert which raised over £10m in response to the attack - bringing together artists including Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Take That.

He said they have learned an enormous amount about improving security at that and other events.

There has also been a swift culture change in concert-goers embracing new measures, including reducing what they take into events to speed up entry queues, he said.

“We are providing an environment that is as safe as is possible,” he said.

“Trust me, we are working with terrorism experts in West Yorkshire Police, Thames Valley Police and up and down the country.

“Our security provision has gone up very dramatically. We are investing in a huge amount of extra training and resources in order to provide that reassurance. In the main there won’t be much more additional delay. We will put extra resource in to make the lanes bigger and people will be able to come through faster.”

He added: ”The big change really will be in terms of the arena - we will only be allowing in bags the size of an A4 sheet of paper. That will allow people to bring a rain mac or a bottle of water, or a sandwich.

“There will be sniffer dogs used on production vehicles coming in.

“What we are doing, very rapidly, is changing the culture and people are embracing it.

“We are in a changed world. But we’re not giving in to any of these threats or demands or anything like that, we are just working through it.”