Decision looms over future of Leeds's Mint Festival

Plans to hold a music festival in east Leeds are set to be decided by Leeds licensing chiefs at a meeting next week.
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Organisers of the Mint Festival – one of Yorkshire’s biggest electronic music events – want permission to hold the event at Newsam Green Farm off Pontefract Lane.

As part of the application, organisers want permission to sell alcohol from noon-2am on the Friday and 10am-2am on the Saturday – the performance of live music has the same timings. It also asks for a capacity on the site of up to 19,999 people.

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While no date has been set on the application, it asks for one four-day weekend event per year.

The Mint festival wants permission to take place at a farm in East Leeds.The Mint festival wants permission to take place at a farm in East Leeds.
The Mint festival wants permission to take place at a farm in East Leeds.

Dozens of locals have objected to the event, claiming it could cause disorder and misbehaviour, but organisers say they will work with “reputable” security team and ban drugs and under 18s from the event.

Last year’s Mint Festival took place at RAF Church Fenton, and featured renowned tech house DJs such as MK, Seth Troxler and Patrick Topping.

Local councillor Mark Dobson (Ind) claimed the availability of drugs, as well as the noise and disruption, would be a burden to those living in the area.

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In a letter, published on Leeds City Council’s website, he added: “I am of the belief, as has happened previously, that minors will be attending the event with access to alcohol and drugs. As such, I believe there is potential for harm to children. In addition, of course, there is also potential harm and disruption from the associated noise and chaos caused to the children living, and be in school, in the surrounding area.

“When the previous event has been held in Leeds there has been a huge amount of public disruption a nuisance including noise, littering, antisocial behaviour and a general deterioration in the area for the period of the event. Public nuisance, therefore cannot be overstated in this case.

“I also believe there is a risk to public safety of the misuse of drugs and alcohol.”

Another letter from a nearby resident read: “The opening of a large musical festival, with further potential for subsequent growth, intending to play loud music for four days per year until the hour of 2am within a few miles of upwards of 26,000 people, many retired, is obviously a colossally poor idea and cannot possibly expect to receive local support, given that the communities in closest proximity are not heavily dependent on commerce and do not stand to gain whatsoever by said proposition.”

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According to an operating schedule submitted by the organisers, Mint Festival Limited, attendees will not be allowed to bring their own alcohol on site, while the organiser would ensure a “reputable security provider” would be used.

It added: “Appropriate crowd management, search and refusal/ejection policies will be in place from the start of the admissions procedure to prevent under 18’s gaining access to the site and also smuggling in of drugs, weapons and other prohibited articles, a list of which can be found in the Event Management Plan.

“An Event Safety Co-ordinator will be appointed who shall be of sufficient competence, status and authority effectively to take responsibility for safety at the event and be able to authorise and supervise safety measures.

“Comprehensive and detailed colour plans shall be supplied with the Event Management Plan to all responsible authorities.”

Leeds City Council will meet on Tuesday, December 8 to discuss the plans.