Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Leeds Festival has riot before it happens

Yes, it's quite a feather in the cap of the Leeds Festival: while its reputation for sometimes ending in riot and disturbance is oft told in tale and song, this year it's managed to generate a mini-riot before anyone had bought a ticket.

HMV in York opened early to flog tickets, but the queues which started to gather were a little unruly, reports the York Press:

The area outside the HMV store in Coney Street "looked like a bombsite" after rock fans arrived in the early hours to secure their places at the Leeds Festival.

They took tables and chairs from nearby bars, as well as pub umbrellas to shelter them from the rain, before leaving them littering the street along with piles of other rubbish.

Some urinated in doorways and lanes leading to neighbouring shops, while city centre street-cleaning teams endured a torrent of abuse and had to dodge cans and plastic bottles hurled at them as they tried to tidy up - leading to police being called in to calm the situation yesterday morning.

Gennaro Castaldo - who else? - rides to try and smooth the ruffled feathers of traders and abused street sweepers:
"It was unfortunate and regrettable that a small minority of people queuing for the tickets showed a lack of consideration and respect for most of the other fans there, and also for the environment they were in," said spokesman Gennaro Castaldo.

"All we wanted to do was give real music fans a chance to buy tickets for this great event rather than missing out online or having to resort to touts. If anybody was upset or offended by the behaviour, including our immediate trading neighbours, then on behalf of HMV, I offer our most sincere apologies.

"We're also very grateful to the council and their employees for being on the case so promptly to clear up the litter - they did a great job."

You'll note that Castaldo seems to have asked if there was any way that HMV could perhaps help to cover the costs of the extra cleaning and the police being directed from their every day work - after all, the money made from flogging 200 sets of Leeds tickets must leave something in the kitty for HMV to make amends.

[Thanks to Ben H for the link and tip]