Getting Ready for Leeds Fest With Mike Mitchell

Leeds Festival, Bramham Park, 26th – 28th August 2011

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon, at the idyllic and grandiose setting of Bramham Hall, the Lane Fox family are playing host to the Leeds Festival press conference, at this point it is hard to imagine that by the end of August they will have opened their gates (for the 9th time) to 75,000 people attending the Leeds Festival in the grounds of Bramham Park.

Fronting the press conference was event organiser Melvin Benn who brims with enthusiasm at what is about to happen and what he has already achieved with the help of a team that he so readily acknowledges.

Melvin chose to focus his attention away from the headline acts and concentrate on the up and coming bands appearing on the BBC Introducing Stage, “Leeds Festival is at the forefront of new music, these bands sum up what the festival is all about” stated Melvin.

Mike Mitchell talks to the Simon Pollard Band, who you can catch on the BBC Introducing Stage.

The Introducing Stage is making it’s 4th appearance at Leeds Festival which has given a strong platform in the past to bands such as Everything Everything, Florence and the Machine, Pulled Apart By Horses and Dinosaur Pile Up.

One local band making an appearance on the Introducing Stage will be The Mexanines who have earned the right to be there by winning a Best Live Band competition. In 2009, a new Martin House Children’s Hospice fundraising initiative was conceived which would invite all secondary schools and colleges from West Yorkshire to put forward their most aspiring acts to enter a competition which was to become known as the Centre Stage.

The aim of Centre Stage is to raise over £150,000 in 3 years for Martin House as well as give young, talented musicians the chance to live their dream and perform at Leeds Festival.

Leeds Met. Provide volunteers and stage management for the Introducing Stage and they also film the acts for the BBC website, further enhancing the opportunity for these acts to be noticed.

Leeds Festival is not all about entertaining 75,000 people with the best in musical entertainment, it’s also about giving back to the community, and since moving to Bramham Park, Leeds Festival has raised in excess of £500,000 which has gone to the two local parishes of Bramham and Thorner. This money has been distributed to many different societies such as providing a new pitch for Thorner Utd FC, a new boiler for the cubs and scouts, new toilets and lighting for the village hall, a shuttle bus for the local St. Martin’s Hospice and new boots for the roller disco (to name a few).

“It’s the north of England’s Festival with live music at it’s absolute best” claims Melvin Benn, “up and coming bands are the life blood of the music industry” he continued, and who could argue? And with the efforts of the Leeds Festival, West Yorkshire may well provide the Muse of tomorrow.

Mike Mitchell