Melvin Benn talks exclusively to eFestivals

Reading & Leeds Festival Republic boss

published: Wed 23rd Mar 2011

Melvin Benn

Friday 27th to Sunday 29th August 2010
Little Johns Farm, Richfield Avenue, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 8EQ, England MAP
£180 for a weekend ticket
daily capacity: 87000
last updated: Thu 26th Aug 2010

eFestivals got to talk to festival organiser Melvin Benn at at Leeds Cockpit during the launch of this year's Reading and Leeds Festivals, here's what the Festival Republic boss had to say.

Melvin Benn
Are there any more surprises to be anounced?
Probably not surprises but some key anouncements to make, certainly at Leeds & Reading we start with the headliners because we are trying to create a cohesive bill, then we work from there. There will be more anouncements to make but surprises I dont think so.

Are there any major changes to the sites this year?
At the Leeds site last year we made the big change with the main stage positioning, the year before we changed the traffic lay out, which has worked succesfully. At Leeds we have a licence change with capacity increasing from 70,000 to 75,000. At Reading a couple of big changes, an expansion of the second stage which is possibly double the size of last year. Still in a tent & position as last year but bigger. Also changes to the main stage right area, where we got a little of congestion around the toilet area, particularly when Dizzee Rascal played.

Are there any new rules for this year's festivals which festival goers should be aware of?
No not especially, we are very much in maintaining the position of no gas cylinders & none of those little (Nos) silver gas canisters.

Will the multi agency tout vehicle be making an appearance this year?
The Multi Agency Response Vehicle or MARV as it is known, that will be making a return this year, I thought it worked fantastically well last year, it protected a lot of innocent people from buying dodgy tickets.

Sticking with Reading, what's the current situation with managing the problems in the campsites for next year?
The Multi Agency Response Vehicle or MARV as it is known, that will be making a return this year, I thought it worked fantastically well last year, it protected a lot of innocent people from buying dodgy tickets.

Are any of this years acts exclusive to Leeds & Reading?
All of the headliners are exclusive, absolutely. Muse will play only two dates in Europe in 2011, which is of course Leeds & Reading Festival. No other European dates. Pulp are making their only northern England appearance. The Strokes are exclusive festival dates, My Chemical Romance exclusive festival dates. Bring Me The Horizon (think he means Taking Back Sunday) with the original line up never been seen here before and neither have Jane's Addiction.

Are you looking to implement any other changes to either event next year?
No, I don't think so.

Have you done anything differently to prevent ticket fraud?
Interestingly enough we have been working closely to the government & with the authorities. The government this year are really keen on ticket fraud, because it is the government who are selling tickets for the Olympics, they obviously don't want to get caught by touts which is fantastic because we are benefitting from that in the way they are getting a greater insight into the ticket industry, there is no question about it.

The police are beginning to realise that the ticket fraudsters are actually part of a greater criminal grouping & so there is no doubt that the authoritiues are on to it, however that said I do feel there is an increase in fraudulent sites which means the only safe places to buy tickets for the festival are the official festival sites leedsfestival.com, readingfestival.com, festvialrepublic.com outside of those sites then there are the official ticket sites like Seetickets & Ticketmaster.

Where do you stand on toutss shouldn't be allowed to make more than 10% on the face value of tickets?
Well my own view is that the resale opportunities shouldn't be more than 15% there will always be a need & desire to sell on your ticket. Suddenly your wife gets pregnant, you get pregnant, you fall in love with someone different, you wanted to go with someone different who can no longer, so there will always be that resale factor. So to limit that percentage by which the ticket can be resold, when you do that you take away the illegal sites & profiteering that goes on. It works well in Queensland Australia, it works well in New York City, there are examples of it where it works particularly well. What we need to do is make a clear defined policy which makes other trading illegal & states how much tickets can be resold for.

The twin festivals take place on the bank holiday weekend, from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th August. Reading Festival takes place at Little Johns Farm, Richfield Avenue, Reading, Berkshire, and Leeds Festival takes place at Bramham Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire.

The festivals will feature a full line-up of over 150 acts over the weekend on six stages. For the line-up details, stage splits, and rumours where available, please click here for Reading and here for Leeds.

Many more names are still to be announced as well as the full line-up for the Lock-Up Stage, Dance Stage, Festival Republic Stage, BBC Introducing Stage and the Alternative Stage.

General sale tickets are now on sale, and are expected to sell rapidly. A weekend ticket is priced at £192.50, day tickets are priced at £82.50. An early entry (Thursday) ticket is priced at £15, lockers are priced at £15, and a campervan pass is priced at £40. Over 18's wristband will be optional, but allow those that look young to not have to carry ID around all the time.

To buy tickets for Reading from Seetickets - click here.

To buy tickets for Leeds from Seetickets - click here.
interview by: Gary Stafford

Friday 27th to Sunday 29th August 2010
Little Johns Farm, Richfield Avenue, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 8EQ, England MAP
£180 for a weekend ticket
daily capacity: 87000
last updated: Thu 26th Aug 2010


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