Tiny riot at Download Festival

Since Mean Fiddler stepped up security at the Leeds bit of their Carling
Weekend, the festival season has lacked a good riot, so presumably it was
with that in mind that a handful of Download festival-goers went on a
mini-rampage on Sunday night as the rock weekender reached a close. About 12
people were detained by police after trouble broke out. Police were called
to the site following reports of fires being started, and when they arrived
they were set upon by a barrage of “missiles” (bottles and things, I’m
guessing – I’m assuming no cruise missiles were involved here). Police say
that some of those detained might face charges of assault or criminal
damage, and to that end they appealed for anyone who caught the incident on
their mobile phones to hand over pictures or video footage.

It’s not entirely clear what kicked off the violence, though it’s possible
the rioting minority were annoyed at just how well behaved most of the rest
of the 75,000 people at the event had been. In fact, prior to the mini-riot,
police had commended Download-goers for their good behaviour – with only
four arrests having been made at that point. And even headliners Guns n
Roses seemed to participate in the good mood of the proceedings with Axl
Rose et al being joined on stage by former and somewhat estranged bandmate
Izzy Stradlin – who, for the second time in a month, joined the new Guns n
Roses line up to play guitar on three songs. Of course, I say Rose was
entering into the general good mood of the festival – that didn’t stop him
storming off stage on several occasions – but who’d want to watch a Guns n
Roses gig without some drama queen antics from the frontman? (Unless, of
course, yesterday’s gossip about Axl was true and he was going off stage for
an oxygen top up – in which case presumably he was more wheezing off stage
than storming).

Anyway, back to the mini-riot. Commenting on the incident, Festival Director
Stuart Galbraith told reporters yesterday: “There were 75,000 people per day
at the event, and up until last night, there had been no major incidents
over the weekend. The trouble involved a small number of otherwise fantastic
customers who attended this massively successful event. This type of trouble
is very rare and is completely out of character for Download fans.”

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