Metallica Rock Leeds Gently

Sun shines on British festival after trouble a year ago

August 25, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Marred by fiery riots a year ago, the Leeds leg of Britain's Carling Weekend made a sold-out, subdued and sunny return this weekend.

Metallica, Linkin Park, Staind, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, AFI, the Polyphonic Spree, Hot Hot Heat, Good Charlotte, Sum 41, the Libertines, Blink-182, the Cooper Temple Clause, Death in Vegas, the Streets and many others played the open-air arena and three tents at the festival's new site, Bramham Park.

Fifty thousand people were on hand each of the weekend's three days, but police reported that only twenty-seven arrests were made this year -- in contrast to the chaos that ended last year's festival at Temple Newsam, when revelers rioted, sending nearly 100 portable toilets and several food wagons up in flames.

The weekend did get off to an ominous start Friday, when three minutes into System of Down's first song, the crowd surged forward into the barriers at the front. System's guitarist Daron Malakian quickly stopped the set to restore order. Twenty-two injured were taken away -- three went to the hospital but were soon discharged.

After that, everything went right, even the weather -- unusual for the perpetually rainy location in the North of England.

Metallica's two-hour set Friday was the weekend's highlight. The barrage of hits, set to fireworks and pyrotechnics, included "Master of Puppets," "St. Anger" and "Nothing Else Matters."

On Saturday, Blink-182 added two new songs from their upcoming album to their solid set. And Staind's Aaron Lewis made an appearance during headliners Linkin Park's set, joining Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda on vocals for "Feint."

Beck shined on Leeds' final day with a set chock full of his greatest hits. The weekend closed with a set from Blur.

"This was a marvelous weekend," promoter Melvyn Benn said. "Credit must go to the fans. They decided to prove the doubters wrong."

The Leeds festival will return to Bramham Park next year.

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