Leeds is a hub for diverse, fun and pioneering cultural events throughout the year, not just through the joys of our own Leeds International Festival in April and May!
Below, we’ve highlighted some great upcoming events in Leeds that we’re excited about watching, visiting and partaking in.
The Digital Festival celebrates Leeds as the digital capital of the North. From 20th April – 1st May 2020, this open-platform event will showcase ideas as diverse as cyber security and start ups, user experience and gaming. Last year’s festival saw 25,000 attendees, 240 events, 750 speakers and 96 venues, so keep an eye on #LeedsDigi20 for digital events that capture your imagination that may be coming to a venue near you.
Commissioning and presenting live, interactive art works from both UK and international artists, Compass festival is hosted at locations all across Leeds, from cultural venues and civic buildings to local businesses and even out on the city’s streets. Compass Festival is characterised by works that explore commonality, community building, place-making and individual experience. This isn’t the sort of art that anyone might find exclusionary; Compass focuses on projects that can occur in unusual or ‘hidden’ spaces throughout the city, and eschews art that only ‘works’ in an art gallery setting. This biennial festival brought 13,000 people together for 2018, with 13 interactive art projects unlocking both new spaces and new ideas, right across Leeds. The 2020 Open Call closes on 8th November, so follow them @CompassFestLDS to be in-the-know as 2020 announcements unfold imminently.
This began on 6th November, and will run until Thursday 21st November 2019. The epic programme for this year’s festival includes more than 300 screenings and events across this 16 day period. Whittled down from over 5000 films submitted from 111 countries, the LIFF 2019 programme allows access to some of the amazing cinematography coming from all sorts of different countries and cultures globally. The LIFF 2019 programme is presented in 5 major sections, under titles Fanomenon, Cinema Versa, Leeds Short Film Awards, Mother Cutter and Official Selection, so take a look at the site to work out which films in which sections are going to be screening the kind of films that might make your year.
The proper way to mark the beginnings of the festive season, the Christmas Lights Switch On truly gets the Christmas party started. Happening on the evening of Thursday 7th November, it’s the first day that Leeds truly has to admit that Christmas is just around the corner! This year, Leeds United players will come down to help flip that switch, decorating the streets of Leeds with bursts of colour, sparkling lightbursts and festive cheer. Hosted by Radio Aire Breakfast presenters Caroline and Ant, the evening will also have live music performances from Rak-SU, G4 and Katherine Picar – so get down early to secure yourself a decent spot for a real bit of festive fanfare!
Outside Leeds Art Gallery, The Headrow, 7th November
Opening on Friday 8th November, the Christkindelmarkt will be bringing that European Christmas spirit us Brits crave to central Leeds for over a month, shutting up shop on Saturday 21st December. Transforming Millenium Square once again into a continental festive wonderland of wooden chalets, German delicacies and Christmas gifts, get yourself there for a nice warming mug of mulled wine whilst you browse the gifty goodies, or head for Alpine eatery the Kuh Stall or the Ski Hutte bar to get out of that chilly winter air and into the atmosphere of raucous entertainment within!
Leeds Christmas Tree Trail || #LeedsChristmas
Held 13-16th November at Leeds Playhouse, Furnace Festival is an annual celebration of the exciting new projects the Playhouse have been cooking up all year long with new talent. Four days of festival celebrates new work, artists and partnerships that have developed over the course of the year, from new musicals to developing plays, as well as opening up an events programme of skills workshops, social events and conversations. All events are free, or pay what you can, too, making sure that anybody and everybody can access the exciting, developing drama coming out of this great city.