LIFI23 A Resounding Success in Shaping Minds and Igniting Conversations

Words by Martin Dickson
From LeedsBID

As the sun sets over our vibrant city of Leeds for another year, the echoes of our festival’s many conversations and creative energy, which brought the most successful festival to date, linger in the air. This year’s festival was an extraordinary celebration of diverse thoughts, unique perspectives, and a melting pot of ideas. With an impressive lineup of 11 events, 6 fireside chats, 5 panels, and a stellar cast of 39 speakers, #LIFI23 left an indelible mark on the city’s cultural landscape. Thank you to everyone who came. We really appreciate your support and for joining the LIFI conversation.

Headline Stats:

1 Venue, 11 Events, 6 Fireside Chats, 5 Panels, 39 Speakers, 5,000+ Audience Members

The festival buzzed with energy at our brand-new venue Leeds Playhouse, where the audience was treated to a whirlwind of thought-provoking discussions, engaging panels, and fireside chats that enlightened and inspired them. The collective audience enthusiasm reached a staggering 5,000+, demonstrating the festival’s growing impact and influence, in addition to bringing many people to the Leeds Playhouse for the first time and realising what a wonderful venue it is in the heart of the city.

What the Audience Said:

More than just numbers, the heartbeat of the festival lies in the experiences and sentiments shared by the people who came to witness it. The festival is for the city, for the people of Leeds to drive conversation about important social issues we are all discussing at home and at work, and through bringing that volume to create a louder voice, project the energy and strength of the city and bring real tangible difference, making a positive change to our community and wider society, because someone needs to!!

According to the post-festival survey, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive:

Pride in the City:

Over 80% of attendees expressed pride in having LIFI in their city, attesting to the festival’s importance in shaping Leeds as a hub for intellectual discourse and innovative thinking.

LIFI as the Catalyst:

An impressive 85% revealed that LIFI was the primary reason they visited Leeds, emphasising the festival’s draw as a cultural and intellectual magnet.

Diversity of Engagement:

Close to half of the attendees (43%) demonstrated their enthusiasm by attending more than one event, showcasing the festival’s ability to cater to a broad range of interests.

Exceptional Experience:

A staggering 99% of respondents reported having a very good or good experience at LIFI 2023, a testament to the festival’s commitment to providing a seamless and enjoyable experience for its audience.

Challenging Perspectives:

99% agreed that LIFI’s programme was varied and unique, with the same percentage acknowledging that the festival successfully challenged their opinions. This underscores LIFI’s commitment to pushing boundaries and fostering critical thinking.

Value for Money:

A resounding 100% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed that LIFI was good value for money, solidifying the festival’s reputation for delivering high-quality content and experiences.

The reason we can make this work is that the festival is funded by LeedsBID a non-profit place marketing organisation whose work focuses on promoting Leeds. The BID funding model is focused on bringing benefits to businesses and organisations in the city centre through its budget investment projects like LIFI, rather than directly to LeedsBID. Therefore LIFI doesn’t have to contend with the risks associated with budgets based on income streams or with a commercial focus, and this enables the festival to offer accessible ticket prices for a high-quality experience.

What next? 

We started work on LIFI24 just one week after the curtain fell on 30 September 2023, building on the momentum, harnessing the very best outcomes and impacts from the 2023 programme to bring even better for LIFI24. So, what next? We plan on revealing some details soon including dates, venue and some nice teaser information on our themes for 2024. With LIFI23 being so successful, we hope we can add even more anticipation about what we will bring as a programme and though it’s early days the themes and even one or two early speakers we’ve booked are already looking VERY promising on the office planning wall, we’re aiming to go one better at LIFI24. See you on the other side.

Words by Martin Dickson
From LeedsBID

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