From Slam Dunk to Live at Leeds, festival season gets underway this May…
OH MY ZINE! | The Bowery | 1 May - 21 June
Celebrating the increasingly vital need for political and creative expression, Oh My Zine! presents eight self-made zines from local creatives, each as diverse as the next. Leave plenty of time to peruse titles on race, queer culture and more, before heading downstairs for some excellent Bowery cake and coffee.
The Bowery, LS6 2AL (8.30am-6pm daily; free entry)
LEEDS INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL | Citywide | 2-12 May
From existential talks to interactive citywide games, there truly is something for everyone at Leeds International Festival. With names such as Matt Haig, Frank Bruno and our very own writer Jenessa Williams hosting events, be sure to snap up tickets for your desired names in advance to avoid disappointment. Check out our preview here.
Various; check the website
WOMEN ON TAP X GIRL GANG LEEDS | North Bar | Friday 3 May
Did you know that, in the eighteenth century, it was the women who were in charge of beer brewing? A lot has changed over the years in terms of representation of hop experts, but Girl Gang have teamed up with Harrogate-based initiative Women on Tap to celebrate the industry’s females - now in a minority. Head down to North Bar for an exhibition of beer-inspired art, part of Women on Tap’s region-wide festival.
North Bar, LS1 6NU (10pm-2am; free entry)
LIVE AT LEEDS | Various Venues | Saturday 4 May
Fancy catching a handful of over 100 eclectic bands, all for less than £50? Live At Leeds returns with headline slots from Tom Grennan, Metronomy and Sundara Karma, as well as a huge choice of up-and-comers across indie, alternative RnB and pop: check out our highlights here. Just make sure to save some energy for the after parties…
Various venues, (12pm-12am; tickets from £41 at liveatleeds.com)
BLOOD BROTHERS | Leeds Grand Theatre | 7-18 May
Having surpassed 10,000 performances in the West End, the Willy Russell classic reaches Yorkshire this month. The tale of twins separated at birth, it’s a show both rousing and challenging - recommended even for those who aren’t normally musical fans.
Leeds Grand Theatre, LS1 6NZ (various times; tickets from £21.50 at leedsgrandtheatre.com)
THE PORTERHOUSE CAKE CO LAUNCH PARTY | Armley Link | Friday 10 May
Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Leeds’ favourite cake provider is hosting a party to celebrate the company’s upcoming plans and new bakery. Expect music, an abundance of sweet treats and a one-off collaboration beer with Anthology Brew Co.
Unit 3, Armley Link, LS12 2QN (6-10pm; free entry)
GREAT YORKSHIRE VEGAN FESTIVAL | Leeds Town Hall | Sunday 12 May
One of the UK’s largest events of its kind, run by a passionate team of volunteers, the Great Yorkshire Vegan Festival boasts over 100 stalls, cookery demos, workshops and talks. It’s also child-friendly, and all proceeds go to animal welfare charities. Upgrade to VIP access for fast track entry and a goody bag of vegan samples and discounts.
Leeds Town Hall, LS1 3AD (10.30am-4.30pm; tickets from £5.60 at eventbrite.co.uk)
SUMMER SOUND BATH | Left Bank Leeds | Wednesday 15 May
Celebrate the arrival of a new season with the soothing sounds of singing bowls, chimes and shamanic instruments in this relaxing meditation session - guided by Yoga teacher Emma Leaf. All money raised supports the development of Left Bank Charitable Trust.
Left Bank Leeds, LS6 1LJ (7-8pm; tickets from £12 at leftbankleeds.org.uk)
GIN & RUM FESTIVAL | Leeds Town Hall | 17-18 May
Moving away from the specifics of a single spirit, the Gin & Rum festival is a likely pleaser for most liquor fans; with 60 different types of each beverage available for sampling, as well as DJs and mixology expert talks. All drinks are just £5 and entry includes a free guide, satchel bag and glass.
Leeds Town Hall, LS1 3AD (various sessions; tickets from £13.34 at eventbrite.co.uk)
DRAGON BOAT RACE | Roundhay Park | Sunday 19 May
Whether you’re spectating or rowing, there is no camaraderie quite like the annual Dragon Boat Race. The day sees 42 teams of ten take to the lake, followed by a tug o’war plus fairground rides and refreshments. Not quite Game of Thrones, but certainly worth donning your best armour for.
Roundhay Park, LS8 2JL (10am-5pm; free entry for spectators. Register for participation at martinhouse.org.uk)
WORLD ISLAND BANK HOLIDAY TAKEOVER | Headrow House | 24-26 May
Off the back of last year’s outdoor event, the World Island crew take things back to basics with a killer roster of live events, kick-started on the bank holiday. Roof parties with some of the best local DJs are free entry across the whole weekend, while ticketed gigs include names-to-watch like Biig Piig, Laura Misch and Blossom Caldarone.
Headrow House, LS1 6PU (8am-4pm; tickets from £12 at dice.fm)
CHOW DOWN | Piece Hall | 24-27 May
Chow Down returns! Just a brief train ride away from Leeds city centre, enjoy a varied line-up of food and drink in the (hopefully glorious) sunshine. Line up remains TBC, but be sure to visit across the summer to get the best of the UK’s street food slingers.
The Piece Hall, HW1 1RE (11am-10pm; tickets from £3 on the door)
SLAM DUNK FESTIVAL | Temple Newsam Park | Saturday 25 May
Moving to the fields for the very first time, Slam Dunk Festival slots very nicely into the legacy of Leeds Festival’s rock and alternative focus. Old school fans can enjoy sets from the likes of glassjaw, NOFX and Bullet For My Valentine, while newer emo kids can delight in All Time Low, Waterparks and Milk Teeth.
Temple Newsam Park, LS15 OAE (11am-11pm; tickets from £59 at seetickets.com)
IVO GRAHAM: MOTION SICKNESS | The Wardrobe | Thursday 30 May
With the likes of Mock The Week and Live At The Apollo under his belt, Ivo Graham is a comedian on the rise. Expect deprecating observations from the ‘apologetic Eton and Oxford alumnus’, who was the youngest ever winner of So You Think You're Funny. With TV slots beckoning, don’t miss this chance to see him live.
The Wardrobe, LS9 8AH (7-11pm; tickets from £12 at seetickets.com)
PUB IN THE PARK | Roundhay Park | 31 May - 2 June
Enjoy a wholesome family day out thanks to Tom Kerridge and his new foodie festival. Enjoy music acts such as Scouting For Girls, Toploader and Will Young as well as pop-up restaurants from The Angel at Hetton, Tommy Bank’s Black Swan and more. Cooking demos will show the skills behind the dishes, as well as plenty of fresh produce shopping opportunities.
Roundhay Park, LS8 2JL (morning and afternoon sessions; tickets from £45 at seetickets.com)