The official start to the festival season has more to offer than just a day of gigs.
Everybody knows Live at Leeds is the unofficial start of the UK’s festival season; it’s common knowledge that it’s one of the country’s biggest - if not only, multi-venue all-dayers still going; and it’s reputation as the place to catch huge names just before they hit the huge-time is well documented. You might have even been one of the twelve people that Ed Sheeran played to in Cockpit room three a few years ago (if so, you have your deepest condolences).
However, for a festival that’s so ingrained in Leeds’ musical identity after eleven years, it’s still got its fair share of tricks up its sleeve that you might not know about:
It doesn’t mean you’ll be safe from Saturday shoppers
Yep. Sorry. Don’t think just because you’ve got a festival wristband you can avoid the meandering hell that is Saturday afternoon on Briggate. It’ll be worth it though. All afternoon the World Music Stage, organised in association with South Asian Arts and Leeds West Indian Carnival, will be showcasing diverse music styles from all over the globe.
Go there, stroke your chin and nod, comment sagely on the juxtaposition of a World Music stage being surrounded by the manifestation of Western consumerism, and then go for a pint.
...but shoppers won’t be safe from it, either.
Not content with taking over the city’s bars, pubs, games rooms, clubs, and churches, LAL has set its sights on shops, too. Dr Martens - sponsor of this years Leeds Beckett stages - are hosting super-intimate gigs in their King Edward Street store.
“They’ll never be able to fit a band in there” I hear you say. Shows what you know - in the past they’ve hosted the likes of Twin Atlantic and VANT, as well as Gaz Coombes at LAL 2015 and Mystery Jets in 2016.
It could help give your career a boost
Taking full advantage of having so many industry people in the city at the same time, The Unconference is an annual enterprise and networking event open to everybody.
The event, supported by Leeds Beckett University and PRS for Music Foundation, takes place at Leeds College of Music and The Wardrobe on Friday 28 April and is a great opportunity for current or aspiring artists, producers, managers, promoters, and enthusiasts to benefit from workshops, presentations, panels, and keynotes featuring industry leaders from the likes of PRS, XL and 4AD records, Utah Saints, Temples (pictured), and Spotify.
Full details and schedule will be announced soon, and you can register here if you’d like to attend.
It’s kind of a weekender
So on top of the full programme of events on Saturday, there’s also auxiliary gigs throughout the rest of the weekend, turning it into a three-dayer for those of you who’ve got the stamina.
Friday sees Future Islands return to Leeds for the first time since 2014, with a show at Leeds University Union, and then on the Sunday night, Maximo Park headline the Live at Leeds Finale at O2 academy, where they’ll be joined by Little Comets, Spector, High Tyde, and The Indigo Project.
You can get tickets to the finale here priced at £20, or as a combo ticket with your Saturday wristband for £42.50.
...plus Extra Time
Still not ready to let go? Get down to Goals Soccer Centre on Kirkstall Road on the Monday, where they host the annual Live at Leeds Extra Time event - a five-a-side tournament where thirty teams made up of local bands, venues and music types take party for the coveted Live at Leeds trophy.
Previous champions include Pigeon Detectives, ITV, and in 2012, a scrappy young lad who would abandon a promising career in Sunday League on the path to becoming Editor of a certain Leeds online magazine, naming no names…
As well as the footy there’s live music, food & drink, and fun for all the family. But that’s all you’re getting - it’s back to work on Tuesday.
Reigning champions Leeds Beckett BMT