From Day of the Dead feasts to family raves and virtual reality, May’s event is a biggie

Last month, LIF whet our appetites for this year’s festival (2-12 May) by announcing its first wave of events: from discussions with Frank Bruno to punk poetry with John Cooper Clarke and an interactive game played out across the city. 

Now, organisers have spilled the beans on the full line-up and it’s a biggie. Taking in 45 events and counting, LIF’s third year sees an even greater focus on innovation, with a programme split into two main themes: ‘CORE’ happenings will focus on information and technologies, while ‘OFF’ events bring the interactive party. 

2019 02 14 Frank Bruno
Fancy a round with Frank Bruno? Now you can (well, of discussion)

CORE highlights include ‘Sports 2:0’, a conference discussing tech in sport with Olympian Amy Williams (main image), and Facing Brave, a look at pioneering technology within the make-up industry tailored towards victims of acid attacks. The OFF programme, meanwhile, spans the brand new LIF Cube (an inflatable space conveniently located to the Tetley Building) to gaming get-togethers and Leeds Needs Help, a self-help comedy council meeting. The container pods of Briggate will also return to form the ‘The Discovery Zone’, offering up information on the festival as well as small-scale workshops and talks. 

2019 03 15 Leeds Needs Help
Leeds Needs Help, a self-help comedy council meeting, will be part of OFF

New festival executive Gemma Holsgrove is confident this year’s festival best reflects where LIF is headed: “Whilst big/ renowned names appear on the bill, we also want to provide a platform for smaller, more diverse, local and underground voices, to showcase the breadth and rich cultural diversity of this amazing city.”

With so much to discover, here are the five newly announced events we won’t be missing… 


Stalwarts of the Leeds spoken word scene, Sunday practise will be throwing open their doors at Sela bar for a festival edition of their open mic, as well as running a writing workshop in conjunction with Leeds publishers Peepal Tree, and a film club-panel discussion. Their run of events culminates in a party at the LIF cube; bringing together music, poetry and live art. 

2019 03 15 Sunday Practise Justin Slee
Join spoken word stalwarts Sunday Practise Justin Slee

FAMILY DAY | Monday 6 May

A welcome addition to the LIF roster, Family Day feels like a long time coming as a way to introduce little ones to imaginative, educational play. Don a virtual reality headset to explore the forest of trees, or fly to the moon with Eureka Children’s museum. Family rave Boomchikkaboom, crafters Plastic is Fantastic and Bloom! Bee workshops will also be in attendance. 


Experience the culture of Mexico’s Day of the Dead through a colourful food feast. A culminatory banquet takes place on 10 May after several days of installation work, where viewers can contribute an image of a lost loved one, or simply take in the work of esteemed artists The Faro De Oriente and Leeds’ very own Elle Harrison. 

2019 03 15 All That Lives Feasts
Experience the culture of Mexico’s Day of the Dead


Enter the forest and construct a symphony with the Interplay theatre. A completely personal experience, each attendee is invited in for ten minutes apiece, encouraged to create through movement and gestures that reconnect body and soul with nature. Who knows what talents you may unearth? 

JUICEBOX | Saturday 11 May

Get on your weird and wonderful glad rags and head inside the LIF Cube for Juicebox, the return of Leeds’ cult-queer art club. Featuring boundary-breaking art and musical performances from the likes of Yves Tumour and Tommy Cash, this is set to be the closing party to end all parties (strictly 18+). Expect the unexpected.

To see the full LIF line-up and buy tickets, head to