From freaking out to folking up, Leeds is full of the joys of autumn this October

There’s no denying it – it’s officially autumn. But what better way to admit it than by embracing some of the city’s best things to do this October? As the trees shed their leaves and Leeds’ paving slabs become increasingly treacherous, use these tiny gifts of music, theatre, craft, festivals and fancy dress to light the way ahead. The clocks might be heading backwards, but there’s still a whole article’s worth* of things to look forward to this month.

*probably more.

Read on for our top tips for the month of October.


The Manic Street Preachers Perform Onstage Bass Guitarist Nicky Wire Leaping Into The Air
Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers is leaping over to Leeds with the rest of the band

Opera North’s Carmen | Leeds Grand Theatre | 2nd October 2021 – 2nd April 2022

As operas go, this one’s a bit of a classic. Head to Leeds Grand to witness hot-blooded passion, love, jealousy and heartbreak – all through the lens of deeply emotional performances and lungs you or I can only dream of. It’s directed by Edward Dick, whose five-star Tosca stunned audiences back in 2018, and was described by the Guardian as "creepy and exciting in equal measure". What’s not to love?

Leeds Grand Theatre, 46 New Briggate, Leeds LS1 6NU (8pm; tickets £15-77.50 at leedsheritagetheatres.com)


Manic Street Preachers | O2 Academy | 7th October

A steady presence on the UK music scene since 1986, MSP are gracing Leeds with their tour this autumn, when they’ll be playing songs from their latest release, The Ultra Vivid Lament. If you’re as confused as I am about whether that indicates happy vibes or mournful ones, it might be worth heading down to see for yourself.

O2 Academy Leeds, 55 Cookridge St, Leeds LS2 3AW (doors 7pm; tickets from £40.25 at ticketmaster.co.uk)


A Macrame Plant Hanger Holding A Yello Mug With A Cactus In It
Get crafty with a macrame plant hanger workshop

Macramé Plant Hanger Workshop | ID Holistics | 10th October

For the few members of society who didn’t learn how to make a macramé plant hanger in the 18 months of lockdown just behind us, fear not. This is your chance to experience a "joyful union of creativity and relaxation" with three hours dedicated to crafting, learning, tea-drinking and even a cheeky bit of body-stretching to round it all off.

ID Holistics, 3 Lower Briggate, 1st Floor, Leeds LS1 4AF (1.30-4.30pm; tickets from £49.10 at eventbrite.co.uk)


Light Night Leeds | Leeds city centre | 14th and 15th October

After making its appearance in laser form only last year, the long-awaited Leeds Light Night is back for an extravaganza of illumination across the city. Expect to be dazzled by projections, installations and performances – all designed to help you see Leeds in a brand new light.

Leeds city centre, free entry


Leeds Town Hall Is Lit Up By A Lightning Inspired Projection As Part Of Light Night
Light night is sure to be a hit

YUNGBLUD: Life on Mars| LUU Refectory | 16th October

Doncaster’s very own Dominic Harrison (AKA YUNGBLUD) is heading to the uni with (probably) a range of tight latex, vibrant face paint and anarchic dance moves in his artillery. Hailed as the future of rock by Dave Grohl and pipped for success by many more, this one’s set to be a belter.

The Refectory, University of Leeds, University House, Lifton Place, Woodhouse, Leeds LS2 9JT (doors at 7pm, tickets £28.60 at seetickets.com)


Caroline Criado Perez in Conversation: Invisible Women | City Varieties Music Hall | 20th October

Proving herself far from invisible in the physical sense, Caroline Criado Perez is taking the City Varieties stage to discuss the rampant nature of gender bias in the world today. She’ll reveal wisdom from her widely-acclaimed book, exploring multiple perspectives on a world that’s simply not built for approx 51% of society.

City Varieties Music Hall, Swan Street, Leeds LS1 6LW (tickets from £11.60 at leedsheritagetheatres.com)


Actors Rehearse For Opera Norths Carmen
Actors rehears for Opera North's Carmen

Piano Sessions | Howard Assembly Room | 24th October

If the words "Steinway Model D" have your heart racing, this one’s for you. Join Leeds-based pianist and composer, Simeon Walker, as he hosts this Sunday get-together of vibrant talent. With Ajimal, Lara Jones and Mark Slater on the line-up, you can expect an eclectic mix of sounds – from contemporary to classical, experimental to electronic.

Howard Assembly Room, 46 New Briggate, Leeds LS1 6NU (doors at 4pm, tickets free at operanorth.co.uk)


Ross Noble: Humournoid| Leeds Town Hall | 26th October

Whether the pun that is the title of Ross Noble’s current tour amuses or distresses you is quite a good way to tell if this is your jam. If it drew a smile (or you have more concrete reasons to believe you’re a fan) then head down to while away an evening chuckling to Rosss unique brand of comedy under the Town Hall’s lovely ceiling.

Leeds Town Hall, The Headrow, Leeds LS1 3AD (8pm; tickets £27.56 at leedstownhall.co.uk)


Ross Nobles Face Surrounded By Futuristic Graphics
Ross Noble comes to Leeds Town Hall

Chow Down Halloween Weekender | Temple Arches | 28th-31st October

Prepare to channel the freaky vibes down at the Chow Down arches this Halloween. Slip into something spooky and win the fancy dress competition, take the whole family and enjoy a spot of creepy crafting, or be wowed by a drag brunch, complete with stilt walkers and fire breathers. And all that before we’ve even mentioned the food or music! You’ll find sounds from Tsha, Ron Basejam and Loud Noises, and delectable delights from Homeboy Pizza, Mor Mor and Sabrosa Street

Temple Arches (various times available; tickets from £12 at fatsoma.com)


Monomyth Records Halloween Party | Oporto | 31st October

It wouldn’t be October without a good, old-fashioned chance to don your best fake blood and head out on the tiles. If last year’s Zoom celebrations are still making your heart hurt, look no further than this vibe at Oporto on the final day of the month. Tunes from Flat Moon, Purple Thread and more, plus an afterparty in the bar til 2am.

Oporto, 33 Call Lane, Leeds LS1 7BT (7.30pm; tickets £6 at fatsoma.com)


FESTIVALS

Live at Leeds | City-wide | 16-17th October

The North’s ‘leading metropolitan festival for emerging talent’ is back and bigger than ever. You can count on hundreds of artists performing across 20 city-centre venues – giving you the chance to plan your weekend and absorb that gig atmosphere once more. Live music, we’ve missed you!

Various venues (from 12pm; tickets from £41.80 at seetickets.com)


Hyde Park Folk Festival| Hyde Park Book Club | 31st October

Another comeback special from Hyde Park Book Club’s legendary folk fest. Prepare to sway, jig and sing along to some of Yorkshire’s finest folk, including Jim Ghedi and Toby Hay, Katie Spencer, Georgie Buchanan and George Boomsa, to name but a few.

Hyde Park Book Club, 27-29 Headingley Lane, Headingley, Leeds LS6 1BL (11am-11pm; tickets £16.50 at wegottickets.com)


Read next: Henry Normal: ‘I spent my life, both in TV and poetry, trying to connect with humanity’

Read again: Björk confirmed to headline Bluedot 2022


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