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2017’s Big Event Calendar

· Joseph Sheerin · Culture

As we move into 2017, it’s time to start looking forward to another cracking year.

Leeds International Beer Festival

Ready grab 2017 with both hands? Then this list will come in very handy indeed…

2017 has finally arrived and it’s set to be a good ‘un because there are all manner of events planned to make it special. From huge West End shows to the city’s biggest festivals, these are the biggest and most exciting events coming to Leeds in 2017.

Brew-denell Beer Festival

Brew-denell Beer Festival at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

The first big event after the New Year, Brew-denell Beer Festival is becoming something of a tradition. Now in its fifth year, it’s a guaranteed sell out. Expect a huge array of breweries to bring beers on keg, cask and bottle from as near as Kirkstall and as far as Kyoto, as well as a solid line-up of street food vendors and live music.

Brew-denell Beer Festival 5 is at Brudenell Social Club on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th January 2017.

The Snow Maiden

The Snow Maiden

Credit: Tom Arber

This January, Opera North are presenting their first ever staging of Rimsky-Korsakov’s classic Russian opera, The Snow Maiden. Rarely performed in the UK, it’s the first of three dark fairytales they’ll be bringing to the stage this winter. It follows the Snow Maiden, a beautiful magical being with a heart made of ice – if she falls in love, her heart will melt, but she longs to experience life with humans, with tragic consequences. Blending video imagery and vibrant colours, this is set to be an unmissable show.

The Snow Maiden is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Saturday 21st January until Friday 24th February 2017.

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

It’s time to say goodbye to one of heavy metal music’s biggest and most pioneering groups as Black Sabbath head out on their farewell tour, playing their first Leeds show in three decades at First Direct Arena. The End Farewell Tour will see them break out some of the biggest hits of their career – expect to hear the likes of ‘Paranoid’, ‘Iron Man’, ‘War Pigs’, ‘Never Say Die’, ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ and ‘Evil Woman’ one last time.

Black Sabbath play First Direct Arena on Thursday 26th January 2017.

Ice Cube

Ice Cube Leeds

An annual favourite in Leeds city centre, Millennium Square will once again be taken over by Ice Cube come January. It’s home to an open air ice rink that’s incredibly popular, as well as smaller rink for kids aged 8 and under, so everyone can join in. There’s also a snowslide, the North Pole star flyer and a cafe to grab a coffee after all that fun.

Ice Cube is at Millennium Square from the end of January to the end of February 2017.

Hansel and Gretel

Opera North Hansel & Gretel

Edward Dick has put his own take on Englebert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. It’s one of the most popular fairytale of all time, but this one will be a little different, as the classic opera is given a modern update. Hansel & Gretel leave their poor home to venture into the forest, but it’s a dark, dangerous place filled with magical beings. Along the way, they’ll encounter the Sandman, the Dew Fairy, and the Witch this dark fairytale.

Hansel and Gretel is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Thursday 2nd until Saturday 25th February 2017.



Image copyright Drew (The Come Up Show) licensed for commercial reuse under Creative Commons.

Stop the press – one of the biggest names in the world is coming to First Direct Arena in 2017. Hip-hop icon Drake is going on ‘The Boy Meets World’ tour across the globe, stopping off at First Direct Arena on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th February 2017. He’ll be playing songs from albums like ‘Thank Me Later’, ‘Take Care’, ‘Nothing Was The Same’ and ‘Views’.

Drake plays First Direct Arena on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th February 2017.


Opera North Cinderella

If you’re looking for a way to introduce the kids to the joys of opera, Cinderella is just the ticket. Opera North have taken Rossini’s classic comedic opera and put their own modern twist on it. Meet Cinderella, who’s tired of scrubbing the floor of a dance school studio and dreams of a better life – perhaps the Prince can help with that. Her stepfather Don Magnifico and his servant Dandini add a comedy element to proceedings, but don’t expect a glass slipper, in this reimagining Cinderella it’s a bracelet.

Cinderella is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Thursday 16th until Saturday 25th February 2017.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the NIght-time at Leeds Grand Theatre

A West End favourite is coming back to Leeds in 2017. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has been adapted from Mark Haddon’s novel – it’s already won seven 2013 Olivier Awards and five 2015 Tony Awards. The show is out on a huge tour in 2017, stopping at Leeds Grand to tell the story of 15 year old Christopher, an extraordinary boy with an extraordinary brain who struggles with everyday life. Find out what happens when he sets off on an adventure that turns his world upside down.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 28th February to Saturday 4th March 2017.



Credit: Guy Farrow

Ian Kelly’s biography of Giacomo Casanova has been adapted into a new Northern Ballet production which will make its world premiere at Leeds Grand Theatre this March. It will show off a life filled with scandal and 18th century excess – choreographer Kenneth Tindall will reveal the sensational true story of a man everyone has heard of, but few know know much about.

Casanova is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Saturday 11th until Saturday 18th March 2017.

Live at Leeds

Brawlers, The Key Club, Live at Leeds 2015

Credit: Jess Rowbottom

After celebrating its landmark 10th year in 2016, Live at Leeds is all set to return in 2017. They’ve already announced the first headliners – Slaves, Wild Beasts, White Lies, The Pigeon Detectives and Jagwar Ma will be joining luminaries like Peace, Savages, Ed Sheeran, Wolf Alice, Circa Waves, Mumford & Sons, The Cribs, The Maccabees and Bombay Bicycle Club to make it one of the best festivals of the year.

Live at Leeds takes place across Leeds on Saturday 29th April 2017.

Leeds Indie Food

Gorse Leeds Indie Food

Credit: Jessie Leong

The first two years have been a raging success, so it will come as no surprise to see that Leeds Indie Food is one of the most anticipated events of 2017. It promises to be better than ever, encouraging folk to get involved with Leeds’ independent food and drink scene, as the city’s bars, cafes and restaurants put on a slew of special events throughout May. Expect everything from meet the brewer evenings to collaborations between venues, film evenings and kitchen takeovers, all before the big Leeds Feast.

Leeds Indie Food takes place across Leeds from Thursday 11th to Sunday 28th May 2017.



On the back of a successful run at the Dominion Theatre in the West End, Evita is going back on a huge UK tour, stopping at Leeds Grand Theatre in May. It tells the story of Eva Peron, wife of former Argentinean dictator Juan Peron, whose life is a rags to riches tale that saw her become the ‘Spiritual Leader of the Nation’. Heart-warming and heart-breaking, it’s going to be one of the shows of the year.

Evita is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 15th to Saturday 20th May 2017.

Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk Festival

Fans of pop punk and metal look forward to one weekend of the year in particular – the late May bank holiday. And that’s because of what Slam Dunk have achieved over the past decade. Taking over Millennium Square, O2 Academy Leeds and the university students’ unions, it’s a huge celebration of alternative music, and the first headliners for 2017 have already been revealed – get ready for Enter Shikari to blow your socks off.

Slam Dunk takes place at Millennium Square and various Leeds venues on Saturday 27th May 2017.

The Specials

The Specials

A duo of reggae and ska legends are lined up for a super show in Millennium Square in June 2017. Toots and the Maytals will open up the concert – they’re pioneers who have helped pave the way for the headliners with tunes like ’54-46 (Was My Number)’, ‘Pressure Drop’ and ‘Monkey Man’. It’s The Specials that will get the hordes flocking to Leeds, however. The ska revival leaders one of the most important bands of their generation and it’ll be one heck of a show.

The Specials and Toots and the Maytals play Millennium Square on Saturday 27th May 2017.

Yorkshire Food and Drink Show

Leeds Food and Drink Festival by Karl Wilson

June will see the annual Yorkshire Food and Drink Show return to Millennium Square, with some of the city’s best bars and restaurants showing off their wares, as well as plenty of food demonstrations. Meanwhile, over at Kirkgate Market, Handmade in Yorkshire will see some of the best independent producers come to town too.

Yorkshire Food and Drink Show is at Millennium Square from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th June 2017.

ITU World Triathlon Series

ITC World Triathlon Leeds

After a memorable debut as part of the ITU World Triathlon Series in 2016, Leeds will host the event again in 2017. It’s going to be the fourth city of the tour, as one of four European stops in the eight race series. Spectators will be looking forward to seeing the triumphant Brownlee Brothers cross the line in top positions once again, while amateurs have a chance to take part across the weekend too.

ITU World Triathlon Series starts at Roundhay Park on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th June 2016.

The Stone Roses

The Stone Roses

Credit: Ian Tilton

Sandwiched in between shows in London and Glasgow, The Stone Roses are coming back to Leeds for the first time since December 1995. The legendary Mancunian band are one of the most important of their era. Their self-titled debut album was an incredibly influential record featuring tunes like ‘Waterfall’, ‘She Bangs The Drums’ and ‘I Am The Resurrection’. Playing two consecutive dates at First Direct Arena, it’s going to be the show of the summer.

The Stone Roses play First Direct Arena on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st June 2017.

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Credit: Guy Farrow

A modern classic is getting the Northern Ballet treatment in 2017, in the shape of John Boyne’s heart-wrenching novel, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. It follows Bruno, a nine year old boy living in Berlin towards the end of World War Two. His father gets a promotion to Auschwitz, and Bruno befriends Shmuel as he wanders along the fences of the camp. Bruno has doesn’t realise that Shmuel lives in a death camp, instead, he sees a new friend who he wants to help. His curiosity leads to an utterly devastating conclusion. We can’t wait to see Northern Ballet tell the story through dance.

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is at West Yorkshire Playhouse in July 2017, exact dates to be confirmed.

Leeds International Tattoo Expo

Leeds Tattoo Expo

The Leeds International Tattoo Expo has quickly become one of the most highly anticipated events in the industry and it returns to First Direct Arena in 2017. Over 160 artists will visit the convention in July, showcasing the best tattooists from Yorkshire, the UK and beyond, as well as a carefully curated series of boutiques and an array of live entertainment across the weekend.

The Leeds International Tattoo Expo takes place at First Direct Arena on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th July 2017.

Cocoon in the Park

Cocoon In The Park 2015

One of the biggest events of the UK’s dance music calendar, Temple Newsam is set to hold the ninth annual Cocoon in the Park in 2017. It’s organised by the Cocoon record label, owned and run by the iconic Sven Vath, who will himself make an appearance behind the decks, with some of the biggest DJs in the world. Last year, they welcomed the likes of The Martinez Brothers, Eats Everything and Patrick Topping. It’s a party you won’t want to pass up.

Cocoon in the Park is at Temple Newsam on Saturday 9th July 2016.

Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing

Credit: Alastair Muir

It’s one of the greatest movies ever made, and now Dirty Dancing is coming back to the stage this July. Relive the story of Baby and Johnny, two young souls from different worlds, who come together for a summer of love and dancing. Featuring songs like ‘Hey Baby’, ‘Do You Love Me?’ and ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’, it’s not to be missed.

Dirty Dancing is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 24th to Saturday 29th July 2017.

Leeds Pride

Leeds Pride

Thousands of people will take to the streets on the first weekend in August to celebrate Leeds Pride. It kicks off in Millennium Square with a host of speeches and performances, followed by a parade around the city before it the fun continues with a street party on Lower Briggate.

Leeds Pride 2017 takes place across Leeds city centre on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th August 2016.

Leeds Festival

Leeds Festival

Credit: Tom Martin

The big bash at Bramham Park will of course be one of the standout events of 2017. Names for the next event have already been announced and Muse are the first headliners. They’ll be joined by Major Lazer, Bastille, Tory Lanez, At the Drive-In, Architects, Glass Animals, Andy C, Danny Brown, Against the Current and While She Sleeps in what is sure to be one of the festivals of the summer.

Leeds Festival takes place at Bramham Park from Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th August 2017.

Leeds West Indian Carnival

Leeds West Indian Carnival

Credit: Ali Turner

Leeds West Indian Carnival is always a must-see event, but 2017 is extra special. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first carnival in Leeds, which is the longest running in Europe. Expect joyous dancing, vibrant music and colourful parades. Afterwards, there will be a huge party in Potternewton Park, with live music and tasty food.

Leeds West Indian Carnival takes place in Potternewton Park on Sunday 27th August 2016.

Leeds Beer Week

Ridgeside Brewery, Whitelock's

Leeds has become the unofficial beer capital of the North, and to celebrate that fact, Leeds Beer Week was launched in 2016. Their first festival featured a slew of beer tastings, brewery talks, special collaborations, beer masterclasses and much more – we can’t wait to find out what they have lined up for us this year.

Leeds Beer Week takes place across Leeds in August and September 2017.

Leeds International Beer Festival

Leeds International Beer Festival

The Leeds International Beer Festival is now in its sixth year, and in that time, it’s become one of the biggest events on the craft beer and real ale calendar. Expect hundreds of brew from Yorkshire, the UK and the world, as well as street food and live entertainment across four days.

Leeds International Beer Festival is at Leeds Town Hall from Thursday 7th September 2016 to Sunday 10th September 2016.

onRoundhay Festival


Credit: Andrew Benge

The first onRoundhay Festival in September 2016 was a huge success, with the likes of James, Primal Scream, Wolf Alice, Max Jury and The Haggis Horns attracting thousands of people – and they’re bringing it back for a second time. It was the first major music festival at Roundhay Park for over a decade but now it looks set to become a permanent fixture.

onRoundhay Festival takes place at Roundhay Park this Summer.

Light Night 2017

Light Night 2016

Leeds Light Night was the first of its kind, and 12 years on, it’s bigger than ever before. Now it’s spread across two nights, but it still aims to showcase the cultural side of the city. Think art installations at Leeds Dock, dance performances in the middle of Millennium Square and huge visual projections on the front of The Queens Hotel, Leeds Town Hall and Leeds Civic Hall, amongst a slew of events that see the city transformed after dark.

Light Night 2017 takes place across Leeds in October.

Leeds International Film Festival

Leeds International Film Festival

Credit: Sally Molineaux

Every November, Leeds becomes a cinema buff’s paradise with a fortnight of big name flicks, intriguing independent releases and some of the best cult films across all genres. It’s this combination that’s made it one of the biggest events of its kind in the UK.

Leeds International Film Festival takes place across Leeds from Thursday 2nd to Thursday 16th November 2016.

Leeds Light Switch On

Leeds Christmas Light Switch On

A family night out that’s guaranteed to put you in the festive spirit, Leeds Light Switch On promises a host of entertainment, and all for free. It takes place in the early weeks of November at Victoria Gardens with a slew of special guests and live music performances.

Leeds Lights Switch On is at Victoria Gardens in early November.

Thought Bubble 2017

Thought Bubble 2015

Credit: An Englishman in San Diego

Thought Bubble seems to get bigger and better every year – a surefire sign that Leeds is becoming one of the most important places in the world for comic art. The biggest names in the industry come to Leeds for a series of talks, Q&As and workshops at venues across the city, culminating in a huge Comic Con at Royal Armouries.

Thought Bubble takes place at Royal Armouries and various Leeds venues in early November.