From tequila festivals to gigs and comedy, make September one to remember with these amazing events.
September is here and there are loads of fantastic events to enjoy in Leeds this month. You’ve got massive beer festivals, huge opera productions and an evening with Arnold Schwarzenegger. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg – so go ahead and find out what’s on in Leeds this month.
Picks of the Month
Booze festivals, comic conventions and short, snappy operas – these are the events you won’t want to miss this month.
Ann Maguire Gala
A special event kicks off September. In memory of Ann Maguire, the Leeds teacher who was tragically murdered in 2015, the Gala sees a world class line-up of dancers, choreographers and musicians come together to raise money for the Ann Maguire Arts Education Fund. Stars from the Royal Ballet will perform works by Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan and Christopher Wheeldon. Plus, you’ll also get to see performances from Northern Ballet, Steven McRae and Vasko Vassilev.
Ann Maguire Gala takes place at Leeds Grand Theatre on Sunday 3rd September 2017.
Leeds International Beer Festival
Back for its sixth year, don’t miss the Leeds International Beer Festival when it returns to Leeds Town Hall this month. It’s a four-day celebration of craft beer from the UK and beyond. Expect 100s of beers and ciders from a slew of brilliant breweries – think Ilkley, Mikkeller, Yeastie Boys, Oskar Blues and more. There will also be a street food market and live music on two stages across the weekend.
Leeds International Beer Festival takes over Leeds Town Hall from Thursday 7th until Sunday 10th September 2017.
The Tequila Festival
Discover some of the best tequila in the world at Canal Mills this September. The Tequila Festival is set to bring shots, cocktails and street food to Leeds for the very first time. You’ll get a complimentary shot of tequila on arrival, as well as a Tequila Bible, which will tell you about the 30 different tequilas behind the bar. It’s not just about shots though, with a series of cocktail bars whipping up incredible concoctions. Expect mariachi music and Mexican street food too.
The Tequila Festival takes over Canal Mills on Saturday 30th September 2017.
The Little Greats
Ever been to the opera? There’s never been a better time to go, because The Little Greats brings together six short and sweet operas, each one completely different to the last. Go for something utterly bonkers, like L’enfant et les sortilèges, and watch as inanimate objects burst into song, or see the rehearsal room descend into chaos and violence as Pagliacci takes over the stage. With performances as short as 45 minutes and two shows a night, you can see why opera is making such a come back.
The Little Greats take place at Leeds Grand Theatre from Saturday 16th September until Saturday 21st October 2017.
Thought Bubble Festival
If you love comic books, Thought Bubble is a must-do this September. It’s an annual festival that celebrates sequential art in all its forms and it’ll be taking over venues all over Leeds. There’s everything from film screenings to workshops, exhibitions and meet & greets. The star of the show is the comic convention – it ends the festival, welcoming some of the biggest artists and writers in the industry to the city.
Thought Bubble Festival comes to various Leeds locations from Monday 18th until Sunday 24th September 2017.
Food and Drink
Check out this month’s top foodie events, with secret supper clubs, beer festivals and more.
Hidden Harewood is an immersive dining experience which will introduce you to all the corners of the Harewood Estate you wouldn’t usually see, as you go on an incredible culinary adventure. Your three-hour exploration of the grounds will see you stopping off at secret locations where you’ll be wined and dined by Josh Whitehead, acclaimed Sous Chef of Ox Club. Top tip – you might need to pack your wellies.
Hidden Harewood takes place at Harewood Estate from Thursday 31st August until Saturday 2nd September 2017.
Adel Beer Festival
Adel Beer Festival is a great way to start September. Themed around rugby league, this year they have more than 30 real ales and ciders on offer and each Super League team is represented by a selection of beers from breweries like Kirkstall, Seven Br07thers and Magic Rock Brewing Co. They’ll also have a gin and prosecco tent, with a BBQ, live music and a family fun day on Sunday.
Adel Beer Festival takes over Adel Sports and Social Club on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd September 2017.
The Noise of Strangers Pop-Up Restaurant
The Noise of Strangers is back this September with a brand new pop-up restaurant at a secret Leeds location. This time, they’ve drafted in MasterChef semi-finalist Andy Walker to cook up a seasonal six-course menu with perfectly matched drinks across three nights. Don’t hang around to get tickets, as these pop-ups usually sell out.
The Noise of Strangers Pop-Up Restaurant takes over an unconfirmed Leeds city centre venue from Thursday 14th until Saturday 16th September 2017.
Horsforth Cricket Club Cider Festival
If you love cider, this is the event for you. Horsforth Cricket Club is hosting its first ever Cider Festival. Make a beeline for the main tent where you’ll discover over 20 different varieties of cider from breweries across the country. They also promise a craft beer station, a prosecco tent and a Theakston’s bottle bar. Craig’s Kitchen is providing the food and they also have live music on both days.
Horsforth Cricket Club Cider Festival takes place at Horsforth Cricket Club on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th September 2017.
Leeds Rum Festival
Rum fanatics can look forward to a weekend of fun this September as Leeds Rum Festival returns for its second year. You’ll get to try 80 different rums from some of the best producers in the world, with tasters and mixers included in the £12 ticket price. You can chat to brand ambassadors from the likes of Bacardi, Pussers and Rumbullion, as well as joining their rum masterclasses. Topped off with cocktail bars and street food, it’s absolutely unmissable.
Leeds Rum Festival takes over Corn Exchange from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th September 2017.
Head to the city’s best music venues to see r&b icons, indie newcomers and alt-country troubadours.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
Melbourne has one of the best music scenes in the world right now, and its shining light is coming to Leeds this September. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever initially made waves at the start of 2016 with debut single ‘Talk Tight’, before the release of this year’s EP ‘The French Press’, which has gone down a storm. It won’t be long before they’re headlining bigger venues across the UK.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever play Brudenell Social Club on Wednesday 6th September 2017.
His first appearance at First Direct Arena came in 2014, and now American r&b icon John Legend returns to Leeds this month. He’s back as part of his biggest ever UK tour to date, showing off his newest album, last year’s ‘Darkness and Light’, alongside classics like ‘Ordinary People’, ‘All of Me’ and ‘Green Light’.
John Legend plays First Direct Arena on Friday 15th September 2017.
After selling out O2 Academy Leeds back in 2015, Ryan Adams is back this September to show off what he’s been up to since. Earlier in 2017, he released his sixteenth album ‘Prisoner’ and it’s more of what we’ve come to expect of the North Carolinian – country-tinged rock’n’roll with wistful lyrics and irresistible melodies.
Ryan Adams play O2 Academy Leeds on Monday 18th September 2017.
Super Luxury and Hot Dog Eating Competition
Noise dance group Super Luxury are calling it a day after their Brudenell Social Club gig as singer Adam moves to Vienna, but not before they go all out one last time. Expect them to run through their arsenal of stomping rock’n’roll tunes, with support from Barefoot Beware and Magic Mountain. That’s not all – they’re waving goodbye with their third and final Super Luxury Hot Dog Eating Competition. We’d skip dinner before this one.
Super Luxury and Hot Dog Eating Competition takes over Brudenell Social Club on Wednesday 27th September 2017.
Live at Leeds Ones to Watch Showcase
Need your fill of Live at Leeds goodness but don’t want to wait until next April? Good news – they’re hosting a Ones to Watch Showcase at The Wardrobe this September and they’ve got an incredible list of up and coming talent on the bill. The Pale White are headlining, with the likes of Feet, Stereo Honey, Sea Girls, The Lightning Year and Riscas in support.
Live at Leeds Ones to Watch Showcase comes to The Wardrobe on Saturday 30th September 2017.
Need a laugh? There’s a stellar line-up of stand-up comedians coming to Leeds this month.
Vertically-challenged Welsh funnyman Rob Brydon is making his way to Leeds Town Hall this month as part of his ‘I Am Standing Up’ UK tour. Known for his roles on Gavin & Stacey, Would I Lie To You? and The Trip, this is Brydon’s first stand-up tour since 2009 and he promises to blend his charming, but often edgy humour with music and plenty of audience interaction. Look out if you’re on the front row.
Rob Brydon plays Leeds Town Hall on Tuesday 19th September 2017.
Mock the Week panellist Andy Parsons is back on tour and back at City Varieties with his latest show ‘Peak Bullshit’. The wisecracking Cockney is going on an all out offensive against Brexit Britain and his 90 minute show is designed to make this country a better place to live. The NHS? World War 3? Climate change? Parsons will tackle the lot and make you feel a whole lot better about the world.
Andy Parsons plays City Varieties on Wednesday 20th September 2017.
Tom Allen is a face we’ve seen more and more on our tellies in recent times. He’s become a standout on shows like 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Mock the Week and The Great British Bake Off’s Extra Slice, so you won’t want to miss this chance to see him in an intimate venue, where he’ll show off his sharp wit and camp, raucous storytelling.
Tom Allen plays Leeds University Union on Wednesday 20th September 2017.
A household name since captaining one of the teams on pop quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Phill Jupitus is a national treasure. Blending comedy, music, poetry and improvisation, he offers the lot and his new UK tour, ‘Juplicity’ is no different. Expect more than an hour of laughs as Jupitus goes on storytelling journeys through the chaos of his own life and the uncertain world that revolves around him.
Phill Jupitus plays City Varieties on Thursday 28th September 2017.
One of the fastest rising stand-ups in the UK, Rhys James is a star of the future. From writing jokes for Russell Howard’s Good News to appearances on Mock the Week, the Chortle’s Student Comedy Award winner is making a name for himself with his own clever brand of stand-up comedy. And you don’t just have one chance to see him this September, as he’s playing two shows in one night.
Rhys James plays The Woods and The Original Oak on Friday 29th September 2017.
From huge West End productions to the best independent shows, there’s plenty on at the city’s theatres.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Northern Ballet is presenting the very first dance interpretation of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas this September. John Boyne’s famous novel has been adapted by choreographer Daniel de Andrade and puts a new twist on a heartbreaking tale that sees an unlikely friendship emerge between two eight-year-old boys at a Nazi concentration camp. One is a Jewish inmate, the other is the son of a Nazi commandant, but how will it end?
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas comes to West Yorkshire Playhouse from Tuesday 5th until Saturday 9th September 2017.
Fancy a spot of pay-as-you-feel theatre this September? Head to The HUB for a performance of Royal Vauxhall. It tells the story of one of Princess Diana’s rare nights out when Freddie Mercury and Kenny Everett took her to London’s most famous gay bar, The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, in 1988. How do you get a princess into a gay bar in the middle of London? This hilarious, raucous and, most importantly, true musical comedy relives that night 20 years after her untimely death.
Royal Vauxhall comes to The HUB on Sunday 17th September 2017.
The Kite Runner
Described as the best stage adaptation of a novel since War Horse, The Kite Runner comes to West Yorkshire Playhouse this September straight from the West End. The story starts in Afghanistan – the country is on the brink of war and two childhood friends are about to be torn apart. A kite flying tournament set against the backdrop of a beautiful afternoon in Kabul soon turns into tragedy in this touching tale of loss and friendship.
The Kite Runner comes to West Yorkshire Playhouse from Tuesday 19th until Saturday 23rd September 2017.
Confabulation! Trouble at the Mill
Trouble at the Mill is back this September with an evening of theatre, music and Indian food. Eamonn Fleming’s Confabulation! is the star attraction, an intriguing play that tackles the idea that you can’t trust a single thing you remember about your past, it sets the scene at a Mötorhead concert that is all made up. Beforehand, one of the UK’s leading beatboxers Grave Savage takes to the stage, and you can get a feed courtesy of Harry’s Curry Canteen.
Confabulation! Trouble at the Mill takes place at Sunny Bank Mills on Saturday 23rd September 2017.
Phoenix at Home: A Celebration of Female Choreographers
End September with an evening of dance performances that celebrate the work of female choreographers as Phoenix Dance Theatre host their seventh annual Phoenix at Home event. Highlights include Sandrine Monin’s Calyx and an excerpt from Sharon Watson’s Windrush, which is not due to premiere until 2018. They’re joined by a series of solo and guest performances from the rising stars of Phoenix Academy for a thrilling evening of dance.
Phoenix at Home: A Celebration of Female Choreographers takes place at The Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre from Wednesday 27th until Saturday 30th September 2017.
Another month, another batch of intriguing exhibitions for you to explore in Leeds’ galleries.
The Hunslet Mural
Over the summer, artists Bobbi Rae, Emma Hardaker and Kasia Breska have been working with The Works and Hunslet’s local community groups to create a new mural on the side of the skatepark. Taking inspiration from the building’s history as a factory and carriageworks, as well as its current use, the mural shows off the sense of community and collaboration in the local area. The mural will be launched on Saturday 2nd September 2017 with an exhibition of the project’s developmental work in The Works’ cafe.
The Hunslet Mural opens at The Works Skatepark from Saturday 2nd until Sunday 10th September 2017.
Leeds has a rich history of protest and this new exhibition at Abbey House Museum proves it. It documents campaigns against everything from war to government cuts, using objects like a mother’s diary, which tells of her fear for her protesting son. Using contributions from groups like Leeds Quakers and Leeds LGBT*Q, as well as films, it’s a poignant show that highlights Leeds’ anti-establishment past.
Protest takes over Abbey House Museum from Saturday 2nd September 2017 until Sunday 18th February 2018.
Urban sketching group Sketch That has been running classes at HEART in Headingley for a number of years now, getting local artists to focus on their local environment. Delicious Colour is their fourth group show, and focuses on the group’s work which uses colour to add vibrancy to their drawings of Leeds, often showing off a different side to the city you see every day.
Delicious Colour is presented at HEART from Wednesday 6th September until Friday 13th October 2017.
Life in Leeds
If you want to take an intriguing journey into Leeds’ past this September, don’t miss this four-day exhibition at the Quaker Meeting House. The centrepiece of Life in Leeds is photographer Andrew Medcalf’s incredibly powerful human story photos which have captured the lives of everyday people in Leeds over the past 30 years.
Life in Leeds can be seen at Quaker Meeting House from Thursday 7th until Sunday 10th September 2017.
Madding Crowd is the brand new exhibition from Leeds-based artist Mel Davies. This new show focusses on a selection of vibrant and colourful paintings and still life drawings to which Davies adds people and crowds. It’s not just Davies’ work, though – he’s roped in artist Kim Coley and glass artist Stuart Akroyd to add their own interpretations to the exhibition.
Madding Crowd takes place at Sunny Bank Mills from Friday 8th September until Friday 27th October 2017.
Clubnights & DJs
From the biggest names in house music to two of BBC’s most famous DJs, get yourself into Leeds’ clubs this September.
We Call It Techno
Wire Club have a treat for techno lovers this September. Northern Irish techno duo Loco and Jam are heading over for an intimate underground show in Leeds to celebrate the release of their new EP ‘Cannonball’. They’re joined by a soon-to-be-announced special guest, as well as Paul Jamez, Juan Pabloo and Joe Skz.
We Call It Techno takes place at Wire Club on Saturday 9th September 2017.
Hard Times Turns 24
Hard Times are celebrating their 24th birthday the only way they know how – with a massive party featuring some of the best house DJs in the world. They’re taking over Church in Leeds with the help of two very special guests. Tony Humphries, a DJ of 35 years and one of the original DJs of Kiss FM, will be joined by Roger Sanchez, who first played a Hard Times night back in 1993.
Hard Times Turns 24 takes place at Church on Saturday 16th September 2017.
To celebrate the start of the new university year, Radio 1Xtra DJ Charlie Sloth is going out on a massive UK tour, including a date at O2 Academy Leeds. Expect the very best in grime and hip-hop as he hits the decks with a bit of help from a few special guest MCs – Fekky, Abra Cadabra, Big Tobz and K Koke will all be there.
Charlie Sloth comes to at O2 Academy Leeds on Thursday 28th September 2017.
Trevor Nelson’s Soul Nation
Legendary soul and r&b DJ Trevor Nelson is back at The Wardrobe this September after a sell out night in Leeds back in July. You’ll get to relive the very best slow jams and chart hits from the 80s, 90s and 00s as Nelson delves into his extensive record collection to put on a memorable night of tunes.
Trevor Nelson’s Soul Nation comes to The Wardrobe on Friday 29th September 2017.
Bomstrikes Block Party
Duke Studios is set to become a dancefloor shaking Block Party at the end of September as Bomstrikes come to town. This touring clubnight has been all over the world and is bringing the very best modern electronica tunes to Leeds. They’ve enlisted Plump DJs, DJ Woody, Mooqee and Beatvandals to hit the decks with a full audio visual experience playing in the background.
Bomstrikes Block Party takes over Duke Studios on Saturday 30th September 2017.
Families have plenty to look forward to in Leeds this September, with a circus, all manner of workshops and the return of Leeds Colour Run.
Head to Roundhay Park this September as Circus Zyair erect their big top tent for you and the kids to witness 90 minutes of enthralling entertainment. You’ll witness daring bike riders, amazing trapeze artists, hilarious clowns and much more during this high energy show that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Circus Zyair comes to Roundhay Park from Friday 1st to Tuesday 5th September 2017.
Superhero Family Walk
Why not give something back while you have an afternoon of fun this month? Temple Newsam is hosting the Superhero Family Walk, with all proceeds raising money for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. Whether you’re big or small, you’re encouraged to dress up in your finest superhero masks and capes before taking on a 1-kilometre walk around the estate.
Superhero Family Walk takes place at Temple Newsam on Sunday 10th September 2017.
Late Summer Artisan Festival
Harewood House will give you and the little ones your last chance to enjoy the warmer weather this September at their Late Summer Artisan Festival. They’ve got live music, craft beer, gin and artisan craft stalls for the grown ups, with loads more lined up for the kids – think craft demonstrations, workshops, pony rides, a fairground and Princess Elsa & Belle tributes on stage. There’s something for all ages here.
Late Summer Artisan Festival takes place at Harewood House on Saturday 16th September 2017.
Wound Make-up Workshops
Thackray Medical Museum is getting all gory to end September. They’re putting on a Wound Make-up Workshop, where the little ones can create their own gruesome battle scars. You get to use make-up techniques from stage and film to draw on scary scars, bubbling boils and pus-filled pimples.
Wound Makeup Workshops takes place at Thackray Medical Museum on Saturday 30th September 2017.
Leeds Colour Run
Harewood House will be turned into a rainbow at the end of September as the Leeds Colour Run returns for 2017. This is a 5-kilometre race like no other. All ages are welcome and at every kilometre milestone you reach on the route, you’ll come across a colour station where you’ll be doused head-to-toe in clouds of coloured powder. One thing to remember – this isn’t a race, you can walk, jog, run or even cartwheel your way to the end, it’s about having fun, being colourful and helping to raise money for St Gemma’s Hospice.
Leeds Colour Run takes place at Harewood House on Saturday 30th September 2017.
There are loads of festivals to make the most of in September, whether you want theatre, heavy metal or dance music.
Chunk x Fat Out Till You Pass Out Fundraiser
Chunk and Manchester promoters Fat Out Till You Pass Out are teaming up to put on a fundraiser for Salford venue Islington Mill this month. The Mill is in need of urgent repairs, so this is the first of two clubnights, the second of which will be held in Manchester at the end of September. The Leeds all-dayer is stacked with talent – you’ll get to see the likes of Dwellings, Famine, Ill, Beige Palace, Locean and Groak.
Chunk x Fat Out Till You Pass Out Fundraiser takes over Chunk on Saturday 9th September 2017.
Chapel Allerton Arts Festival
Chapel Allerton is the place to be at the start of September. Its famous Arts Festival turns the suburb into a hive of cultural activity. You can see live music with its outdoor stage welcoming the likes of Samuel S. Parkes, The Strawberries and Maia on Friday and Saturday, before the Village Jazz Festival takes over on Sunday. That’s not all – they have art exhibitions, street performances and art workshops taking place across the weekend.
Chapel Allerton Arts Festival takes place across Chapel Allerton until Sunday 3rd September 2017.
Throughout the year, West Yorkshire Playhouse works with playwrights, theatre makers, directors and performers from across the North on a range of projects to help develop their skills and ideas. Furnace Festival is your chance to see what they’ve been working on with a series of performances ranging from brand new ideas tested in front of audiences for the first time to fully fledged shows that they are ready to show off.
Furnace Festival comes to West Yorkshire Playhouse from Monday 11th until Saturday 23rd September 2017.
UK Slam Fest
Death metallers have a stunning all-day music festival to look forward to at Temple of Boom this September. UK Slam Fest brings some of the heaviest bands from around the world under one roof for a day of metal mayhem. Cephalotripsy are coming all the way from San Diego to headline this year’s event and they’re joined by the likes of Hymenotomy, Fleshless and Korpse.
UK Slam Fest takes over Temple of Boom on Saturday 23rd September 2017.
Boombox Circus Festival
Boombox Circus are putting on their biggest event to date this September with their very first festival. Taking place at Beaver Works, they’re promising eight sound systems, with fairground rides, circus performers and a fireworks display. Already confirmed for the event are Dave Beer, Fractal and Bambuca Disco with more to be announced in the run up to the festival.
Boombox Circus Festival takes over Beaver Works on Friday 29th September 2017.
Best of the Rest
From burlesque nights to Arnold Schwarzenegger, this is the best of the rest.
Dancing With The Devil: A Homage to the Legendary Satan’s Angel
Now this is a little bit different – Dancing With the Devil is a one-off event at Belgrave Music Hall which pays homage to one of the pioneers of the burlesque scene. This tribute to Satan’s Angel, who led the way during the 60s and 70s for today’s generation, will see some of the city’s finest burlesque performers tipping their hat, and their tassels, to one of the very best.
Dancing With The Devil: A Homage to the Legendary Satan’s Angel comes to Belgrave Music Hall on Saturday 2nd September 2017.
An Experience with Arnold Schwarzenegger
There aren’t many people around the world more famous than Arnold Schwarzenegger. A film star, bodybuilding icon and a political powerhouse, Arnie is a legend – and you can get up close and personal with him in Leeds this month. He’s hosting a very special ‘An Evening with…’ black tie dinner at New Dock Hall regaling you with tales from his extraordinary career.
An Experience with Arnold Schwarzenegger comes to New Dock Hall on Wednesday 20th September 2017.
The Real Princess Ball
To help launch a brand new photography exhibition, The Real Princesses of Yorkshire, at Holy Trinity Church, curator and photographer Maria Spadafora is hosting The Real Princess Ball. The exhibition does away with the stereotypes of what a princess is and instead highlights the work of girls and women around Yorkshire who do amazing things. To kick it off, the church will be transformed into a room of Yorkshire princesses – folk are encouraged to turn up in their princess fancy dress, enjoy a few drinks and dance along to some tunes.
The Real Princess Ball takes over at Holy Trinity Church on Friday 15th September 2017.
Friends of Temple Newsam Beer Festival
After the success of last year’s first event, the Friends of Temple Newsam Beer Festival is back this September. You’ll need to head to the Walled Garden Marquee in the Rose Garden for this one. Expect a slew of amazing local brews available all day long, with the full line-up announced closer to the time, and the daytime will have loads of rides, games and activities for the kids to enjoy too.
Friends of Temple Newsam Beer Festival takes over the Walled Garden Marquee, Temple Newsam on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd September 2017.
Inkwell Arts’ Autumn Mini Festival
Inkwell Arts’ Autumn Mini Festival is absolutely jam-packed with fun for all-ages. Helping to raise money for their great work in the community, they are putting on an artisan craft market, vintage stalls and live music to create a buzzing party in the middle of Chapel Allerton. Kids are well-catered for too, with a marquee outside where they can get their faces painted and help to build a cardboard city filled with lights.
Inkwell Arts’s Autumn Mini Festival takes over Inkwell Arts on Saturday 30th September 2017.