From unmissable operas to gigs and comedy, make February one to remember with these amazing events.
February is here and there are loads of fantastic events to enjoy in Leeds. You’ve got huge opera productions, immense street food events and the return of Ice Cube to Millennium Square. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg – so go ahead and find out what’s on in Leeds this February.
Picks of the Month
A rock icon, a seductive opera and a week-long celebration of the city’s restaurants – these are the events you won’t want to miss this February.
February is here and it marks the return of Ice Cube. The pop-up ice rink is back for the entire month, and once again, it’s indoors, so you don’t have to worry about the weather. You can head straight out onto the ice or get lessons from their coaches – and if you’re bringing the little ones, they have special penguin skating aids to help them find their feet. They’ve also got winter themed fair rides and an alpine cafe for a post-skate cuppa.
Ice Cube takes over Millennium Square from Friday 2nd to Sunday 25th February 2018.
If you love chicken wings, you’ll want to start February at Belgrave Music Hall. Wingin’ It is a whole day dedicated to the humble chicken wing, and they’ve invited a bunch of traders from Leeds and beyond to show off their own versions. Fu-Schnickens will serve up their Korean eats, while Wholesome Junkies cook up vegan wings and MOJO bring their notoriously hot wings. They’ve also got examples from Oh My Glaze and Patty Smith’s, with cocktails from Redondo Beach and DJs all day long.
Wingin’ It takes over Belgrave Music Hall on Saturday 3rd February 2018.
Opera North is bringing Don Giovanni to Leeds this February. Alessandro Talevi is directing this production, which will bring new life to Mozart’s darkest opera. It follows one of the world’s most famous anti-heroes, Don Giovanni, in a tense but quick-paced story. He’s a serial seducer determined to get as many notches on his bedpost as possible – and he doesn’t care what he has to do to get them. He beds 1003 women in Spain alone, but a man with so many victims, inevitably has enemies – so expect a dramatic twist.
Don Giovanni is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Saturday 17th February to Saturday 3rd March 2018.
Eat Leeds Restaurant Week
Eat Leeds Restaurant Week is back this February with even more offers. After the success of its first week of bargain eats, they’ve got a brand new batch for the city’s foodies to tuck into. 100 of the city’s best restaurants are putting together specially crafted set menus for £10 or £15, as well as one-off tasting menus for £30 – which means you’ve got one week to eat in places like Neighbourhood, Red’s True BBQ and Issho for an absolute snip.
Eat Leeds Restaurant Week takes over the city’s restaurants from Monday 19th to Sunday 25th February 2018.
Paul Weller is coming back to Leeds this month and The Modfather has a new album to show off. Last year’s ‘A Kind Revolution’ was the former Jam frontman’s 13th solo record and it’s another example of his continuous evolution as a songwriter. He’ll also be dipping into his back catalogue, so expect a few cuts from albums like ‘Stanley Road’, ‘As Is Now’ and ’Wake Up the Nation’, as well as classics from The Jam.
Paul Weller plays First Direct Arena on Friday 23rd February 2018.
Food and Drink
Check out February’s top foodie events, with tap takeovers, beer festivals and a day dedicated to chicken wings.
The V Word
The Jungle Kitchen will be cooking up a brunch with a difference this month. They’re taking over the kitchen of Mans Market for a 4-course vegan set menu, followed by a talk about getting all the nutrition you need from a vegan diet. You’ll get to try delicious, vegan-friendly dishes like their greens rosti with tempeh bacon, tofu scramble and smoky beans, as well as sourdough French toast with caramelised bananas and vanilla cream. You’ll also get a goodie bag to take home full of treats and recipes.
The V Word takes over Mans Market on Saturday 3rd February 2018.
Indian Tasting Menu with Freda Shafi
The Mustard Pot is teaming up with Yorkshire-based food blogger & stylist Freda Shafi for an evening of delicious curry. She’s worked hand-in-hand with Head Chef Jonathan Westwick to create 5 courses that will bring together a medley of traditional Indian flavours – expect modern twists on old classics, like guinea fowl biryani, spiced sea bass and tandoori venison.
Indian Tasting Menu with Freda Shafi takes place at The Mustard Pot on Thursday 8th February 2018.
Burnt Mill Tap Takeover
New Suffolk brewery Burnt Mill are heading North this February to introduce their new project, which focusses on fresh, unfiltered beers. They’re doing a tap takeover at North Bar – Head Brewer Sophie De Ronde will be giving a talk in the afternoon as part of the Brewers Journal Lecture Series, and then in the evening, they’ll showcase their new brews.
Burnt Mill Tap Takeover comes to North Bar on Thursday 8th February 2018.
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Bar
One of the best things about February is Shrove Tuesday and Angelica will be celebrating with a day of American-style pancakes. You can choose from 10 different toppings, including Nutella, banana and bacon with maple syrup. Why not try something a little bit different, like Bailey’s cream with rum ’n’ raisin ice cream? You can get with three large pancakes for £9 from 10am to 10pm on Pancake Day.
The Pancake Bar will be available at Angelica on Tuesday 13th February 2018.
Boston Spa Beer Festival
The Boston Spa Beer Festival is celebrating a major landmark in 2018 – its their 10th anniversary, so they’re going all out to celebrate. Expect a range of beers from local breweries, as well as wine, cider and street food. They’ve also got an impressive array of live music across two days, as the likes of The Florins, Rocket 88 and The Reason play. But, you’ll also be giving something back, as the festival helps to raise funds for St Mary’s School and local charities.
Boston Spa Beer Festival takes over Boston Spa Village Hall on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th February 2018.
Head to the city’s best music venues to see indie legends, folk favourites and new rising stars.
Los Angeles four piece The Americans are ones to watch in 2018 and you can see them in the intimate surroundings of Brudenell Social Club this month. They blend Americana with classic rock’n’roll to create rip-roaring songs, which will make for a raucous live show – something they’ve become renowned for across the pond.
The Americans play Brudenell Social Club on Saturday 3rd February 2018.
The Go! Team
The Go! Team are one of the great survivors of the indie explosion of the noughties. 14 years since the release of the pounding, infectious debut album ‘Thunder, Lightning, Strike’, they’ve lost none of what made them great in the first place – irresistible indie rock anthems that sound like nothing else around. They’ll be playing Leeds ahead of the release of their fifth album ‘Semicircle’.
The Go! Team play The Wardrobe on Saturday 10th February 2018.
You’ve definitely heard Bilal before, but may not know the name. He’s collaborated with a who’s who of hip-hop artists, from Kendrick Lamar to The Roots, Jay-Z and even Beyoncé, but on his own, his shape-shifting neo soul tunes ooze a kind of cool many wish to have but struggle to master. In the intimate setting of Headrow House, you can get up close and personal with a proper star.
Bilal plays Headrow House on Sunday 18th February 2018.
Back in 2004, Willy Mason was responsible for one of the finest folk debut albums of the 21st century. ‘Where the Humans Eat’ was a captivating record, crowned by the singles ‘Oxygen’ and ‘So Long’, and he followed it up in 2007 with the equally brilliant ‘If the Ocean Gets Rough’. He’s only released the one record in the last decade, but 2018 is shaping up to be the year Mason once again proves he’s worth listening to.
Willy Mason plays Brudenell Social Club on Wednesday 21st February 2018.
Fancy seeing some of 2018’s most promising new artists? Head to Church at the end of February for the DIY Class of 2018 tour. It will be headlined by The 1975’s label-mates Pale Waves, and if you’re a fan of the former, chances are you’ll quickly fall in love with the latter’s deeply infectious gloomy indie pop. They’ll be joined by two other hot properties, with support from Our Girl and Bloxx.
Pale Waves play Church on Wednesday 28th February 2018.
Need a laugh? There’s a stellar line-up of stand-up comedians coming to Leeds this month.
John Bishop is Winging It this February as he returns to First Direct Arena for the first time in two years on his all-new tour. The Scouse favourite will take the stage to deliver his wry commentary on everyday life, so expect plenty of side-splitting laughs as he regales you with tall stories and hilarious jokes.
John Bishop comes to First Direct Arena on Saturday 3rd February 2018.
Shappi Khorsandi is weaving two lives into her brand new show at City Varieties this February. The stand-up comedienne is taking inspiration from Emma, Lady Hamilton, better known as the mistress of Lord Nelson, on her MIstress and Misfit tour. Expect razor-sharp wit, whip-cracking jokes, and clever observations as she flits between the narrative of her own life and that of the much-maligned Emma.
Shappi Khorsandi comes to City Varieties on Saturday 3rd February 2018.
You don’t often get the chance to see legendary Irish comic Ed Byrne in a venue as intimate as City Varieties, but this month, he’s giving you the opportunity – twice. Byrne is an observational comic of the highest standard, and his new show Spoiler Alert shows you why as he questions whether life is good or bad and whether we’re spoiled or justifiably angry with our lot – expect plenty of jokes on the way.
Ed Byrne comes to City Varieties on Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd February 2018.
Jonathan Pie is a comic who’s become famous in quite a unique way. Before he started putting out his spoof news reports from outside Westminster, few knew who he was, but after his cutting take on the political sphere went viral, he’s now a household name. His new electrifying show, Back to the Studio, sees the frustrated reporter back and angrier than ever, with plenty to moan about from Corbyn to May, Brexit to Trump.
Jonathan Pie comes to Leeds Town Hall on Friday 23rd February 2018.
If you’ve seen Joe Lycett on shows 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, QI or Mock the Week, you’ll know how naturally funny the Birmingham-based stand-up is. His new show, I’m About to Lose Control and I Think Joe Lycett, comes to City Varieties for two nights this February. He’ll regale you with jokes, paintings and highlights from his recent internet trolling escapades.
Joe Lycett comes to City Varieties on Sunday 25th February 2018.
From huge operas to war-inspired productions, there’s plenty on at the city’s theatres.
Un Ballo In Maschera
You can see one of Giuseppe Verdi’s finest operas at Leeds Grand Theatre. Opera North’s Un ballo in maschera tells the story of a tragic love triangle. It’s inspired by the real-life murder of King Gustavus of Sweden in 1792. Gustavus falls in love with Amelia, the wife of his loyal ally, Anckarstroem – but when his love rival discovers this, it leads to a murderous ball. This is your chance to hear one of Verdi’s most passionate love duets.
Un Ballo In Maschera is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Saturday 3rd February until Saturday 2nd March 2018.
Opera North is bringing Giacomo Puccini’s tragic story of love and betrayal back to Leeds Grand Theatre this month, with three of the original leads. Madama Butterfly will transport you to post-war Japan where Cio-Cio-San falls for American naval officer Pinkerton. She gives up everything for him, but he throws her away like trash, with tragic consequences. This is a tale of love and cruelty, told through some of Puccini’s most famous music, including ‘Un bel dì’ and the ‘Humming Chorus’.
Madama Butterfly comes to Leeds Grand Theatre until Wednesday 28th February 2018.
West Yorkshire Playhouse will mark the end of the First World War with a stage adaptation of Birdsong. It’s based on Sebastian Faulks’ acclaimed novel, which tells the heartbreaking love story of Stephen Wraysford and Isabelle Azaire. When war beaks out, Stephen is deployed to the Somme, and you’re taken into his increasingly fragile mind, where only thoughts of Isabelle keep him from losing his sanity as the horror of war is plays out before his eyes.
Birdsong comes to West Yorkshire Playhouse from Tuesday 13th to Saturday 17th February 2018.
This House comes to Leeds on the back of sell-out runs at The National Theatre and on the West End. James Graham’s brutally hilarious play focuses on the Labour and Tory whips’ offices, giving you a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes in the ‘Mother of all Parliaments’. You’ll be sent back to 1974, when Westminster was aching under the strain of a hung parliament, as the political parties battle for the country’s future.
This House comes to West Yorkshire Playhouse from Friday 23rd to Saturday 10th March 2018.
VERVE is back with its very first showcase of 2018. The postgraduate performance company of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance will present a programme of bold new works by internationally-acclaimed choreographers Hannes Langolf and Sita Ostheimer. You can also see a new work by VERVE Artistic Director Matthew Robinson and a re-working of Lenka Vagnerová’s award-winning ‘Riders’.
VERVE Premiere comes to The Riley Theatre on Friday 23rd and Sunday 24th February 2018.
Another month, another batch of intriguing exhibitions for you to see in Leeds’ galleries.
X: Phill Hopkins
X is a new retrospective exhibition by local artist Phill Hopkins which will take over Left Bank Leeds for the next two months. It showcases his work over the last ten years with a medley of drawings, paintings, photographs, prints, constructions and collages. He takes his inspiration from the narratives in the news media, and his work attempts to unravel the world we live in, as portrayed in the papers and on TV.
X: Phill Hopkins takes over Left Bank Leeds from Thursday 1st February to Thursday 29th March 2018.
Humans of Leeds Photography Exhibition
The second Humans of Leeds exhibition will take place at Holy Trinity Church this month. Entitled ‘Now Then’, the well known Yorkshire greeting, it presents the past and the present side by side. The exhibition will highlight the forgotten generation of older people in and around Leeds in an attempt to celebrate their lives, achievements and contributions.
Humans of Leeds Photography Exhibition “Now Then” takes over Holy Trinity Church from Monday 5th to Saturday 17th February 2018.
Mahbub Jokhio: In The City of Lost Times
In The City of Lost Times is Pakistani artist Mahbub Jokhio’s first UK solo show. It’s an exhibition of photography and film that focusses on a rather unusual subject – graveyards. In Pakistan, they’re seen as spaces just for the dead, so they’re rarely visited, but in his work, Jokhio suggests they’re places where the living and the dead can exist side-by-side. You’ll see images and films of everyday acts within the graveyard setting, evoking ideas of love, grief and identity.
Mahbub Jokhio: In The City of Lost Times takes over The Tetley from Friday 9th February to Sunday 22nd April 2018.
The House that Heals the Soul
The House that Heals the Soul is a unique attraction – it is both an exhibition and a functioning publishing studio. It first took place in Glasgow and has now extended its work to Leeds. You can see the work of a dozen international artists and collectives, as they question the role of libraries today and in the past. Are they devoted to learning and creation? Are they havens? What role do they play in art? You’ll get an answer to these questions, and you can contribute yourself, as they invite you to read, write and self-publish, in an exhibition that’s ever-changing.
The House that Heals the Soul takes over The Tetley from Friday 9th February to Sunday 22nd April 2018.
Thomas Chippendale, 1718-1779
Thomas Chippendale is one of Britain’s most celebrated carpenters, and this exhibition will showcase the life, work and legacy of the Otley-born designer. He’s responsible for some of the most beautiful and sought-after furniture of the 1700s and you can see some of his finest work here. You’ll learn how he came from humble beginnings in the Yorkshire countryside to become one of the most in-demand carpenters in the country.
Thomas Chippendale, 1718-1779 takes over Leeds City Museum from Friday 9th February to Sunday 10th June 2018.
Clubnights & DJs
From birthdays and anniversaries to a night dedicated to one of the biggest hip-hop stars in the world, get yourself down to Leeds’ clubs this February.
System 10th Birthday
System is now a legendary Leeds club night, so it’s only right that it celebrates a decade of house music with a massive party at Mint Club. They’ve got a trio of almighty headliners sorted, as Enzo Siragusa, Archie Hamilton and Rossko play back-to-back, while Treatment, Praslea, Annie Errez, Bobby O’Donnell support.
System 10th Birthday takes place at Mint Club on Saturday 3rd February 2018.
DAMN. The Kendrick Lamar Dance
The HiFi Club are dedicating a whole night to Kendrick Lamar this month ahead of the Compton superstar’s massive UK tour. Gold Teeth are celebrating the great man’s back catalogue, delving into the archives to play banger after banger all night long, from ‘King Kunta’ to ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’, ‘Loyalty’ and ‘A.D.H.D.’
DAMN. The Kendrick Lamar Dance takes over The HiFi Club on Thursday 8th February 2018.
Festival of the Dead
Festival of the Dead will put on one heck of a night this February. It’s a Day of the Dead-themed fiesta with carnival vibes, circus performers and even a giant skull procession. The soundtrack is as good as the entertainment, as their DJs flit between house hits, bass bangers and garage greats, with a bit of a Latino twist in there as the night goes on.
Festival of the Dead takes over Church on Saturday 10th February 2018.
Huey Morgan’s NYC Block Party
Get the feeling of The Big Apple without leaving Leeds as New York’s own Fun Lovin’ Criminal Huey Morgan takes to the decks at The Wardrobe for a big old fashioned Block Party, NYC-style. He’ll be spinning classic funk, soul, disco and hip-hop tunes all night long, but setting them up battle-style, so you can shout out for your favourite tunes. Dancing shoes most definitely at the ready.
Huey Morgan’s NYC Block Party takes place at The Wardrobe on Saturday 17th February 2018.
Canal Mills presents Bugzy Malone & More
Party until 5am with Manchester’s finest grime superstar Bugzy Malone. He’s coming across the Pennines to headline an all-nighter at Canal Mills to celebrate the release of his new album ‘King of the North’. The Mancunian has well and truly established himself as the face of grime outside London, and it’s safe to say he’s only getting better. Look out for a support bill featuring some of the UK’s best up-and-coming grime artists.
Canal Mills presents Bugzy Malone & More takes over Canal Mills on Saturday 24th February 2018.
Families have plenty to look forward to in Leeds this February, with theatre, teen music icons and a chance to become a doctor for the day.
Got little scientists at home? Take them down to Thackray Medical Museum this February, where they can have a go in the operating theatre. The kids will become the doctor at Junior Surgeon, as they get to grips with dissecting a kidney, before trying to stitch it back together using special techniques they’ll be taught on the day.
Junior Surgeon takes place at Thackray Medical Museum from Monday 12th to Friday 23rd February 2018.
This month, Royal Armouries is going back in time to celebrate the earliest female role models in history. They’re focusing on the Warrior Women, who had to fight to earn their social standing in ancient time. From the Vikings to the Romans, you’ll be able to see how they did it, through talks, special displays, performances and combat demonstrations.
Warrior Women takes place at Royal Armouries from Tuesday 13th to Wednesday 21st February 2018.
A Morning with Jacqueline Wilson
You can meet one of the most popular children’s authors in the UK this month, as Jacqueline Wilson comes to Leeds Carriageworks for a one-off event. She’ll take to the stage to talk through her most famous characters, from Tracy Beaker to Ruby & Garnet. She’s going to read through a few pages of her newest book, Wave Me Goodbye, which goes back to the start of World War Two – you might even be able to pick up an autograph while you’re there.
A Morning with Jacqueline Wilson takes place at Carriageworks Theatre on Thursday 15th February 2018.
Max & Harvey
If you’ve got teenagers in your midst, you’ve probably heard of Max & Harvey. They’re twin brothers who’ve become a viral sensation with the cover songs they’ve posted on YouTube. In fact, they’ve become so popular that they’re heading out on a big UK tour, stopping at Leeds University Union – they’re not even old enough to enroll here yet, but they’re bound to be the most popular kids on campus.
Max & Harvey take over Leeds University Union on Thursday 15th February 2018.
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs 2: The Magic Cutlass
After the huge success of their first two shows, David Walliams’ The First Hippo on the Moon and Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, Les Petits Theatre Company are at it again with a sequel. Flinn and his school friends Pearl and Tom will go on another adventure when their old nemsis, Mr T the T-Rex kidnaps them in an attempt to find The Magic Cutlass, a sword which grants the holder any wish. It’s an incredible journey that features dinosaurs, the deep sea and even smelly sausages.
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs 2: The Magic Cutlass takes over Carriageworks Theatre on Saturday 24th February 2018.
There are loads of festivals to make the most of in February, whether you want cinema, pirate metal or a Brazilian carnival.
BANFF Mountain Film Festival 2018
The BANFF Mountain Film Festival is back in Leeds for another two-night showcase of extraordinary short films. They’ll follow the some of the most incredible adventurers from around the world, showing you all of their exploits from adrenaline-packed sports to inspirational journeys to far-flung shores.
BANFF Mountain Film Festival 2018 takes over Leeds Town Hall on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th February 2018.
Indie Banquet VII
It’s hard to believe we’re already on the seventh Indie Banquet, but they’ve announced another jam-packed evening of indie rock and street food this February. Get down to Wharf Chambers to see Vulgarians, Treeboy & Arc, Hotel Lux, Melt Dunes and Hamer, with food courtesy of Little Bao Boy and Vegan Fried Chicken.
Indie Banquet VII takes place at Wharf Chambers on Saturday 17th February 2018.
Toshocon is a family-friendly mini comic-con taking place at Leeds Central Library this month. If you’re mad on sci-fi, anime or manga, head down for an afternoon and play on old school games consoles or pick up some cool collectables. There’s also a Maid Cafe, where waitresses are dressed in full cosplay to serve you your lunch, and don’t forget to make sure you don your own costumes.
Toshocon takes place at Leeds Central Library on Saturday 17th February 2018.
Pirate metal fans, rejoice – there’s a whole evening of it planned at Leeds University Union this February. It’s headlined by the genre’s leading exponents, Scottish favourites Alestorm, who are celebrating the release of their fifth album, ‘No Grave But The Sea’. To make a proper show out of it, they’ve invited two of their favourite bands to join in on the fun as The Dread Crew of Oddwood and Rumahoy support.
Piratefest takes over Leeds University Union on Tuesday 20th February 2018.
Brazilian Carnaval Party
Get into the samba spirit by heading along to the Brazilian Carnaval Party at Belgrave Music Hall. Now in its 22nd year, organisers DJ Lubi and DJ Fabio Bahia are at it again in 2018. They’re bringing together DJs like Bruno Carmargo with samba drummers, musicians, capoeira performers and samba dancers. And of course, the bar will be serving caipirinhas to celebrate in style.
Brazilian Carnaval Party takes over Belgrave Music Hall on Saturday 24th February 2018.
Best of the Rest
From the Chinese New Year to political protests, this is the best of the rest this February.
Opera North’s The Kingdom under the Sea
Introduce the kids to the world of opera this month, with a special pop-up show by Opera North. The Kingdom Under the Sea is a storytelling experience inspired by Japanese folk stories and Opera North’s production of Madama Butterfly. You’ll go on a magical adventure to the bottom of the ocean, visit the majestic palace of The Dragon King, ride the shell of a turtle and discover a mysterious treasure.
Opera North’s The Kingdom Under the Sea takes place at Leeds Central Library on Saturday 3rd February 2018.
Chinese New Year Celebration
As is now tradition, Leeds Town Hall will kick off February with a massive Chinese New Year Celebration. The Leeds Chinese Community School is organising an evening of incredible performances, including music from the 60-piece Chinese Traditional Music Orchestra based in Guangzhou.
Chinese New Year Celebration takes place at Leeds Town Hall on Monday 5th February 2018.
An Evening with Suggs
The Madness frontman is headed out on his second stage tour of the UK. ‘My Life Story’ detailed how he got to where he has, but his new show, ‘What A King Cnut’, tells us of the surprises that awaited him when he did. From getting vertigo on the roof of Buckingham Palace to watching his underpants fall to earth on Bowie’s driveway, it’s one hell of an evening – he might even throw in a few classic tunes for good measure.
An Evening with Suggs takes place at Leeds Town Hall on Thursday 15th February 2018.
Talking Histories: Leeds Zoo
Head to Left Bank Leeds this month for another night of Talking Histories, an evening dedicated to the city’s past. This time, they’re focusing on the short-lived, but much talked about Leeds Zoo on Cardigan Road. It opened in 1840, but only lasted for 8 years – you can still see remnants to this day though, including the original bear pit.
Talking Histories: Leeds Zoo takes place at Left Bank Leeds on Thursday 15th February 2018.
Leeds Stand Up to Trump Protest Rally
Donald Trump may have cancelled his state visit to the UK, but the protests organised against the President of the United States are still going ahead. Alongside the main march in London, there will be a sister protest in Leeds city centre outside Leeds Art Gallery. It’s ‘opposing Trump’s racism, xenophobia, sexism and bigotry and again Theresa May’s complicity towards his awful attitudes.’ Placards at the ready.
Leeds Stand Up to Trump Protest Rally takes place outside Leeds Art Gallery on Monday 26th February 2018.