From unmissable operas to gigs and comedy, make July one to remember with these amazing events.
July is here and there are loads of fantastic events to enjoy in Leeds. You’ve got immense supper clubs, massive West End shows and a huge food and drink festival. That’s not to mention Opera North’s takeover of Millennium Square with club nights, gigs and film screenings. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg – so go ahead and find out what’s on in Leeds this July.
Picks of the Month
Huge gigs, West End musicals and the North’s biggest tattoo festival – these are the events you won’t want to miss this July.
Grease The Musical
Grease is one of the most popular films of all time and now the hit West End musical is taking over Leeds Grand Theatre for a huge month-long run. Prepare to join childhood sweethearts Danny and Sandy as their whirlwind summer romance spills over into the new school year. Will the love last? You’ll find out as they sing tunes like ‘Summer Nights’ and ‘You’re the One That I Want’. Want to go? You can get tickets for just £19.78 with our fantastic offer.
Grease The Musical comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Wednesday 19th June to Saturday 20th July 2019.
Leeds Tattoo Expo
Leeds Tattoo Expo will return to First Direct Arena for its fifth annual celebration this July. They’ve drafted in over 170 artists from the UK and beyond ready to get you inked – there’s even a competition to showcase the best tattoos of the weekend. While you’re there, you can browse their market of handpicked traders, selling everything from t-shirts to taxidermy, and enjoy a jam-packed entertainment line-up including live music, fire breathers and piercing shows.
Leeds Tattoo Expo comes to First Direct Arena on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th July 2019.
Make It Harewood
Harewood House has teamed up with lifestyle magazine Hole & Corner to curate Make It Harewood, a weekend-long festival of crafts within the beautiful grounds. They got a selection of free demos alongside 45 in-depth workshops that start from just £5 – you can try everything from Spoon Carving to Wheel Thrown Pottery, but the headline event is a Model Making Workship from Aardman Studio, the creators of Wallace and Gromit. There’s street food, DJs and markets too.
Make It Harewood comes to Harewood House from Saturday 6th to Sunday 7th July 2019.
Jazz Leeds Festival
The city’s biggest jazz festival is back for 2019. Across four days, you can see top jazz artists in venues like The Wardrobe, Leeds College of Music and Carriageworks. This year’s headliner is the Electric Ladyland Big Band who will be joined by an array of big names, from Jazz and the Windrush to Leo Richardson. But that’s not all, because you can also check out jazz films, improv sessions and poetry nights.
Jazz Leeds Festival comes to various Leeds venues from Thursday 18th to Sunday 21st July 2019.
The Symphonic Sounds of Back to Basics
The Symphonic Sounds of Back to Basics is one of the biggest events on the city’s calendar as two Leeds institutions come together to throw one hell of a party. Get ready for the club night of the summer as the Orchestra of Opera North breathe new life into a set of dance anthems with help from Back to Basics’ Dave Beer and some of the best DJs in Leeds. You can see their special guests play their greatest hits, including Heather Small, Janice Robinson and Rowetta.
The Symphonic Sounds of Back to Basics takes over Millennium Square on Saturday 27th July 2019.
Food and Drink
Check out July’s top foodie events, with cocktail masterclasses, supper clubs and food festivals.
The Black Horse & Carriage
The Black Horse in Otley has been re-opened by the folk behind Kirkstall Brewery and the Brudenell Social Club, and to celebrate, they’re hiring a double-decker bus to take you to check it out. It costs £6 and will prick you up from Bundobust where you can have a beer and bite to eat. You’ll then board the bus and be ferried to The Cardigan Arms, the Brudenell and finally to The Black Horse before you’re dropped back in the centre of Leeds.
The Black Horse & Carriage starts in Leeds city centre on Saturday 6th July 2019.
Brew Con is taking over Northern Monk for its first ever Northern event. It’s a celebration of craft beer and home brewing across two days. You can enjoy talks from industry experts, an expo full of professionals from the world of craft beer and a host of informative workshops. They’re also hosting a home brew tasting where you can try out beers from amateur brewers. And if you get thirsty over the weekend, the Northern Monk will be open throughout.
BrewCon Leeds takes over Northern Monk on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th July 2019.
Neon Cactus x The Chilli Shop Supper Club
Oh mamma, this is going to be a hot one. Neon Cactus and The Chilli Shop are teaming up for their very first supper club this month. Neon’s chefs will create a one-off menu of tacos brought to life by The Chilli Shop’s hot sauces. It starts gets progressively hotter with every taco, so this isn’t for the faint-hearted. Each dish is paired with a special cooling cocktail, and once you’re done, you’ll get a Horchata ice lolly extinguisher.
Neon Cactus x The Chilli Shop Supper Club comes to Neon Cactus on Thursday 18th July 2019.
Horsforth Food and Drink Festival
Horsforth Food & Drink Festival is back. You can chow down on street food from local vendors or try a Man v Food challenge. Don’t worry, you’ll find oodles of delicious drinks to wash it down with. Take your pick from the real ale and gin bars or head to their Pimm’s and prosecco bar. Taking the kids? There’s loads to keep the little ones entertained, including a fun fair, a bouncy castle and a series of cooking classes.
Horsforth Food and Drink Festival takes over Hall Park from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July 2019.
Ox Club Grill Takeover
Water Lane Boathouse’s Summer Series continues with the Ox Club Grill Takeover. It’s a celebration of live fire cooking using local meats and vegetables. Ox Club will be joined by the likes of MorMor, Oh My Glaze, Nyama Choma and The Harewood Food and Drink Project. Northern Monk will be setting up a pop-up bar with all their craft beer goodness.
Ox Club Grill Takeover comes to Water Lane Boathouse on Saturday 20th July 2019.
Head to the city’s best music venues to see indie favourites, local newcomers and rock icons.
Eagles are one of the most successful bands of all time. They’ve sold over 150 million records and they’re coming to Leeds at the start of July to run through their extensive back catalogue of classic rock hits at First Direct Arena. They’re back in the city for the first time without the late Glenn Frey, but his son Deacon Frey and country legend Vince Gill have been added to their touring band. Expect all their biggest tunes, from ‘Hotel California’ to ‘Life in the Fast Lane’.
Eagles play First Direct Arena on Tuesday 2nd July 2019.
Atlanta singer-songwriter Mattiel came out of nowhere. Her debut self-titled album from 2017 proved to be one of the breakout records of last year thanks to tunes like the hypnotic ‘Count Your Blessings’. Fast forward 12 months and she’s back with her follow-up ‘Satis Factory’, another rock and roll meets 60s avant-garde tour-de-force, which she’s bringing to Brudenell Social Club for an intimate showcase.
Mattiel plays Brudenell Social Club on Monday 8th July 2019.
One of the most influential African bands of all time, Tinariwen are headlining Belgrave Music Hall this month as part of this year’s World Island. Records like ‘Imidiwan’, ‘Tassili’ and ‘Emmaar’ have shown their unique ability to fuse together bluesy, guitar-led rock and roll with traditional West African music. They’ll play through their biggest hits and show off their soon-to-be-released eighth album ‘Amajdar’.
Tinariwen plays Belgrave Music Hall on Saturday 13th July 2019.
Garbage were one of the biggest bands of the 1990s, led by Scottish singer Shirley Manson. Their post-grunge debut album, and follow-ups ‘Version 2.0’, ‘Beautiful Garbage’ and ‘Bleed Like Me’ produced hit single after hit single, and 25 years after they formed, they’re still going strong. Expect them to play all their biggest anthems, from ‘Stupid Girl’ to ‘Why Do You Love Me’.
Garbage play O2 Academy Leeds on Monday 15th July 2019.
If you want to check out one of the best new bands in Leeds, head to the Brudenell Social Club at the end of July to see Shadowlark. This is 80s synth pop merged with modern indie rock under a gloriously gloomy spell. Tunes like ‘Hunger’ and ‘See Each Other Right’ have already seen them play festivals like Glastonbury, so check them out before they hit the big time.
Shadowlark play Brudenell Social Club on Friday 26th July 2019.
Need a laugh? There’s a stellar line-up of stand-up comedians coming to Leeds this month.
Group Therapy Comedy is back at Duke Studios for its monthly showcase with a star-studded line-up. Heading up the bill is Paul Foot, one of the most unusual stand-ups in the UK. He’s made a name for himself on shows like Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Mock the Week, now he’s previewing his brand new show before he takes it to Edinburgh Fringe in August.
Paul Foot plays Duke Studios on Friday 5th July 2019.
He’s one of the stars of Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner and ITV2’s Plebs, but Tom Rosenthal is now heading out on a brand new stand-up tour. He’s bringing ‘Manhood’ to The Wardrobe for an intimate preview show that will see him tell the story of how he’s spent the majority of his life trying to avenge the theft of his foreskin.
Tom Rosenthal plays The Wardrobe on Wednesday 17th July 2019.
Reginald D. Hunter
Born in America, but now very much a stand-up star on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, Reginald D. Hunter is bringing his Edinburgh Fringe show to Leeds for an intimate warm-up. ‘The Brand New, Full-Throated Adventures of Reginald D. Hunter’ sees him in his typically honest fashion as he recounts tales of his 20-year career in show business.
Reginald D. Hunter plays The Wardrobe on Friday 26th July 2019.
After a series of sell-out shows at The Wardrobe in 2018, James Acaster is back in Leeds with his biggest show in the city to date. His ‘Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999’ tour starts with a story about lasagne he heated up and didn’t like, but ended up eating later on when it went cold. Filled with self-hatred, it led him back to 1999, at a time when he wasn’t so disgusted with himself – expect madcap tales told in a fashion only Acaster could.
James Acaster plays Leeds Grand Theatre on Sunday 28th July 2019.
Micky P Kerr
He’s the Leeds legend who made it all the way to the finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2018, now Micky P Kerr is bringing his forthcoming Edinburgh Fringe show to the intimate surroundings of Hyde Park Book Club for an exclusive performance. His blend of hilarious storytelling and inventive music will leave you rolling in the aisles.
Micky P Kerr plays Hyde Park Book Club on Sunday 28th July 2019.
From huge musicals to murder mysteries, there’s plenty on at the city’s theatres.
You can see this year’s graduating students from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in full flow at Future Now. This special showcase will give you the chance to check out the stars of tomorrow as they perform their own choreography, alongside exclusive commissions by the likes of Antonia Grove, Vinicius Salles and Alleyne Dance.
Future Now takes over The Riley Theatre from Wednesday 3rd to Saturday 6th July 2019.
Northern Ballet Expressions 2019
Back for its sixth year, Expressions is your chance to check out exciting new works from the best inclusive dance groups in Yorkshire and beyond. Northern Ballet are giving a platform to the region’s grassroots companies which will see talented disabled dancers from across the region given a chance to perform on a professional stage.
Northern Ballet Expressions 2019 comes to The Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th July 2019.
Slung Low Shorts
Slung Low Shorts is coming to The Holbeck this July and its fourth showcase is going to be bigger than ever. With seven short shows in one sitting, it will provide an eclectic night of theatre. There’s something for everyone here as the works performed tackle everything from ventriloquism to the spirit world, troubled teens and restorative justice.
Slung Low Shorts comes to The Holbeck from Thursday 18th to Sunday 21st July 2019.
The Lady Vanishes
The Classic Thriller Theatre Company is back at Leeds Grand Theatre with a brand new adaptation of the much-loved Alfred Hitchcock film, The Lady Vanishes. Starring Emmy Award-winner Juliet Mills and Dynasty’s Maxwell Caulfield, this fun, witty show will take you on a train journey with socialite Iris. Chaos ensues when her travelling companion Miss Froy disappears, but she teams up with musician Max to work out her mysterious whereabouts.
The Lady Vanishes comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 22nd to Saturday 27th July 2019.
Rock of Ages
It’s been a sell-out success across the world, and now the West End smash hit Rock of Ages is taking over Leeds on a huge UK tour starring Strictly Come Dancing’s Kevin Clifton. This is an 80s rock & roll musical entwined within an LA love story. You’re taken to the heart of the city where dreams are just as big as the hair. Can love survive the debauchery of the Bourbon Club? You’ll find out as your sing along to a stellar soundtrack of classic rock anthems.
Rock of Ages comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 29th July to Saturday 3rd August 2019.
Another month, another batch of intriguing exhibitions for you to see in Leeds’ galleries.
Alice Chandler: Open Studio
Alice Chandler is an artist and jeweller based in Leeds. Her work brings textiles, metal and woodwork together to create playful structures out of ordinary objects. She’s been working at The Tetley as part of their Associate Artists Programme and this is your chance to check out her work made while she’s been part of the scheme.
Alice Chandler: Open Studio comes to The Tetley from Wednesday 3rd to Wednesday 10th July 2019.
Metroplicity is an exhibition by printmaker Susie Rumsby. She uses her linocuts and screenprints to re-imagine the cities of Leeds and Portland, Oregon. Her prints use multiplying and layering techniques which allow her to put her own spin on landmarks and buildings. Take the Brutalist lecture halls of the University of Leeds as an example, which Rumsby reconfigures into space stations.
Metroplicity Exhibition comes to Leeds Print Workshop from Friday 5th July to Sunday 4th August 2019.
2019 Left Bank Leeds Art Prize Exhibition
There are over 50 artists in the running for the 2019 Left Bank Leeds Art Prize and you can see their work in the showcase exhibition at Left Bank this July. This year’s theme is ‘connection’ and each artist has submitted their own works on whatever medium they see fit which will make for an eclectic interpretation of the subject matter.
2019 Left Bank Leeds Art Prize Exhibition comes to Left Bank Leeds from Wednesday 17th to Saturday 20th July 2019.
How to be a Dyslexic Artist & Other Stories
How to be a Dyslexic Artist & Other Stories is a short course run at The Tetley throughout the year led by artist and consultant Benedict Phillips. This is your chance to see what they’ve been up to as the dyslexic participants created an alternative persona using a personal manifesto, props and costumes. The result is an eclectic array of artworks and a studio portrait of each person on the course.
How to be a Dyslexic Artist & Other Stories comes to The Tetley from Wednesday 17th July to Sunday 29th September 2019.
Construct: The 62 Group of Textile Artists
The 62 Group of Textile Artists is a collective of creatives who primarily work using textiles and they’re bringing a brand new show to Sunny Bank Mills this July. Construct has challenged them to create a rich range of works using textile construction techniques, diverse materials and various structural forms in response to the old mill buildings.
Construct: The 62 Group of Textile Artists comes to Sunny Bank Mills from Saturday 20th July to Sunday 15th September 2019.
Club nights & DJs
From courtyard parties to new drum & bass nights, get yourself down to Leeds’ clubs this July.
Distrikt Courtyard Party
Kadence Underground and Material are joining forces to throw a huge courtyard party at Distrikt. The shindig starts from 2pm and promises a feast of house, minimal, disco and techno. Material resident OB is the headliner and he’ll be joined by a stellar supporting cast including Soulcat, Nicoloau and Jamie Minto.
Distrikt Courtyard Party comes to Distrikt on Saturday 6th July 2019.
If you love techno and classic acid house, 909//303 is the club night to be at this month. It’s taking over Beaver Works with two rooms of DJs spinning anthems until 6am. The 303 Machine Room promises the best in acid with Chris Liberator, Sterling Moss and Tassid, while the 909 Machine Room is dedicated to techno beats as Ben Long, Trevor Rockcliffe and Mark EG take over.
909//303 comes to Beaver Works on Saturday 6th July 2019.
Cocoon in the Park
July is the end of an era for one dance music institution. Cocoon in the Park will take over Temple Newsam for one last massive blowout party. The festival’s founder Sven Väth will headline and he’ll be joined by an incredible line-up of DJs. Carl Craig, Patrick Topping, Eats Everything, Alan Fitzpatrick and Enzo Siragusa will keep you grooving until the very last beat.
Cocoon in the Park comes to Temple Newsam on Saturday 13th July 2019.
Decibel Launch Party
Decibel is launching a brand new club night in Leeds. Head to The Old Red Bus Station for the best in UK bassline, drum and bass and hard house for a night that promises to be one of the best in the city. For their first bash, they’ve gone all out with the scene’s biggest names – Mikey B and Shaun Dean are headlining with Jack Junior, Vital Techniques and Decibel resident DJs joining them.
Decibel Launch Party comes to The Old Red Bus Station on Saturday 13th July 2019.
Want to relive the good ol’ days of the 80s? Get down to Millennium Square this month for 80’s Classical to see the biggest hits of the decade transformed. Original artists like Jimmy Somerville, Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw and Johnny Hates Jazz will perform their iconic songs live backed by the 60-piece Orchestra of Opera North as they turn pop classics into symphonic gems.
80’s Classical comes to Millennium Square on Friday 26th July 2019.
Families have plenty to look forward to this July, with theatre, picnics and outdoor play areas.
Time Travellers Weekend
You can wander through history at Temple Newsam this month. The Time Travellers Weekend is full of family-friendly fun as you get to meet Anglo Saxon warriors, terrible Tudors and Victorian butlers. You can try your hand at dancing, Medieval tile making and sword fighting or get crafty in one of their workshops which are themed around different times in history.
Time Travellers Weekend comes to Temple Newsam on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th July 2019.
Picnic On The Park
Beckett Park is one of the city’s most picturesque green spaces, and this July, it’ll be opened to the public for a day of family fun which will help raise funds to keep this incredible green space maintained for the next year. You can bring your own picnic or head to one of their cake stands. The kids can play games and join workshops as the Bassa Bassa Band and Headingley Voices provide the day’s entertainment.
Picnic On The Park comes to Beckett Park on Sunday 7th July 2019.
Pride and Prejudice Outdoor Theatre
Chapterhouse Theatre Company are back at Harewood House this month for their annual shows. This July, you can step back in time for Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth loathes Mr Darcy when she first meets him, but there’s more to Darcy than meets the eye. She soon falls in love but their romance isn’t all plain sailing. Remember to bring picnics, folding chairs and blankets with you.
Pride and Prejudice Outdoor Theatre comes to Harewood House on Saturday 13th July 2019.
Monarchs – George III
The latest in the Monarchs series at the Royal Armouries will focus on George III. You’ll be taken back to 1804 when Napoleon was massing his Grande Armée on the continent as King George assessed the armoury. The Earl of Chatham tried to convince him everything was ready to protect the country, but you don’t get a nickname like The Mad King for listening to people. Expect costumed characters, live combat demonstrations and object handling sessions across the weekend.
Monarchs – George III comes to the Royal Armouries on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st July 2019.
Create : Sculpt : Play
Victoria Gardens will be transformed into an artistic playground this month for Create : Sculpt : Play in conjunction with Leeds Art Gallery. There will be creative workshops throughout the day and you can join them at anytime. Head to the table to do some colouring, grab the chalks and draw on the pavement or take part in one of the many games they’ve lined up.
Create : Sculpt : Play comes to Victoria Gardens from Saturday 20th July to Sunday 4th August 2019.
There are loads of festivals to make the most of in July, whether you want latin music, club anthems or local produce.
Kirkstall Festival: Kirkstall on t’Farm
Kirkstall Festival returns to the abbey this July. Over 28,000 people are expected to visit throughout the day and there’s something for everyone. You can head to the fairground, enjoy live entertainment at eight different stages and tuck into food and drink. There will also be a parade and a chance to buy local produce in their market area.
Kirkstall Festival: Kirkstall on t’Farm comes to Kirkstall Abbey on Saturday 13th July 2019.
Leeds Health and Healing Festival
Leeds Health and Healing Festival will take over John Charles Centre for Sport this year. The new space means they will have two marquees for their talk rooms, which are set to host 24 workshops and demonstrations across the weekend. You can also visit their marketplace, where you can meet vendors, discuss their treatments and even try them out for yourself.
Leeds Health Healing and Wellbeing Festival comes to John Charles Centre for Sport on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th July 2019.
Are you ready for a night of massive Ibiza hits reimagined by a live orchestra? Get down to Harewood House for Classic Ibiza. The Urban Soul Orchestra is joining forces with DJ Goldierocks and three live vocalists as they put their own unique spin on three decades of the biggest hits from the island of dance music. It’s a family-friendly show that will kick off with a chill-out set before they turn the Balearic beats up and play classics like ‘You Got the Love’.
Classic Ibiza comes to Harewood House on Saturday 20th July 2019.
Move to the rhythm of Latin music this month as ¡VAMOS! returns to Millennium Square. It’s one of the biggest Spanish and Portuguese language cultural festivals in the UK, curated by Leeds legend DJ Lubi. It has a top music programme as Son Yambu, Mestiza and the Sueli Gil Band take to the stage. You can also enjoy Latin American street food, take part in dance workshops or bring the kids for their family-friendly activities.
¡VAMOS! comes to Millennium Square on Sunday 21st July 2019.
RadhaRaman Folk Festival
The RadhaRaman Folk Festival is an annual three-day celebration of Bengali culture and folk music at venues across Leeds. This year, you can check out Dhamail dance performers at the Bangladesh centre, see a seraphic recital of Vaishnav music at Seven Arts and enjoy a night of informal music, dance and poetry deep within Otley Chevin.
RadhaRaman Folk Festival comes to various Leeds venues from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July 2019.
Best of the Rest
From tennis on the big screen to Jurassic Park with a live orchestra, this is the best of the rest this July.
You don’t have to miss a minute of this year’s Wimbledon tennis championships because you can see it at Millennium Square every day. It will be lined with astroturf and covered with deckchairs, benches and its very own ice cream van. It’s the perfect place to see the world’s best in action up on the big screen.
Wimbledon Screenings take over Millennium Square from Monday 1st to Sunday 14th July 2019.
The Space Shed
In 2010, Jon Spooner set up the Unlimited Space Agency and he now travels around in its mobile headquarters, The Space Shed, to teach people about the universe in a family-friendly way. This is a fun all-day event that kicks off with a show called How to Save the Planet before you take part in Q&As and workshops. That’s followed by another show, How I Hacked My Way Into Space and the day ends with a Silent Disco.
The Space Shed comes to The Holbeck on Saturday 13th July 2019.
Charity Canal Challenge
Have you walked the Leeds Liverpool Canal before? Now’s your chance to do it for a great cause. Leeds Cares is hosting the Charity Canal Challenge this month and you can walk or run along the canal to help them raise money. There are three different routes to choose from, 5, 14 or 29-miles, and each one ends at Granary Wharf where they will have games, entertainment and food and drink.
Charity Canal Challenge comes to the city’s waterfront on Sunday 14th July 2019.
Leeds Championship Dog Show
The Leeds Championship Dog Show is one of the biggest outdoor dog shows in the UK and it’s serious business. Pooches will compete against each other for a chance to be crowned ‘Best in Show’ and win a place at the world’s most famous dog show, Crufts. It’s been on the city’s event calendar for 36 years, and it promises to be a great day out, especially if you love dogs.
Leeds Championship Dog Show comes to Harewood House from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July 2019.
Jurassic Park Live
You can see Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster like never before in Millennium Square this month. They’re putting Jurassic Park back on the big screen, but this time, it has a twist. The 60-piece Orchestra of Opera North will take to the stage to perform John Williams’ award-winning score live as the film plays.
Jurassic Park Live comes to Millennium Square on Sunday 28th July 2019.Cover image credit Manuel Harlan.