February is jam-packed with amazing events to go to, so it’s time to fill up your diary with the very best.
It may be a short month, but February is packed to the rafters with events that are simply too good to miss. From stellar gigs to hilarious comedians, popular operas, art exhibitions and much more, you certainly won’t be stuck for choice.
Picks of the Month
One of the hottest bands in the UK comes to Leeds this month, alongside the return of a icy wonderland for all the family and bingo like you’ve never seen – these are our top picks from February.
It’s bingo that’s stayed up all night, wired on caffeine – utterly bonkers. Having made a huge success out of events in manchester and Liverpool, it’s made a home at Canal Mills. It’s like playing old school bingo at a clubnight, with proper cards and dabbers, interspersed with crazy dancing, sing-a-longs and chances to win ‘$hit prizes’ as well as really, bloody good ones.
Bongo’s Bingo is at Canal Mills on February 10th February 2016.
His sardonic, often defensive brand of comedy certainly splits people’s opinions on Stewart Lee. Yet at the same time, he’s rightly recognised as one of the smartest and most opinionated comics on the circuit. You get the chance to see him this February as he brings his A Room With A Stew tour to Leeds in preparation for the return of his Comedy Vehicle show to BBC2.
Stewart Lee plays West Yorkshire Playhouse on Wednesday 10th February 2016.
The QI Elves
The brain boxes behind the bizarre and sensational factoids dished up by Stephen Fry on the QI telly show created an award-winning podcast as an extension of the show. That was then turned it into a live show at the Edinburgh Fringe last year, and they’re coming to Leeds on their first ever tour, entitled No Such Thing As A Fish, which will surprise, humour and educate in equal measure.
The QI Elves are at Leeds City Varieties on Friday 12th February 2016.
They’ve spent the past decade slowly turning themselves into one of the best bands in the country, and 2016 will see Foals cement that title on their biggest UK tour to date. They’re showing off fourth album ‘What Went Down’ at First Direct Arena this February as well as shuttling through classics like ‘Cassius’, ‘Spanish Sahara’ and ‘Inhaler’
Foals play First Direct Arena on Saturday 20th February 2016.
February wouldn’t be the same without Millennium Square being taken over by a huge ice skating rink. Ice Cube is back for 2016, and alongside the skating, there’ll be the Capital FM snowslide, North Pole Starflyer, a nursery rink for those under 8 and the Dolomites Cafe by Casa Mia. Certainly a great day out, whatever your age.
Ice Cube is at Millennium Square until Sunday 21st February 2016.
Food & Drink
From dabbling in a wee dram of whiskey to a traditional Spanish dinner and a night pairing food with a craft beer, foodies are well catered for in February.
Jameson Tasting Session
Purveyors of memorable nights out in Leeds, Mojo are inviting folk into their very special Jameson Tasting Session this February. You’ll get the chance to try old favourites as well as a few special items, including the Select Reserve, and Jameson Caskmates. You’ll also be taught how to make the perfect Irish coffees whiskey punch and whiskey sour, and all for a tenner.
Jameson’s Tasting Session is at Mojo on Thursday 4th February 2016.
Calçotada Popular 2016
In Spain, every February they celebrate the Calçotada, the harvest of the calçot, a type of spring onion. Getting in on the festivities this year is The Calls restaurant Ambiente, with a three course meal which will feature these delicacies barbecued on the grill, wrapped in newspaper and served on a terracotta tile before you dunk them in salvitxada or romesco source. Yum.
Calçotada Popular 2016 is at Ambiente on Thursday 4th February 2016.
You should never pass up an opportunity to try out some glorious street food – and where’s the best place to do that in Leeds? Well, Belgrave Music Hall of course. They’re back for another day of amazing grub, craft beers, innovative art, music and fun for the little ones if you want to bring them along.
Belgrave Feast is at Belgrave Music Hall on Saturday 13th February 2016.
Brooklyn Brewery Bottle Dinner
Everyone’s favourite charcuterie-cum-bar is welcoming an incredibly popular craft beer brand to Leeds this February. Friends of Ham is hosting Brooklyn Brewery for a ‘big bottle sharing night’. It’s set to feature selections of Brooklyn’s rarer beers, only available in big bottles every now and again before, pairing these with tasty meat and cheese dishes from the kitchen.
Brooklyn Brewery Bottle Dinner is at Friends of Ham on Tuesday 23rd February 2016.
Dinner With Petrarch
To go alongside the Headingley LitFest, Salvo’s will be branching out into the literary world for a very special dinner this February. They’re treating you to a night that shows off the work of the great Renaissance poet and scholar Petrarch over a three course dinner inspired by his birthplace, Tuscany. They’ll also be entertainment from Chiara Sbordoni and Richard Wilcocks.
Dinner with Petrarch is at Salvo’s Salumeria on Monday 29th February 2016.
There’s plenty of live music to enjoy this February, with the return of NME’s annual awards showcase, a festival made up of local talent and some names to keep an eye on over the coming years.
NME Awards Tour 2016
It’s that time of year again as NME send four fine acts out across the country. This year, Bloc Party are taking headlining duties at O2 Academy Leeds ahead of the release of fifth album ‘Hymns. They’ll be joined by Castletown rockers Drenge, London troubadour Ratboy and grime’s next big thing, Bugzy Malone.
NME Awards Tour 2016 is at O2 Academy Leeds on Monday 8th February 2016.
Much in the mood of Jessie Ware, The xx et al, Rosie Lowe has been promising great things for the past three years. 2016 will see her finally unleash her debut record of dark and groovy soul when ‘Control’ is released the day before her show in Leeds. She’ll be headlining the new Headrow House venue and it’s not to be missed.
Rosie Lowe plays Headrow House on Saturday 20th February 2016.
Some of the brightest musical talents in the North are coming together for a special all day festival at the Brudenell Social Club. Jux Festival will see the likes of Shift Work, Galaxians, Blood Sport, Makanitza, Cactus Knife, Milk Crimes, Joanne, Yard Wars, Mi Mye, Take Turns and Game_Program arrive at the venue for an event that might just show off your next favourite band.
Jux Festival is at Brudenell Social Club on Saturday 20th February 2016.
C Duncan was one of the biggest surprises of 2015. His classical music training blended with his passion for modern tunes to compelling effect on debut record ‘Architect’, so much so that it was nominated as one of the Mercury Prize Albums of the Year and he’ll be bringing his expertly constructed songs to Brudenell Social Club this February.
C Duncan plays Brudenell Social Club on Sunday 21st February 2016.
It’s only February but it’s safe to say that London quartet Savages have already released one of the albums of the year. ‘Adore Life’ is the follow up to the frantic, urging ‘Silence Yourself’, and there has been little let up in the aural assault that they’ve perfect like few others. Their show at Leeds Irish Centre will be one hell of a spectacle.
Savages play Leeds Irish Centre on Tuesday 23rd February 2016.
February sees some of the biggest and best names in stand up comedy come to Leeds, – prepare for a belly laugh or two.
He might sound a little posh, but Hal Cruttenden has taken inspiration from one of rap’s most influential groups on his Straight Outta Cruttenden tour, though that might be where the comparisons end. At his date at The Wardrobe, he’ll be talking through the evils of modern life, tackling Facebook, diets and even his time at school with George Osbourne.
Hal Cruttenden plays The Wardrobe on Friday 5th February 2016.
Those who’ve been glued to their telly screens over the years will instantly recognise Isy Suttie – she played IT nerd Dobby in The Peep Show until its end last year, however, she’s a successful stand up in her own right. She comes to Leeds to play The Wardrobe on her ‘The Actual One’ tour, blending jokes, stories and even a bit of music.
Isy Suttie plays The Wardrobe on Monday 8th February 2016.
You can’t mistake Tom Stade – he has an instantly recognisable Canadian drawl that’s lit up numerous TV shows from Live at the Apollo to Dave’s One Night Stand and Mock the Week. Despite, being from across the Atlantic, it’s over here where he’s made his name and his Leeds show will feature his sharp observations and more than bit of hilarious anger.
Tom Stade plays The Wardrobe on Thursday 18th February 2016.
From his initial introduction as part of the Lee and Herring duo (with the aforementioned Stewart Lee), to his own solo career, Richard Herring has been one of the most consistently brilliant comedians of the past three decades. From TV to radio and the stage, he’s done it all, and now his ‘Happy Now?’ tour will reach Leeds, showing off his unique conceptual stand up approach.
Richard Herring plays Leeds City Varieties Music Hall on Thursday 18th February 2016.
Whether it’s presenting his catchphrase-heavy dating show Take Me Our or partnering up with Peter Kay on Max and Paddy and Phoenix Nights, Paddy McGuinness has become one of the most popular comics in the UK over the past 15 years. 2016 sees him head out on his ’Daddy McGuiness’ tour, where he’ll tackle stories about becoming a dad and parenthood.
Paddy McGuinness plays Leeds Grand Theatre on Sunday 28th February 2016.
Whether it’s dance, opera, or some eye-opening drama, Leeds’ theatres have plenty to offer audiences this February.
In one of the more unique and innovative productions in Leeds this February, Dancing Bear takes to the West Yorkshire Playhouse stage tackling the difficulties of LGBTQ people face in society. It does it all by blending different mediums too, so you can expect part-drama and part-gig, with plenty of laughs thrown in for good measure.
Dancing Bear is at West Yorkshire Playhouse on Wednesday 10th February 2016.
Gaetano Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore is being brought from the 1830s to the 1950s in this Opera North production at Leeds Grand Theatre. It’s a touching comedy which follows the brash Nemorino, who becomes besotted with bar owner Adina as she falls for the charming Belcore. The desperate Nemorino seeks a love potion from Dr Dulcamara, but will it work?
L’Elisir D’Amore is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Wednesday 17th February 2016.
Phoenix Dance Theatre Triple Bill
You get three performances for the price of one at West Yorkshire Playhouse as Phoenix Dance Theatre are bringing their Triple Bill to town. Kate Flatt’s Undivided Loves tackles Shakespearean themes of desire, duplicity and love, Itzik Galilli will reimagine the space in our minds in Until.With./Out.Enough and Phoenix favourite Melt returns for a special performance.
Phoenix Dance Theatre Triple Bill is at West Yorkshire Playhouse from Wednesday 17th until Saturday 20th February 2016.
Umberto Giordano’s famous operatic tragedy, Andrea Chenier gets the Opera North treatment throughout February. At Leeds Grand Theatre, you’ll go on a journey with poet Chenier who rivals his servant Gerard for the heart of young aristocrat Maddalena in a new production that explores the chaos of revolution and an artist’s place, all while telling a moving story.
Andrea Chenier is at Leeds Grand Theatre until Wednesday 24th February 2016.
Cosi Fan Tutte
Mozart’s catalogue work is universally recognised as some of the finest ever produced and Leeds Grand Theatre is set to get a glimpse into that this February courtesy of Opera North. Director Tim Albery’s production of Cosi Fan Tutte has already won the praise of critics and audiences with its blend of humour and love as he tackles the topic of faithfulness in relationships.
Cosi Fan Tutte is at Leeds Grand Theatre until Friday 26th February 2016.
Take a trip to one of the many exhibitions taking place across Leeds this February.
The Imaginarium: Creating a Monster
Having explored the depths of Leeds Central Library, the 154 Collective have uncovered all kinds of hidden stories and characters within. In Room 700, they have created a multi-sensory artistic experience, from photography to soundscapes, animation to sculpture, it’s a unique way to discover the secret history of Leeds Central Library.
The Imaginarium: Creating a Monster is at Leeds Central Library until Thursday 18th February 2016.
Women in Music
The return of Women In Music at White Cloth Gallery shows the popularity of an exhibition that is designed to promote positive female role models in the industry. Having been a success at Leeds City Museum, it once again displays photographs of international stars and local favourites such as Paloma Faith, Little Mix, Corinne Bailey Rae and Hannah Trigwell.
Women In Music is at White Cloth Gallery until Monday 29th February 2016.
Roger Palmer: Winter Garden
The Tetley’s 1930’s art deco interior has been given one hell of a makeover. It’s all down to the work of Roger Palmer who has taken inspiration from a 19th century horticultural book to create huge mural of a palm native to the Reunion Island. It acts as reminder of Palmer’s 40 year career, which has extensively tackled colonialism and post-colonialism.
Roger Palmer: Winter Garden is at The Tetley until Sunday 6th March 2016.
Made With Love
Made With love is all about those pieces of British creativity that have seen the dedication of their makers poured into them. The Craft Centre and Design Gallery exhibition sees jewellery from the likes of Buddug, Judith Brown and Clare Collinson, as well as ceramics and mixed media by Kirsty Adams, Luke Bishop and Laurence Brand, all put on display.
Made With Love is at Craft Centre & Design Gallery until Monday 14th March 2016.
One of the most moving exhibitions in Leeds in February, Heroes is put together by Pyramid of Arts, using the work of 11 artists, both with and without disabilities. It’s inspired by the theme of 2016’s Holocaust Memorial Day, ‘Don’t Stand By’, and offers a reaction to Nazi propaganda around disability euthanasia.
Heroes is at Leeds Town Hall until Friday 18th March 2016.
Clubnights & DJs
Make it a night out to remember this February by taking on one of these amazing clubnights in Leeds.
Digital Society 9th Anniversary
Digital Society are going all out for their 9th birthday and with a stellar line up of some of the world’s best DJs, it’s a party you won’t want to miss. Taking over O2 Academy Leeds will be Gareth Emery, Paul Oakenfold, John O’Callaghan, Sean Tyas, Menno de Jong, Mark Sherry, Adam Ellis and Ben Gold, amongst others.
Digital Society 9th Anniversary is at O2 Academy Leeds on Friday 5th February 2016.
She’s one of the biggest DJs in the UK right now, whether on BBC Radio 1 or in the club, Annie Mac is going on a special High 5 tour this February, featuring her favourite small venues in the UK. Of course Leeds is featured, and she’ll be bringing her decks and tunes to Wire for a Saturday night out that will be filled with bangers.
Annie Mac is at Wire on Saturday 6th February 2016.
Canal Mills is set to be given the grime treatment as the fastest rising genre in UK music comes to Leeds. Leading the line up at Merky is Stormy, whose freestyle ‘Shut Up’ took was much everywhere in 2015 and bagged the man a MOBO Award at First Direct Arena. Also on the bill is Chris Lorenzo, Logan Sama, The Heavytrackerz and Swingting.
Merky is at Canal Mills on Saturday 6th February 2016.
Grime is set to be the order of the day at O2 Academy Leeds this February. Motion #1 will bring some of the biggest names in the genre to Leeds, with Tempa T headlining, alongside a stellar line up that includes the likes of Frisco & Maximum from Boy Better Know, alongside Preditah, Marcus Nasty, Slimzee and Cameo.
Motion #1 is at O2 Academy Leeds on Friday 12th February 2016.
One of the most popular names in house music right now, Tchami is making a long awaited return to O2 Academy Leeds, and those who witnessed his last set at the venue will know it’s not to be missed. He’ll no doubt give a spin to UK Top 10 single ‘Promesses’, as well as other big tunes like ‘After Life’ and ‘Missing You’.
Tchami is at O2 Academy Leeds on Friday 26th February 2016.
Get the family out of the house this February and to some of these amazing events, from a film favourite to cool exhibitions and exciting theatre.
One of the current draws at Royal Armouries is the display of decorative armour from the Earl of Southampton and a class at Gawber Primary School in Barnsley have been invited to create their own angel wings inspired by the exhibition. Using ideas of good and evil, the wings have even been on show at the National Gallery, so make sure you get the family to see them pronto.
Armourd Angels is on at Royal Armouries until Sunday 7th February 2016.
Laugh Your Socks Off With Jeremy Strong
Jeremy Strong is one of the most popular children’s writers in the UK and he’s coming to Leeds to tell you just how he does it. His Laugh Your Socks Off series is well known for its belly tickling humour, as well as My Brother’s Favourite Bottom and The Hundred Mile An Hour Dog – he’ll be talking through where his ideas come from and meeting his little fans.
Laugh Your Socks Off with Jeremy Strong is at The Carriageworks on Tuesday 16th February 2016.
Have you ever imagined having a polar bear as a best friend? Well, even if that’s a no, you might once you take the family to see The Bear. Follow little Tilly who finds a polar bear climbing into her room, but instead of being scared, they become pals. It’s a story by Raymond Briggs, of The Snowman fame, and features puppetry, music and storytelling.
The Bear is at West Yorkshire Playhouse from Wednesday 17th to Saturday 20th February 2016.
The Emperor’s New Clothes
Stuff and Nonsense brought Goldilocks and the Three Bears to The Carriageworks last year to great success and they’re back with a new favourite. The Emperor’s New Clothes is a classic tale about a fashion loving ruler who runs our of clothes – but what will he do? Blending drama with puppetry and music, it’s an energetic production the whole family will love.
The Emperor’s New Clothes is at The Carriageworks on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th February 2016.
What better way to experience what’s now a Disney classic, than by enjoying a sing-a-long version? Leeds City Varieties are hosting a special screening of Frozen this February which will include a live host, who’ll tell you how to use a very special prop bag, warm up your singing voices and teach you a few dance moves. Fancy dress isn’t necessary, but absolutely welcomed.
Sing-a-long Frozen is at Leeds City Varieties on Saturday 20th February 2016.
Best of the Rest
From the best darts players around to unique variety shows and a book festival, these events are perfect if you’re looking for something a little different.
Betway Premier League Darts
There’s nothing like an evening at the darts, and the Betway Premier League is coming to First Direct Arena to kick off their 2016 season, featuring the biggest names in the sport. From PDC World Champion and reining Premier League champ, Gary Anderson, to the likes of Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld, Adrian Lewis and Michael van Gerwen, it’ll be a night to remember.
Betway Premier League Darts is at First Direct Arena on Thursday 4th February 2016.
Live at the Playhouse
A mixed bag of theatre, comedy and general talent is on display at West Yorkshire Playhouse this February. Live at the Playhouse is an event that originally ran at Union Chapel at London, bringing together artists of all forms of entertainment, offering folk up an evening of pick’n’mix. This one is set to include the likes of comedian Paul Foot and the brilliantly confusing Boy With Tape On His Face, Sam Wills.
Live at the Playhouse is at West Yorkshire Playhouse on Wednesday 12th February 2016.
One of the most popular, yet divisive journalists currently working today, Owen Jones has built a reputation working for The Guardian and writing books such as ‘Chavs’ and ‘The Establishment’. He comes to Leeds to talk through whether we can build societies that are in the interests of working people, and not just those within the top 1%.
Owen Jones is at The Carriageworks on Thursday 25th February 2016.
Headingley Lit Fest
Leeds has a long and illustrious literary history and that shows no sign of changing, in large part down to events such as Headingley Lit Fest. Back once again in 2016, the festival brings authors, poets, playwrights, and writers of all kinds to the suburb, for a series of special events, including, talks, performances and even chances to meet them for yourself.
Headingley Lit Fest takes place across Headingley from Monday 29th February 2016.
Leeds Digital Job Fair
Believe it or not, Leeds has a thriving digital and tech sector – in fact, the industry is growing so fast that there’s a real skills shortage, with over 600 jobs going in the city right now. But the Leeds Digital Job Fair is set to change that as they bring graduates and potential candidates together some of the biggest tech innovators in the city, including the likes of Sky Betting & Gaming, William Hill and Call Credit.
Leeds Digital Job Fair is at First Direct Arena from 12pm to 7pm on Wednesday 10th February 2016.
~Feature image copyright Jack Kirwin at JK Photography. Belgrave Feast image copyright Giles Smith. Savages image copyright Jess Rowbottom. Andrea Chenier image copyright Robert Workman.