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Bank Holiday Weekend in Leeds

· Joseph Sheerin · Culture

From festivals to family fun, don’t let the first May bank holiday go to waste.

La Strada

The first May bank holiday weekend is just around the corner – but just what will you do for the long weekend?

As ever, there’s a little something for everyone in Leeds this bank holiday, taking you from live music and huge shows to parties with some of the world’s best DJs. To make it that little bit easier for you to narrow down the options, we’ve rounded up the best events, all in one place – check it out, before you decide what to do with your long weekend.

Friday 28th April 2017

From gigs to theatre, start the bank holiday weekend as you mean to go on.

Nubiyan Twist

Nubiyan Twist

One of two separately ticketed shows to kick off this year’s Live at Leeds sees Nubiyan Twist make their way to The Wardrobe on bank holiday weekend. The afrobeat, reggae and jazz collective formed at Leeds College of Music and have gone on to become one of the most renowned live acts in the UK with an arsenal of tunes bound to get you moving.

Nubiyan Twist play The Wardrobe on Friday 28th April 2017.

Future Islands

Future Islands

Credit: Tom Hines

The other Live at Leeds festival opener will take place at Leeds University Union as Future Islands make their long awaited return to the city. Last time out they stormed a sold out Brudenell Social Club – expect more of the same as they show off their latest album, ‘The Far Field’. Their emotive, synth driven epics have put the Baltimore band out on their own, so this could be your highlight of the May bank holiday weekend.

Future Isalnds play Leeds University Union on Friday 28th April 2017.

Louise Distras

Louise Distras

Celebrate one of West Yorkshire’s own at The Key Club on bank holiday weekend as Louise Distras headlines her biggest show to date. She’s an acoustic singer-songwriter with a punk attitude whose protest music harks back to the likes of The Clash, Billy Bragg and Patti Smith, brought into the 21st century – not a bad combination.

Louise Distras plays The Key Club on Friday 28th April 2017.

Blanck Mass

Blanck Mass

As one half of Fuck Buttons, Benjamin John Power rewrote the drone rock book, and he seems to be doing it all over again as part of his solo project, Blanck Mass. He comes to Brudenell Social Club at the end of April to show off new record ‘World Eater’, which again blends post-rock, electronica and drone to impressive effect.

Blanck Mass play Brudenell Social Club on Friday 28th April 2017.



Future house pioneer Tchami will be sending O2 Academy Leeds delirious this bank holiday weekend. The Paris-born DJ has become one of the world’s biggest names, selling out clubs across the globe – his shows promise one hell of a party as he spins cuts like ‘Promesses’, ‘Untrue’ and ‘After Life’.

Tchami plays O2 Academy Leeds on Friday 28th April 2017.

Euphoria – A State of Happiness

A brand new night begins at Mint Club this bank holiday. Euphoria – A State of Happiness will bring some of the finest house and techno DJs to the city for a rave to remember. Leading the line-up is Tommy Vercetti who’ll be joined by Khong, Mad Villains and Linier.

Euphoria – A State of Happiness is at Mint Club Friday 28th April 2017.


This is a clubnight with a difference – Algorave sees live coders create computer programs which regenerate music for you to dance to. The tech may be impressive, but the real aim here is just to get your feet, with performances from the likes of Algobabez, Anny, Belisha Bacon and Foxdot, as well as full visuals from Rituals, Hellocatfood and Chez.IO.

Algorave is at Munro House on Friday 28th April 2017.

Overflow x Central Beatz

Drum & bass fans won’t want to miss the latest Overflow x Central Beatz night at Wire. They’ve got two of the biggest DJs in the genre coming to Leeds – Icicle, known for the ridiculousness of his three-deck sets, and Signal, a Dutch master recently signed to the prestigious Critical Music label.

Overflow x Central Beatz is at Wire on Friday 28th April 2017.

Lumen Prize Exhibition

The Lumen Prize is a renowned global digital art award and it’s coming to Leeds Dock this bank holiday weekend for a special exhibition. It will showcase nine new immersive and interactive exhibitions that blur the lines between art, technology, sound and audience participation. It really is a must for art fans.

Lumen Prize Exhibition is at Leeds Dock from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th April 2017.

La Strada

La Strada

Credit: Robert Day

An Oscar winning film that’s now been turned into a stage play by Sally Cookson, catch La Strada at West Yorkshire Playhouse this bank holiday weekend. The title means ‘The Road’, and it’s a classic tale of love and loss in the Italian countryside as Gelsomina and Sampan fall madly in love. The thing is, Gelsomina also wants to join the circus, and when one rolls into town, she has to choose whether to stay with Sampan or follow the bright lights of fame.

La Strada is at West Yorkshire Playhouse from Monday 24th to Saturday 29th April 2017.

Opera North’s Turandot


Opera North are putting on Puccini’s incredible final opera, Turandot, in concert this bank holiday. Set in ancient China, Princess Turandot challengers her suiters to solve three riddles – if they get it right, they win her hand, but if they get it wrong, they die. It doesn’t deter Prince Calaf who is determined to succeed, even though servant girl Liu is in love with him. This story is told using amazing colour and captivating music.

Opera North’s Turandot is at Leeds Town Hall on Friday 28th and Sunday 30th April 2017.

The Graduate

The Graduate

A renowned film and novel, The Graduate is now on the stage, coming to West Yorkshire Playhouse for a month, starting on the bank holiday weekend. It’s the story of Benjamin, a lost soul returning from college and worrying about his future. He finds a kindred spirit in his parents’ best friend, Mrs Robinson, and their relationship soon turns into something more, taking them on a journey that threatens the future happiness of everyone involved.

The Graduate is at West Yorkshire Playhouse from Friday 28th April to Monday 22nd May 2017.

Ballet Central 2017

Ballet Central

The Central School of Ballet presents an evening of dance and theatre from their new artistic director Christopher Marney. Ballet Central 2017 features a slew of promising dancers on the verge of kicking off their professional careers. You can see Indigo Children by Liam Scarlett, a scene from Romeo and Juliet by Jenna Lee and a work from Dracula by Michael Pink, among others.

Ballet Central 2017 is at The Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre on Friday 28th April 2017.

A Judgement in Stone

Love a good crime mystery? Leeds Grand Theatre is where you need to be this bank holiday weekend as The Agatha Christie Company returns to Leeds with a brand new production, Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement in Stone. It has an impressive cast, featuring Andrew Lancel, Antony Costa and Sophie Ward. They’ll be telling the story of Eunice, a woman who joins a rich family as a housekeeper, but before she can settle in, someone in the house is killed.

A Judgement in Stone is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 24th to Saturday 29th April 2017.

Saturday 29th April 2017

Exhibitions, festivals or family friendly fun? You won’t be short of options on Saturday.

Shreya Ghoshal

Shreya Ghoshal is one of the most heard voices in the world, and the Bollywood icon is making her way to Leeds this bank holiday weekend. A playback artist, someone who pre-records songs used in movies, Ghohsal has become the leading singer in her field and this is a rare chance to see her perform live in the UK.

Shreya Ghoshal is at First Direct Arena on Saturday 29th April 2017.

Trouble at the Mill

Blending food, music and theatre, Trouble at the Mill is a brilliant night out. Head to Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley where the main event is a production of Life By The Throat by Coronation Street’s Eve Steele. A black comedy, it follows the story of life-long thief Jamie, a funny character whose wit can only take him so far. There’s also a performance from lounge band The Midnight Vipers and food from Harry’s Curry Canteen.

Trouble at the Mill is at Sunny Bank Mills on Saturday 29th April 2017.

Leeds Parks: Past, Present and Future

Roundhay Park

Credit: Ali Turner

Leeds is home to stunning parkland, from Roundhay to Middleton, but how have they got to be what they are today? This new exhibition can be found at The Mansion in Roundhay Park across bank holiday weekend and will show research from the University of Leeds documenting how Leeds’ parks have changed through the years, using incredible images documenting their history.

Leeds Parks: Past, Present and Future is at Roundhay Park from Saturday 29th April to Monday 1st May 2017.


James Cousins Company

The James Cousins Company is back in Leeds this bank holiday weekend with a brand new show. Rosalind uses Shakespeare’s As You Like It as the basis for its performance, particularly the title character. Through his incredible choreography, which blends British and Korean dance scenes, Cousins looks at what’s changed in society over the past 400 years and whether women need to adopt masculinity to be truly equal.

Rosalind is at The Riley Theatre on Saturday 29th April 2017.


Audiowhore are renowned for their bank holiday parties and they’re back once again at Mint Warehouse. Take in the best in deep, soulful and tech house with the likes of Sonny Fodera and Sam Divine keeping the tunes spinning until 6am on Sunday morning.

Audiowhore is at Mint Warehouse on Saturday 29th April 2017.

Sweepiana: Family Activities Workshop

Japanese Winterland, Leeds Central Library

Sweepiana is a fun, family-friendly exhibition at Leeds Central Library that looks at the incredible lives of chimneysweeps. This bank holiday weekend workshop gives kids an insight into their lives with games and activities to take part in that are not only fun, but also educational. There are colouring activities, an exhibition trail and a chance to handle objects that date back as far as Tudor times.

Sweepiana: Family Activities Workshop is at Leeds Central Library on Saturday 29th April 2017.

Sherlock, Stock and Barrel

Sherlock, Stock and Barrel

The Royal Armouries is getting all mysterious this bank holiday weekend with Sherlock, Stock and Barrel. It promises a weekend of murder mysteries, concealed weapons and forensic investigations as you learn about the science behind Sherlock Holmes’ incredible adventures. It includes a live-action murder mystery trail, martial art demonstrations and a chance to handle objects from the Royal Armouries collection.

Sherlock, Stock and Barrel is at Royal Armouries from Saturday 29th April to Monday 1st May 2017.

Radical Run

The May bank holiday weekend sees a kids-only obstacle course takeover Temple Newsam. It’s a 3 kilometre obstacle course, specially designed for 5 to 14 year olds, with separate races for kids aged 5-11 and 11-14, so everyone can have a great time. This is an action-packed day out that will tear the kids away from the TV, so don’t miss it.

Radical Run is at Temple Newsam on Saturday 29th April 2017.

Outbreak Festival

It’ll be a bank holiday to remember for punk fans as Outbreak Festival takes over Canal Mills. It’s got a stacked line-up, the highlight of which is a UK exclusive headlining show from Gorilla Biscuits. They are joined by the likes of Title Fight, Cro-Mags, Breakdown, Broken Teeth, Blind Authority and Firm Standing Law.

Outbreak Festival is at Canal Mills on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th April 2017.

Live at Leeds 2017


Credit: Dan Boud

The big event of the bank holiday in Leeds is, of course, Live at Leeds. Over 100 bands are set to play across 14 venues, from O2 Academy to the Brudenell. Crowds will be flocking to see the likes of Slaves, White Lies, DMAs, The Pigeon Detectives, Nothing But Thieves, Wild Beasts and Rag’n’Bone Man – make sure you’re one of them.

Live at Leeds 2017 is at various Leeds venues on Saturday 29th April 2017.

World Music Stage

World Music Stage, Briggate

Even if you don’t have a ticket for Live at Leeds, you can still inject a bit of live music into your weekend, because Leeds International Festival is offering up a day of free entertainment. The World Music Stage will takeover Briggate and it’s set to showcase a diverse array of musical talent from around the globe, with special collaborations from South Asian Arts and Leeds West Indian Carnival.

World Music Stage is on Briggate on Saturday 29th April 2017.

Best of Be Festival

Be Festival is one of the most renowned cultural festivals in the country, providing a platform for a huge array of European talent, from performance art to dance and theatre. They’re taking it out on the road this year, with a stop in Leeds – so you can catch one of three performances at The HUB – Situation with Outstretched Art, Vacuum and Overload.

Best of Be Festival is at The HUB on Saturday 29th April 2017.


Playstation games at Collectorabilia andVideo Game Market, Leeds Town Hall

Want to relive childhood memories or introduce the kids to the world of retro games? There’s only one place to be this bank holiday weekend and that’s Leeds Corn Exchange. Collectorabilia is back, giving you a chance to play on a whole host of classic games consoles, from Sega Mega Drive to Nintendo 64, as well pick up old consoles, games and accessories. There’ll also be stalls for toys, action figures, anime and memorabilia.

Collectorabilia is at Leeds Corn Exchange on Saturday 29th April 2017.

Lotherton Food and Drink Festival

Lotherton Hall, Leeds

Lotherton Hall is the place to be this bank holiday with the return of their food and drink festival. You can tuck into street food from all over the world in their hot food court – but that’s not all. There will also be a huge marquee filled with the best local producers selling jams, biscuits, cakes and more, not to mention a bar, live music, cookery classes and a fun fair.

Lotherton Food and Drink Festival is at Lotherton Hall from Saturday 29th April to Monday 1st May 2017.

Boombox Circus

Boombox Circus never does things by halves, and this bank holiday weekend, they’re putting on a Pirate Party – get to work on your costume. They’ve got a stellar line-up of acid house and bass DJs to look forward to – expect Adapt, Bump City, Feel Good and Future Formation on util the early hours.

Boombox Circus is at Beaver Works on Saturday 29th April 2017.

The Orbit

The Orbit is returning to Wire with one of the biggest DJs to ever come out of Leeds. LFO’s Gez Varley will be spinning the best electronica from the past three decades, and he’s joined on the decks by Gemma Furbank, Nidge Walker, Jon Connor and Calum Watson for one hell of a night out.

The Orbit LFO is at Wire on Saturday 29th April 2017.

Sunday 30th April 2017

From huge clubnights to stand-up comedy, bank holiday Sunday could be the highlight of your bank holiday weekend – after all, you don’t have to get up for work on Monday.

Maximo Park

Maximo Park

Credit: Steve Gullick

Closing out this year’s Live at Leeds festival with a separately ticketed Sunday night show at O2 Academy is Newcastle’s Maximo Park. They’re about to release their sixth record ‘Risk to Exist’ and will show that off alongside a slew of past hits. There’s an impressive supporting cast too, with Little Comets, Spector, High Tyde and The Indigo Project.

Maximo Park play O2 Academy Leeds on Sunday 30th April 2017.

Joel Dommett

Joel Dommett

A long time favourite on the UK’s stand-up circuit, 2016 was a breakthrough year for Joel Dommett. After finishing in second place on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here, he’s become a household name and is going out on his biggest UK tour to date promising a rip-roaring show full of funny observations and witty jokes.

Joel Dommett is at Leeds Grand Theatre on Sunday 30th April 2017.

Real Deal Comedy Jam

If you’re looking for a laugh or two this bank holiday, the Real Deal Comedy Jam will do the trick. The UK’s leading urban comedy tour makes its way to Pryzm for one night only, with a stellar line-up of comedians, including one particularly familiar name – Richard Blackwood. The former MTV presenter, actor and stand-up is joined by Kane Brown, Chrissy Charles, Junior Booker and Spudds.

Real Deal Comedy Jam is at Pryzm on Sunday 30th April 2017.

Ghost Hunt at The Cardigan Arms

The Cardigan Arms

Looking for something a bit different? The Cardigan Arms is the place to be – and not for a pint. UK Ghost Nights are taking over the pub for one night only, as they make the most of it’s 200 year history. Over the years, they’ve had reports of coats flying off hooks, tills opening on their own and the sound of children laughing – find out if there really are ghosts at the old pub at this early hours ghost hunt.

Ghost Hunt at The Cardigan Arms is on Sunday 30th April 2017.

Leeds Preloved Vintage Kilo Fair

Vintage fair

The bank holiday weekend is the perfect time to buy pre-loved treasures, because Leeds Preloved Vintage Kilo Fair is setting up shop at Royal Armouries. They’re promising more than six tonnes of vintage clothing for you to scour through, and you’ll be able to fill up a bag for £15 per kilo, whether it’s shirts, dresses or coats.

Leeds Preloved Vintage Kilo Fair is at Royal Armouries on Sunday 30th April 2017.

The Yarden Party

The Yarden Party at Duke Strudios

The first Yarden Party went down so well in 2016, that it’s back for another bash this May bank holiday. It’s an outdoor party with disco and house tunes from Mark E, Michael Upson, Reeshy and Ninety Nine DJs, but if the weather turns, the party continues inside, where you can enjoy Sheaf Street Cafeteria’s food and booze.

The Yarden Party is at Duke Studios on Sunday 30th April 2017.

Sleepin Is Cheatin 7th Birthday

One of Leeds’ most popular nights celebrates its 7th birthday this bank holiday weekend and Sleepin Is Cheatin has got a stellar line-up to boot. Tom Zanetti and K.O. Kane headline the bass room, with help from DJ Q, Shift K3y and DJ Target, while Charlie Sloth, Artful Dodger and Dan Hills are in the garage room.

Sleepin Is Cheatin 7th Birthday is at Mission on Sunday 30th April 2017.

Back to Basics

Back to Basics love a good bank holiday, so they’re swapping their Saturday shindigs for a one-off Sunday party. They’ve managed to get two of the world’s biggest DJs to come to Leeds for it, with Patrick Topping bringing tunes like ‘Get Beasty’, ‘Forget’ and ‘Voicemail’ and Kölsch, who is known for hits like ‘1977’, ‘Basshund’ and ‘All That Matters’.

Back to Basics is at Church on Sunday 30th April 2017.

Leeds Gallery Reunion

Leeds Gallery was, at one stage, one of the most revered clubs in the world, with people coming from all over for a rave they’d never forget. And they’re finally organising a reunion, with regular DJs Steve Luigi, Rob Tissera, Russ Richardson and MC Fox all returning to the decks for a special night at Bar Soba.

Leeds Gallery Reunion is at Bar Soba on Sunday 30th April 2017.

The Garden Party

The Garden Party, Leeds - jess Rowbottom

It’s May bank holiday weekend and that can only mean one thing – the first Garden Party of the year. Taking place at The Faversham, they’ve bagged superstar DJ Eats Everything to lead their incredible line-up. They’ve also got the likes of Fort Romeau, PBR Streetgang and Pleasure Connection on the decks, before the afterparty at Wire.

The Garden Party is at The Faversham on Sunday 30th April 2017.

System and Set One Twenty Terrace Party

System and Set One Twenty Terrace Party

System and Set One Twenty are teaming up again for their fourth series of Terrace Party. Their first of the year will take place at Mint Warehouse on bank holiday Sunday – Ukraine’s Nastia is making her Leeds debut alongside the likes of Dan Ghenacia, Archie Hamilton and Varhat back-to-back with Janeret.

System and Set One Twenty Terrace Party is at Mint Warehouse on Sunday 30th April 2017.

Monday 31st April 2017

End bank holiday with a bang with these super cool gigs and family fun days.

The Solid Silver 60s Show

Fancy a bank holiday Monday throwback? Head to Leeds Grand Theatre for The Solid Silver 60s Show. You’ll get to hear classic hits from the original artists with a stellar line-up – the Merseybeats are the headline act and they’re joined by the likes of Dave Berry, Wayne Fontana, Chris Montez and Vanity Fare.

The Solid Silver 60s Show is at Leeds Grand Theatre on Monday 1st May 2017.



Credit: Leigh Righton

Finish off your bank holiday weekend at Leeds University Union with Canadian rockers Japandroids. The Vancouver duo make one hell of a racket – their latest album, ‘Near to the Wild Heart of Live’ is their most accomplished to date, but it still holds onto that visceral charm that made them so popular in the first place.

Japandroids is at Leeds University Union on Monday 1st May 2017.

Frankie Ballard

Frankie Ballard

One of the rising stars of American country music, Frankie Ballard is a must-see over the May bank holiday weekend. On the back of his sold out first UK tour last year, he’s now coming to Leeds for a show at Brudenell Social Club where he’ll be playing cuts from his third album, ‘El RIo’, and it’s the perfect chance to see one of the big stars of tomorrow.

Frankie Ballard plays Brudenell Social Club on Monday 1st May 2017.

Thor & Friends

Thor & Friends

Credit: Conor Q Walker

Austin-based percussionist Thor Harris has spent much of the past decade behind the kit for iconic bands like Swans and Shearwater, but now he’s got his own set up and it’s a little bit different. Thor & Friends is an experimental project that sees a revolving cast of Austin musicians joining up to create new American classics – it’s a must-see show.

Thor & Friends are at Brudenell Social Club on Monday 1st May 2017.

Nick Sharratt’s Big Draw Along

His name might not be so familiar, but his pictures certainly are – Illustrator Nick Sharratt is responsible for bringing Jacqueline Wilson’s extraordinary characters to life, whether on her book covers or the TV. This family-friendly workshop sees Nick let you in on all his secrets, from coming up with ideas to how to draw illustrations. There’ll be games and quizzes too, just don’t forget to bring a pencil and pen.

Nick Sharratt’s Big Draw Along is at Otley Courthouse on Monday 1st May 2017.

Leeds United Family Fun Day

Elland Road, Home of Leeds United

Credit: Chris Robertshaw licensed for commercial reuse under Creative Commons.

Love Leeds United? Head down to Elland Road before the bank holiday finishes to have an amazing day of family-fun. Their Gowing Law Pavillion will be transformed into a Frozen wonderland on one half, with appearances from Elsa, Olaf and Anna. The other half will be a football and activity space, with the Kop Cat there to show you a few tricks along the way.

Leeds United Family Fun Day is at Elland Road on Monday 1st May 2017.

Feature image copyright Robert Day.