Corinne Bailey Rae

LEEDS 2023 is set to deliver a whole year of outstanding events across culture, sport, food and more. It all kicks off with The Awakening on Saturday January 7th 2023 and you can get free tickets for this huge event. Get your name in the hat for a ticket.

LEEDS 2023 draws near, a thrilling year of culture awaits, and The Awakening will set it all in motion. Here’s what you need to know, and how you can get tickets…

LEEDS 2023 is rapidly taking shape, with a whole year of creativity and culture planned, showcasing what makes our city so special. And it all gets going with a spectacular event at Headingley Stadium on Saturday 7th January 2023. The Awakening is going to be an absolutely unmissable celebration of Leeds, hosted by big names with loads of can’t-miss performances. Want to go along? All you need to do is showcase your creative side for your chance to win a pair of tickets.

The Awakening is going to be a biggie

Leeds 2023

Credit: JMA Photography

As befits the launch event for such a huge year of culture, celebration and heritage, The Awakening is a star-studded affair. It will be hosted by local legends Gabby Logan and Sanchez Payne, and there’ll be live performances galore across a range of genres, from poetry to pop, opera to hip-hop, comedy to dance, with sporting stars thrown into the mix too. There’ll be some surprises too, making it a one-of-a-kind event you need to be at.

Celebrated local poet Simon Armitage will be on stage with his LYR live band, while Corinne Bailey Rae will be performing some classic pop. Get ready for the musical magnificence of the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North, and the gritty contrast of rapper and beatboxer Testament. Add in up-and-coming Leeds artists Graft and Denmarc Creary, Inger Goldfinger – formerly of Fun-Da-Mental – and Leeds rugby league legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan, and it’s going to be one for the ages.

You can see it all for free – if you get creative

Leeds 2023

Credit: JMA Photography

It’s not just the people on the stage who are creative geniuses – the crowd will be too. Thousands of tickets are available for the event, but to enter the ballot to bag them, you’ll need to submit something creative. The ballot will be drawn at random, and if you’re successful, you’ll get a pair of tickets to this once-in-a-lifetime event. And don’t worry, your art won’t be judged, it just needs to be any creation that represents you. So what can you send in?

A photo of a Bake Off-worthy cake you’ve created in your kitchen could be one. So too a drawing, a painting, some poetry or a rap. Heck, you can even snap a selfie, take a recording of you singing in the shower or show off some beats you’ve made at home. Ball tricks and keepy-uppies? That works too – just let your creative juices loose. You can upload it online, which is quick and simple to do or, if you’d rather drop it off in person, there are collection boxes all across Leeds – for the latter, it’ll need to be 2D and A4 or smaller. With 15,000 tickets available in the ballot, you’ve got a great chance of being part of history – you just need to get it in before 5pm on Friday 25th November 2022.

The Awakening takes over Headingley Stadium on Saturday 7th January 2023.