The first May bank holiday weekend is just around the corner – but what will you get up to on the long weekend?
As ever, there’s a little something for everyone in Leeds this bank holiday. From live music and huge shows to fun-filled days out for all the family, it’s going to be a great weekend. And 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 weekend.
Friday 3rd May 2019
From gigs to theatre, start the bank holiday weekend as you mean to go on.
You can head to a good old fashioned drum and bass rave to kick off your bank holiday in Leeds as Critical Sound takes over Mint Warehouse. They’ve put together a stellar line-up led by special guest DJ Hazard. He’ll be joined by Circuits, Kanine and QZB, as Enei and Klax play a rare back-to-back set.
Critical Sound takes over Mint Warehouse on Friday 3rd May 2019.
Mark Steel is bringing a dose of positivity to Leeds. The left-wing comedian’s new show ‘Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright’ will let you in on the madness of the modern world we live in. But he’ll also temper our anxieties through hilarious anecdotes that will leave you thinking it’s not the end of the world, just yet.
Mark Steel comes to City Varieties on Friday 3rd May 2019.
Group Therapy Leeds
Group Therapy Leeds returns to Duke Studios this bank holiday weekend with another storming night of stand-up comedy. Award-winning Mancunian comedian Phil Ellis will kick the night off, before Ivo Graham takes to the stage to perform his witty self-deprecating stories that have won him an army of fans on shows like Mock the Week.
Group Therapy Leeds comes to Duke Studios on Friday 3rd May 2019.
The Friday Residency
After the comedy comes the tunes as The Friday Residency takes you into the early hours at Duke Studios. This special bank holiday edition welcomes renowned selector MrKrstoffa who will get you moving and grooving with an exciting blend of nu-jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop, disco and house from around the world.
The Friday Residency takes over Duke Studios on Friday 3rd May 2019.
You can check out one of the best new bands in the country this bank holiday weekend. Local trio Drahla will play through their debut album ‘Useless Coordinates’ on the day of its release at the Brudenell Social Club. Expect a rip-roaring blend of art rock and post punk as they show why they are already a brilliant example of Leeds’ burgeoning music scene.
Drahla play Brudenell Social Club on Friday 3rd May 2019.
Cirque du Soul
The final Cirque du Soul until September is going to be an all-out celebration. They’re transforming Beaver Works into a fully immersive playground. There’ll be games to play in every room which are going to be given a vibrant decor as performers and video projections light up the room. And the tunes? Session Victim will play soulful disco with support from rising star Harry Wolfman and SpectraSoul.
Cirque du Soul comes Beaver Works on Friday 3rd May 2019.
Dazed is one of the biggest drum and bass nights in Leeds and it’s returning to The Warehouse this bank holiday for a huge party. After he cancelled his last appearance in January, renowned Welsh producer High Contrast will be spinning tunes until the early hours, with support from Dynamite MC, Clouwds and The Suite Life of Jack & Toby.
Dazed comes to The Warehouse on Friday 3rd May 2019.
If you love Bruce Springsteen, Hungry Heart is the club night you’ve been waiting for. They play nothing but tunes by The Boss from 8pm until 2am so put your best dress on and get ready to sing your heart out. You can expect all the classics from Born to Run to Dancing in the Dark, but this joyful marathon will also indulge in deep cuts, live versions and b-sides.
Hungry Heart comes to Belgrave Music Hall on Friday 3rd May 2019.
One of the headline events of this year’s Leeds International Festival, BlaqueXplosion is a celebration of black British culture in all its forms. This day of discussion and performance will look at how music helped the Windrush generation settle and tackle mental health stigmas with leading figures like Frank Bruno before it transforms into a party with music from the Iration Steppas Sound System.
BlaqueXplosion comes to The Village at The Tetley on Friday 3rd May 2019.
The House On Cold Hill
Spend your bank holiday weekend in the midsts of a spine-chilling thriller at Leeds Grand Theatre. Peter James’ The House on Cold Hill sees a couple, played by Holby City’s Joe McFadden and Eastenders’ Rita Simons, who move into their dream home. Only, it soon becomes a nightmare when it turns out they’re not the only ones who live there.
The House On Cold Hill comes to Leeds Grand Theatre on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th May 2019.
The Macc Lads
Macclesfield’s finest band The Macc Lads are making their way to O2 Academy to celebrate the 31st anniversary of their acclaimed record ‘Live in Leeds’. Known for their irreverent, foul-mouthed lyrics and schoolboy humour, they’re now considered one of the most important British rock bands of the 1980s and you can expect all the big tunes, from ‘Boddies’ to ‘Beer & Sex & Chips ’n’ Gravy’.
The Macc Lads play O2 Academy Leeds on Friday 3rd May 2019.
If you’re a music nut, you can start the weekend at The Unconference, Leeds’ annual day of music discussion, workshops and panels. It’s free to attend and you’ll get to hear from some of the most important people in the industry talking about the past, present and future of the business. This year Phil Taggert of BBC Radio 1, Yasmin Lajoie of Empire Management and Emily Pilbeam of BBC Music Introducing are the among the top speakers.
The Unconference comes to Leeds city centre on Friday 3rd May 2019.
Hyde Park Sketch Crawl
You can have an artistic bank holiday weekend in Leeds on the Hyde Park Sketch Crawl. You’ll join local artist Kenno at Woodhouse Moor with your sketchbook and pencils in hand. Then you’ll weave your way through the terraced streets, sketching the area’s landmarks, from Hyde Park Picture House to Leeds Grand Mosque.
Hyde Park Sketch Crawl starts at Woodhouse Moor on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th May 2019.
Saturday 4th May 2019
Music festivals, comedy or family-friendly fun? You won’t be short of options on bank holiday Saturday.
Live at Leeds 2019
One of the biggest weekends in the city’s music calendar, Live at Leeds is back with a huge line-up of indie, pop, rock and hip-hop artists this bank holiday. There’ll be over 100 gigs taking place across the city, including shows from stand-out acts Sundara Karma, Tom Grennan, Metronomy, Drenge, Kate Tempest, Sam Fender and The Sherlocks. If you don’t have a ticket, there’s a free live music stage on Briggate to check out too.
Live at Leeds 2019 takes over Leeds city centre on Saturday 4th May 2019.
Crazy P Live & Friends
Leeds International Festival’s musical highlight is a gig from dance icons Crazy P on bank holiday weekend. They’re playing a rare live set over in The Village at The Tetley and will run through 25 years of dancefloor fillers. Expect to hear anthems like ‘Heartbreaker’, ‘Like a Fool’ and ‘Cruel Mistress’ as they show why they’re one of the most important British dance bands of all time.
Crazy P Live & Friends play The Village at The Tetley on Saturday 4th May 2019.
Haus22 presents Noctural
Record label Haus 22 are coming to Leeds with their brand new club night Noctural this bank holiday. It focuses on bringing you extended sets in intimate venues by OC & Verde. This fast-rising DJ duo will bring their deep, melodic techno tunes to Wire to perform a set which is inspired by their upbringing on classic synthpop and acid house anthems.
Haus22 presents Noctural comes to Wire on Saturday 4th May 2019.
La Cinnamon Fiesta
Head to Open Source Arts this bank holiday weekend for the perfect summer’s evening. La Cinnamon Fiesta is a celebration of a vibrant mix of musical genres. Expect DJs spinning a rich blend of hip-hop, jazz, African and latin beats all day long, as well as immersive theatrical performances, art exhibitions, dancers, special visuals, street food and even flying people.
La Cinnamon Fiesta takes over Open Source Arts on Saturday 4th May 2019.
World of Wine Tasting Experience Day
If you love wine, there’s one place to go this bank holiday weekend – the World of Wine Tasting Experience Day is returning to the Radisson SAS. You’ll get to work your way through 14 different wines throughout the day, complete with expert tuition and tasting notes. You won’t go hungry either, as it comes with a slap-up 2-course meal too.
World of Wine Tasting Experience Day comes to Radisson SAS on Saturday 4th May 2019.
Subdub 21st Birthday Party
Subdub is such a massive Leeds institution, it’s having more than one birthday bash, and the first is taking place this bank holiday at Beaver Works. You can look forward to four rooms filled with different DJs – headliners Iration Steppas Sound System takes over the main space with Kenny Knots and the Maasai Warrior Sound System, while you can also check out the likes of Dillinja, Grooverider and Doc Scott elsewhere.
Subdub 21st Birthday Party comes to Beaver Works on Saturday 4th May 2019.
Francis Rossi: I Talk Too Much
Status Quo legend Francis Rossi will be telling incredible stories from his stellar 50-year career at City Varieties this month. ‘I Talk Too Much’ sees the Quo’s founder take you back to the start before he takes you on a wild journey of laughter, revelations and tales complete with exclusive video clips and snippets of classic tunes with writer and broadcaster Mick Wall.
Francis Rossi: I Talk Too Much comes to City Varieties on Saturday 4th May 2019.
Lotherton Hall Food and Drink Festival
It’s not a bank holiday in Leeds without Lotherton Hall Food and Drink Festival and it’s back for another year at the start of May. It’s one of the best festivals in the city as you get to wander around stalls full of fresh local produce to take home with you, street food trucks full of tasty eats to tuck into right there and bars chock full of great local ales to wash it all down with.
Lotherton Hall Food and Drink Festival comes to Lotherton Hall from Saturday 4th to Monday 6th May 2019.
The Murder Capital
Dublin is a hotbed of rock and roll talent right now, and following in the footsteps of Fontaines D.C. are The Murder Capital. From the few tunes you can discover online, expect a brooding, brash blend of art rock and punk from one of the bands set to blow up big time in 2019. Check out ‘Feeling Fades’ and head to the Brudenell Social Club to see what the fuss is all about this bank holiday weekend.
The Murder Capital play Brudenell Social Club on Saturday 4th May 2019.
Bonkers Bingo with Ultrabeat
This is no normal night at Mecca Bingo – in fact, it’s going to be absolutely Bonkers. Bingo has never been this intense as you aim to get a full house with massive balls bouncing around the hall and tunes blaring. Fancy dress is more than encouraged, the prizes are absolutely atrocious and you can indulge in food and drink all night long. And this time, you can groove along to an exclusive DJ set from 00s club legends Ultrabeat.
Bonkers Bingo with Ultrabeat comes to Mecca Bingo, Hunslet on Saturday 4th May 2019.
Trains, Trains, Trains
It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, because if you love trains, this is the ultimate bank holiday day out in Leeds. Trains, Trains, Trains is a celebration of all things railways at Armley Mills. You can explore their fascinating locomotive shed, before you enjoy model railway demonstrations and take a look at the guest exhibition from the Friends of the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum, complete with African food.
Trains, Trains, Trains comes to Armley Mills Industrial Museum on Saturday 4th May 2019.
Paint Monet! Afternoon
Budding artists can show off their creativity at Brasserie Blanc as Pop-Up Painting returns with an another arty takeover. This time around, you’ll be trying to recreate the iconic works of French painter Claude Monet, with a special focus on his immediately recognisable work, ‘Irises’. You’ll get all the art supplies and guidance you need, but if you fancy a feed while you’re there you can add a 2-course meal with wine and coffee.
Paint Monet! Afternoon comes to Brasserie Blanc on Saturday 4th May 2019.
Sunday 5th May 2019
From huge club nights to rock gigs, bank holiday Sunday could be the highlight of your weekend.
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes are one of the most exciting bands in the UK and they’re coming to the Brudenell Social Club this bank holiday weekend for two intimate shows with Crash Records. It’s to mark the release of their third album ‘End of Suffering’ and will see them play a rare acoustic show before they play a full set later in the evening.
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes play Brudenell Social Club on Sunday 5th May 2019.
Charanga del Norte and Guillermo Davis
You can head to a rare live concert at Hyde Park Picture House as Charanga del Norte bring their Cuban rhythms to the old cinema as part of Leeds International Festival. They will show off their collaborative works with animator Guillermo Davis on the screen followed by a live semi-acoustic performance by the UK’s only charanga orchestra that will get you up and dancing.
Charanga del Norte and Guillermo Davis comes to Hyde Park Picture House on Sunday 5th May 2019.
London African Gospel Choir play Paul Simon’s Graceland
Paul Simon’s Graceland is one of the most popular albums of all time, selling around 15 million copies. To mark the 30th anniversary of this celebrated African-inspired record, the London African Gospel Choir are coming to Belgrave Music Hall to put their own unique spin on it, showing off their own incredible arrangements of classics like ‘You Can Call Me Al’ and ‘The Boy in the Bubble’.
London African Gospel Choir play Paul Simon’s Graceland comes to Belgrave Music Hall on Sunday 5th May 2019.
The Garden Party
The first bank holiday in May means one thing in Leeds – the first Garden Party of the year. It’s an absolutely stacked line-up which will take over Canal Mills, with indoor and outdoor stages from 12pm to 10pm. The big names include Eats Everything, Mall Grab, Skream, Butch, Derrick Carter, John Talabot and Kettama – it’s going to be one hell of a day.
The Garden Party takes over Canal Mills on Sunday 5th May 2019.
Fans of heavy music can see one of the top up and coming metal bands around as Brutus head to Hyde Park Book Club. They’ve been touted by Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and toured with the likes of Russian Circles, Thrice and Chelsea Wolfe, but now you can see them headline in an intimate setting here in Leeds. Expect black-metal blasts, math-rock flourishes and good old fashioned punk rock energy.
Brutus play Hyde Park Book Club on Sunday 5th May 2019.
Head to Leeds University Union this bank holiday in Leeds to check out one of America’s top hip-hop artists as Kid Ink makes his way across the Atlantic from L.A. You can expect to hear all his biggest hits, from ‘Show Me’ to ‘Body Language’, ‘Ride Out’ and ‘Be Real’, as well as new cuts from his latest EP, ‘Missed Calls’, which came out at the end of 2018.
Kid Ink plays Leeds University Union on Sunday 5th May 2019.
Want a bank holiday day out with your pooch in Leeds? Get down to Water Lane Boathouse for Scruffs, their own playful take on Crufts. It’s free entry from 11am, so head down early to grab a table, before your lovely little doggo competes in categories like waggiest tale, cheekiest face and best in show. There are treats for all involved and plenty of pet prizes to be won.
Scruffs comes to Water Lane Boathouse on Sunday 5th May 2019.
The Yarden Party
The Yarden Party is another bank holiday favourite and it’s back for another massive event this May. Get down to Duke Studios for a mini courtyard shindig with some of the best DJs and producers around. They’ve bagged Psychemagik to headline this party, and they’ll be joined by Ninety Nine DJs for their first event of the year.
The Yarden Party takes over Sheaf Street Cafeteria on Sunday 5th May 2019.
System and Set One Twenty Terrace Party
Pray for the sun to shine as the System x Set One Twenty Terrace Party returns to Mint Warehouse for another bank holiday extravaganza in Leeds. They’ll have DJs inside and outside, as Romanian minimal techno hero Rhadoo takes on headlining duties, with support from Margaret Dygas, Traumer and Francesco del Garda.
System and Set One Twenty Terrace Party takes over Mint Warehouse on Sunday 5th May 2019.
Call Lane Courtyard Party
Revolution and Brooklyn are joining forces once again for the return of their bank holiday weekend Courtyard Party on Call Lane. Get down to the second one of the year after their incredible Easter shenanigans, which will feature live sax and bongos as DJs spin the biggest dance and chart anthems inside and outside in their shared courtyard.
Call Lane Courtyard Party takes place on Sunday 5th May 2019.
The Home Office’s actions against residents born in other countries has been well publicised in recent years, but British-Romanian arts collective BÉZNĂ are bringing it to the fore on stage this bank holiday in Leeds. Illegalised, which is inspired and informed by the stories of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, aims to expose the the profit being made from the Home Office’s illegalisation of human life.
Illegalised comes to The Holbeck on Sunday 5th May 2019.
History of Gin Cocktails
Gin lovers can spend the ultimate day out at Blind Tyger on bank holiday Sunday by heading back in time to learn all about the History of Gin Cocktails. Their expert mixologists will treat you to five different concoctions, each one representing a different era of gin dating back to the 18th century. They will be paired with information about the drink, the serve and its origins.
History of Gin Cocktails comes to Blind Tyger on Sunday 5th May 2019.
Tour de Yorkshire Stage Four
The Tour de Yorkshire is now a May bank holiday weekend tradition and you can enjoy the fourth and final stage of this year’s road race as it makes its way from Halifax to Leeds. Line the route as the peloton heads south from Otley through Tinshill and into the city centre, where the crowds will gather on The Headrow to cheer the cyclists home.
Tour de Yorkshire Stage Four will ride into Leeds city centre on Sunday 5th May 2019.
Casa Loco 23rd Birthday
Casa Loco is one of the longest-running club nights in Leeds, consistently bringing the biggest and best DJs in bassline, club classics and old school to the city. It’s taking over The Warehouse to celebrate its 23rd Birthday with a staggering line up of over 20 top selectors, from DJ Browny to Rob Tissera, Lloyd Roper and Graham Dixon.
Casa Loco takes over The Warehouse on Sunday 5th May 2019.
Leeds Vintage Furniture Flea & Street Food Pop Up
You can spend your bank holiday looking at the perfect old school gems to brighten up your life at the Leeds Vintage Furniture Flea & Street Food Pop Up. There will be over 50 traders to check out, selling everything from prints to ornaments, furniture and crockery, but that only scratches the surface of what’s on offer. And once you’re shopped out, you can tuck into street eats from Little Bao Boy and Cheese Sir, washed down with fizz from the Bubble and Chic Bar.
Leeds Vintage Furniture Flea & Street Food Pop Up! comes to Chapel Allerton Primary School on Sunday 5th May 2019.
Monday 6th May 2019
End the bank holiday with a bang at these super cool gigs and family fun days.
You can spend bank holiday Monday checking out one of the best new singer-songwriters in the UK as Connie Constance comes to Leeds. Imagine the perfect blend of indie rock and soul as the Watford artist rattles through infectious tunes from her debut album ‘English Rose’, like ‘Fast Cars’, ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Let Go’.
Connie Constance plays Belgrave Music Hall on Monday 6th May 2019.
You can see one of the finest Scottish folk musicians of his generation at the Brudenell Social Club this bank holiday weekend as James Yorkston returns to Leeds to play a career-spanning set. He’s been a prolific presence since the release of his debut album ‘J. Wright Presents’ in 2001 and has released nine acclaimed albums since, as well as a number of records with Jon Thorne and Suhail Yusuf Khan.
James Yorkston Brudenell Social Club on Monday 6th May 2019.
Leeds International Festival Family Day
Take the kids along to The Tetley on bank holiday Monday to get involved with this year’s Leeds International Festival. The Family Day is chock full of entertainment – you can celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon with Eureka, make your own fridge magnet with Plastic is Fantastic and dance to Latin grooves with Charanga del Norte.
Leeds International Festival Family Day takes over The Village at The Tetley on Monday 6th May 2019.
Men I Trust
Montreal indie electropop band Men I Trust are crossing the Atlantic to play the Brudenell Social Club. Fresh from breakout shows at this year’s Coachella Festival, the trio have perfected artsy ballads that strike straight at your soul. They’ll be playing through their 2017 debut self-titled album, as well as new tracks from their forthcoming follow-up.
Men I Trust play Brudenell Social Club on Monday 6th May 2019.Cover image credit: Tom Joy