Leeds-List - Leeds' ultimate magazine and guide

What’s On This Weekend in Leeds

· Joseph Sheerin · Culture

Here is everything that's going on in Leeds this weekend.

Big Fish Little Fish Family Rave

If the weekend has caught you by surprise and you still don’t have plans, fear not, because we’ve rounded up what’s going on this weekend in Leeds.

There’s always something to do in Leeds, so if you find yourself at a loose end this weekend, or any other for that matter, just whack Leeds-List in your search bar and find our guide to what’s on. From the latest shows to club nights and one-off events, we’ve got it covered.

Friday 22nd June 2018

Leeds Gin festival

Why not kick off your weekend in Leeds with a few beers? Far Headingley Beer Festival brings loads of brilliant Yorkshire breweries to St Chad’s Parish Centre across 3 days, while the Fourpure Continental Collaboration Tour takes over Whitelock’s with an array of exclusive brews. Not a beer fan? Make a beeline for Leeds Gin Festival at the Town Hall where there will be over 100 different types of gin for you to choose from, as well as cocktail masterclasses, street food and live entertainment.

Alternatively, you can spend your night getting creative at Chirpy’s Rag Rug a Brooch Workshop with Agnis Smallwood or you can find your inner calm by trying out one of the classes at the Leeds Wellness and Yoga Festival at Yoga Hero. Is Friday film night? Instituto Cervantes is hosting a special evening looking at female Hispanic filmmakers – they’ll be screening Requirements to Be a Normal Person. Over at Hyde Park Picture House, they’re showing two cult favourites – In the Fade and L’Amant Double.


Credit: Matt Crockett

The city’s theatres are also busy – Leeds Grand’s big show is Wicked, a wildly successful West End and Broadway musical about Glinda the Good and The Wicked Witch of the West. Alternatively, West Yorkshire Playhouse brings us Talking Heads, the iconic work of Leeds legend Alan Bennett. It features six famous monologues split in half across alternate shows. At the same venue, you can catch Searching for the Heart of Leeds, which splices together 200 stories from people across the city gathered by Phoenix Dance Theatre to help them answer the question, ‘What makes Leeds, Leeds?’

Over at Carriageworks, there are two shows you could check out. The hugely popular West End musical The Wedding Singer returns to Leeds to follow the ups and downs of Robbie Hart, New Jersey’s ultimate nuptial crooner. Or you can see On Behalf of the People, a powerful story about a family growing up in post-war Yorkshire. If you fancy a few laughs to start your weekend instead, David Baddiel plays the first of two nights at City Varieties Music Hall and he’ll be performing his Olivier-nominated one-man show ‘My Family Not the Sitcom’.

For live music, you’re spoilt for choice. Relive the Thin White Duke’s greatest hits as Ultimate Bowie take over Brudenell Social Club with their much-loved tribute show. The same venue welcomes local electronic indie duo Krrum for a hometown show to support their debut album ‘Honeymoon’. Elsewhere, you can watch legendary Baltimore singer-songwriter Daniel Higgs at Hyde Park Book Club, local grunge group Fringe at The Library and Newcastle soul and funk group Smoove & Turrell at The Wardrobe.

Smoove and Turrell

For something a bit heavier, punk group Colour Me Wednesday play Temple of Boom with Kermes, while local rockers The Potenzas play Santiago with Ashfields. Alternatively, Wakefield-based Americana artist Doug Sissley plays Lucky Number 7, local funky brass group Hyde Park Brass Band throw a massive party at Northern Monk and the Summer Solstice Festival brings some of South East Asia’s finest musicians to Leeds College of Music, from Keertan Rehal to Guardian Singh Rayatt.

If you’re staying out until the early hours, make a beeline for the city’s clubs. Octave One takes over The Friday Residency at Sheaf Street Cafeteria while Social Hours throw their first Day/Night Party at Studio 24. You can gorge on a feast of garage, grime and drum & bass as the Second to None Summer Jam comes to The Old Red Bus Station, revel in a hardcore fiesta at Fractal 20: Resident Evil at Beaver Works or get down to some Afrobeat-inspired electronic rhythms at the Afro.Co June Jamboree with Sy Sez and Neil P at Wire.

Saturday 23rd June 2018

Water Lane Boathouse

Credit: Tom Joy

How will you spend your Saturday? Water Lane Boathouse is throwing a Seafood and Wine Festival – you can tuck into treats from Yakumama, Shanty Town, Ox Club and Holy Crab while supping an array of fine and natural wines from Wayward. You could also head down to North Brewing Co for the latest Eat North instalment or hop aboard the Gini-bus for The Gin Journey bar crawl.

Alternatively, check out the exhibitions that are closing up this weekend. You’ve got four to see down at The Craft Centre and Design Gallery – Scratch the Surface Jewellery Show, Ring Exhibition 2018, Monochrome – Surface and Liz Somerville’s Solo Print Exhibition are all closing. Elsewhere, don’t miss your last chance to see Tomoko Konoike’s Fur Story at Leeds Arts University, Teenage Kicks at Leeds City Museum or Squeeze, The BA Fine Art Degree Show at the University of Leeds.

You’ve also got a duo of big ongoing exhibitions to check out – Facing Up to the Muses pays homage to legendary local poet Tony Harrison at The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery and Rights and Romance: Representing Gypsy Lives explores visual and fictional representations of Gypsy life and culture at Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery.

Rights and Romance: Representing Gypsy Lives

© Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Corvin Pamp

If you want to see something new, there are two art shows opening this weekend. Footsteps Into Art is the third annual celebration of work by the children artists who’ve been part of The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery’s education projects, while These Northern Types questions Northern identities at Sunny Bank Mills. Or you could brush up on your own artistic flair by taking part in the Contemporary Illustration Workshop at Abbey House Museum.

Got kids to entertain? They can get creative at the Family Lego Stop Animation Workshop at Seacroft Community Hub. For something a bit different, the Big Fish Little Fish family rave is back at Leeds University Union with Rob Tissera on the decks and loads of fun going on for the little ones. Royal Armouries is going to be busy for their Legends: Blackbeard weekend, Skelton Grange is hosting A Midsummer Picnic and The Little Bookshop is throwing the Llamas Go Large World Cup Party.

Farsley Festival

Credit: Farsley Festival

The whole family are invited to the banks of the River Aire and Leeds Liverpool Canal for the annual Leeds Waterfront Festival – there’s a slew of fun events taking place across five miles of the city’s waterways. Watch the famous Dragon Boat Race at Leeds Dock, visit the bars, eat the street food and enjoy the live entertainment. You can also spend the day at Hainsworth Park for the Farsley Festival, which promises everything from a silent disco to circus skills, dance classes and live music.

Fancy picking up a few gems? The Super Retro Games Fair brings loads of old school consoles to Leeds University Union or you can join in the Tee Party at Awesome Merchandise – 10 artists will be screenprinting t-shirts to order with exclusive designs only available on the day. The Leeds Murder Mystery Day is back too and loads of wannabe Sherlocks and Poirots will go on an interactive detective trail across the city.

Fancy a trip to the theatre on Saturday? Women of Power is a new show by Mafwa Theatre in celebration of National Refugee Week – they’ve brought together a cast of women from different backgrounds to explore powerful, real-life stories. Or you can catch Sorrel & Black Cake at Leeds Central Library to learn about the arrival of Windrush immigrant Miss Letty in the UK. For a night of stand-up, Leeds Comedy Cabaret returns to Tiger Tiger and The Comedy Sessions bring Mick Ferry, Craig Murray and Martin Mor to The HiFi Club.

Waterfront Festival

There’s plenty of live music on Saturday too. Relive the hits of rock music’s biggest names as Ey Up Maiden play the songs of Iron Maiden with a Yorkshire twist at The Key Club or sing along to The Boss’ best tunes as The Springsteen Sessions come to The Wardrobe. There’s an actual 80s pop icon in Leeds this weekend too as Toyah Wilcox runs through her greatest hits at Morley Town Hall.

Two of Leeds’ most promising new bands are playing Brudenell Social Club as Drahla are joined by support Fehm. Meanwhile, up and coming Edinburgh folk group Dowally play LS6 Cafe and Leeds-based rockers Our Divinity play Church. Fans of heavy music are in luck too – 90s hardcore punk legends H2O are at Temple of Boom for the first of two shows, Dutch anarcho-punks The Ex play Wharf Chambers and melodic metalcore group TheCityIsOurs come to The Packhorse.

The city’s clubs are going to be booming. Fresh Jive is back for a 20th anniversary celebration at Hyde Park Book Club – it was once one of the most influential hip-hop club nights in the UK and it’s returning with dance battles, live music and DJ showcases. Tensile in the Basement brings underground electronic sounds to Beaver Works and there’s a special night in store at Smokestack as resident jazz, soul and funk DJ Chico Malo celebrates his 1000th gig.

Sunday 24th June 2018

Leeds Art Gallery

Untitled (Bower), 2017 by Andy Holden, a recreation of a Bowerbird’s bower, with a view of the film A Natural History of Nest Building, Andy Holden & Peter Holden, 2017, through it.

Why not spend Sunday afternoon at one of the city’s best ongoing exhibitions? Leeds Art Gallery continues to host Andy and Peter Holden’s Natural Selection show, the culmination of a 5-year project by the father and son team that recognises the diversity of nature through birds using videos, objects, sculptures and animation. Over at Henry Moore Institute, you can wander around the ongoing Sculpture Collections show, while Beer: A History of Brewing and Drinking continues at Temple Newsam, Mining Memories runs at Lotherton Hall and Remembrance takes over Abbey House Museum.

You can also show off your creative side by taking part in the Collograph and Monoprint class at Leeds Print Workshop or treating the little ones to The Kids Sunday Sew at The Bowery in Headingley. Over at Hyde Park Picture House, you can enjoy a Sunday screening of Human Flow to mark National Refugee Week. Or if you can’t get enough of the World Cup, check out our list of where to watch the match before England take on Panama.

V Jay Theatre are coming to Leeds this weekend with a special show at Seven Arts – Streets Paved With Gold tells the story of Augustus Cleveland Johnson before he arrived in London in 1948 as part of the Windrush Generation. The Riley Theatre has an evening of dance in store as the National Youth Dance Company perform Used to be Blonde or you can see the return of everyone’s favourite musical comedy duo from New Zealand, Flight of the Conchords, at First Direct Arena.

Want to end the week with live music? Saxophonist Jon Taylor celebrates the summer with a sun-tinged jazz show at Seven Arts, while the Left Bank Leeds Pop-up Choir perform a concert on their home turf. Classical fans are in for a treat too – St Peter’s Singers bring their In Brightness Arrayed show to Leeds Minster or you can check out The Gould Trio at the Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall.