Leeds-List - Leeds' ultimate magazine and guide

What’s On This Weekend in Leeds

· James Tweddle · Culture

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

The Nutcracker

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 14th December 2018

Gin & Tonic

Kick off your weekend in Leeds with a night of food, drink and entertainment as Left Bank’s Christmas by Candlelight offers a medley of cheese, crackers and wine, all accompanied by a twenty-piece concert band. Rather treat your mind? The Leeds Library will be hosting their latest talk, On Equality, or strip away your worries with Shadwell Studio’s Hot Earth Flow Evening Retreat.

Prefer a night of drama? It’s your last weekend to catch Northern Ballet’s festive treat The Nutcracker, complete with Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, or enjoy the nativity story with a twist at NEONTIVI3. Hope City Leeds are retelling the famous tale, but with music from Frozen, Black Panther and Childish Gambino thrown in. Alternatively, see how Scrooge would have acted if he was from the city in Leeds Playhouse’s A Christmas Carol, or see a classic up on the big screen with Yuletide favourite It’s a Wonderful Life at Hyde Park Picture House. Fancy a chuckle instead? Surreal Geordie comedian Ross Noble is at Leeds Town Hall to leave you rolling in the aisles.

There’s loads of live music on Friday evening too. One of the UK’s most famous pianists, Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra will be lighting up the First Direct Arena, while American indie rockers Mercury Rev run through their back catalogue at Brudenell Social Club. Elsewhere, O2 Academy Leeds plays host to ultra-popular Abba tribute band Bjorn Again, while guitar-driven outfit Mona head to Hyde Park Book Club, accompanied by October Drift and Jabbawoki. Need more? The Key Club is the setting for nu-metallers King 810, and Wharf Chambers welcomes Canadian punk rocker Tom Holliston.

Clubbers are in for a treat this weekend in Leeds, starting with the last ever Student Night at Canal Mills. Host Asher Don will hand the decks over to Dan Hills, Livsey and Danny James for a night to remember. Elsewhere, it’s power ballad central at O2 Academy Leeds for a night of Ultimate Power, or take a trip to Beaver Works for the Flux Christmas Party, featuring spellbinding sets from Jane Fitz, Red Axes and Chris Stussy. Fancy a blast from the past? The Warehouse presents Christmas with East 17, as the best-selling 90s boyband rock up for a huge night. Alternatively, enjoy the best funk, soul disco and Motown in the city with Motherfunkers Winter Wonderland at the HiFi Club.

Saturday 15th December 2018

The Kitty Cafe Leeds

Want to get out and about on Saturday? The cuddly Kitty Cafe is encouraging people to share their mental health stresses and open up with Self Care Over the Christmas Period. Alternatively, embrace the Danish ideal of cosiness with Hot Hygge at Yoga Kula, which pairs therapeutic stretches with warm blankets, relaxing oils and candles. Prefer a tipple? The Gin Journey is your chance to see the city while tasting five different gins at five undisclosed bars, or attempt a racous, boozy version of a classic game with Bongo’s Bingo at Canal Mills.

Feeling festive? It’s not long ‘til Christmas, so get the little ones excited with a visit to Santa at Swithens Farm, with a whole menagerie of cute animals to pet. Elsewhere, the man in red will be reading to the all the family with Storytime in Santa’s Grotto at Leeds Library or handing out presents with another Santa’s Grotto at St Johns Centre. Not finished with the presents? You can pick up treats or make your own at Harewood House’s Artisan Xmas Food & Craft Market, or find a hidden gem in Popalong at Pudsey with Santa’s Secret Toy Sale. Prefer to huddle inside from the cold? Seven Arts presents family-friendly play The Elves & The Shoemaker from Wrongsemble.

British Sea Power, Long Division 2015

There’s plenty of live music this weekend in Leeds too. It’s a doubl-header at Brudenell Social Club, with cult indie rockers British Sea Power and local pop-rockers Eureka Machines both taking to the stage. Elsewhere, Wharf Chambers are going all-out with Indie Banquet XII, headlined by post-punk outfit Warmduscher, and support by the likes of Hotel Lux and Wilted. There’s an appearance by cruise ship singer and celeb Jane McDonald at First Direct Arena, as well as something for classical fans to sink their teeth into – Leeds College of Music’s Opera Soc will be performing Strauss’ Revenge of the Bat, also known as Die Fledermaus, at Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School.

Staying out late? You can party the night away in the city’s clubs. Liverpudlian legend Craig Charles brings his impressive DJ skills to The Wardrobe for Funk & Soul Club, while the city’s biggest bass rave comes back with a bang for Distortion’s 2nd Birthday. Mint Warehouse is the place to be with DJ Guv, Eskman and Jamie Duggan three of 21 DJs on the bill for Distortion’s 2nd Birthday. Keen for a dose of techno and house? Fresh from Paris, Berlin and New York, Honey Dijon will be at Headrow House for Natural Selection x Classic is Your Friend.

There’s more head-thumping house on offer at Mint Club too, with Our House Christmas Special, featuring top-tier artists, from Shaun ‘Banger’ Scott to Marc Leaf and Rob Tissera. Alternatively, get your glam-pop groove on with Disco Made Me Do It at East 59th, or be present for 2 Years of DON, as the tech house rascals finally make their debut at Wire with performances from Lauren Lo Sung and Ben Sterling. Need some 80s vibes? The man, the myth, the legend, Brutus Gold is back at O2 Academy Leeds for the Love Train Xmas Disco Ball.

Sunday 16th December 2018

Trombone, brass, woodwind

There’s more festive magic to be had on Sunday too, starting at Belgrave Music Hall with their Christmas Film Marathon. Settle in with a pint and some popcorn as they show The Grinch, The Muppet Christmas Carol and Home Alone back to back, or pop along to Meanwood Craft & Farmers Market: Christmas Edition for everything from last-minute gifts to mulled wine and carol singing. After a treat for the kids? Head to Left Bank and let their imagination go wild at Messy Xmas, or teach them an essential skill at The Bowery for their Kids Sunday Sew event. There’s even a chance to tuck into an array of vegan treats at Cantina’s Christmas Cruelty-Free Jamboree.

Want to round off your weekend with even more live music? It’s the big one on Sunday, as cult psychedelic rock band MGMT take to the stage at O2 Academy Leeds, while Brudenell Social Club sees hometown Irish rock brothers Cronin celebrate the season with The Fairytale of Leeds: A Celebration of The Pogues & Shane McGowan. There’s more Christmassy feels at Leeds Town Hall too, as the Orchestra of Opera North accompanies a live showing of tear-jerker classic The Snowman, with a suite from The Nutcracker to warm up too. Need extra big band fun? Seven Arts are hosting a Winter Chamber Concert, or make a beeline for The Sunday Joint at The HiFi Club for the booming New York Brass Band. Finally, make it the most wonderful time of year with Festive Music at Temple Newsam from the Morley And District Concert Band.

Find out what’s on this weekend in Yorkshire…

Cover image credit: Emma Kauldhar