The Story So Far: Leeds International Festival 18

From individual stories of Rugby League sacrifice and glory to a pack out of the only live action video game in the world, we couldn't have had a better start to Leeds International Festival. Now with 4 days to go, here's a quick look back at some of the events that made our city shine.

Leeds has been glowing pink for over a week now as Leeds International Festival 2018 has taken over the city centre. The festival’s eclectic programme has presented everything so far from live gigs to techi talks, catwalk shows and photo exhibitions to film premieres.

Vessels opened the festival with a specially curated night at Canal Mills, Saturday saw Live Art Bistro and KAOS Classical Uproar bring the Spiegeltent in Millennium Square to life with and a classical music blast back to past while AQL headquarters at Salem Chapel hosted an inspiring talk about disconnecting from tech.


Sunday saw The Dark Room present the world’s only live-action videogame and an evening with the House Gospel Choir while the world best rugby league team took centre stage on Monday night for the world premiere of As Good As It Gets - Leeds Rhinos’ story of sacrifice and glory – in front of an audience of 600, with sporting legends Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock among the team stepping out in celebration

New for 2018, the Leeds International Festival Spielgeltent, situated in The Village on Millennium Square for the first seven days (28th April-6th May) presented a week of music, art, fashion and film riding alongside all the cycling action and activities surrounding the Tour de Yorkshire Fourth Edition.

The Village, organised by Welcome to Yorkshire, Leeds Business Improvement District (LeedsBID) and Leeds City Council, saw the creation of a cultural hub in the heart of the city centre, with the added ingredients of food and drink served up by some of the city’s independent, whilst the tent will hosted two performances from Red Ladder, a Thought bubble movie night and a Live at Leeds take over.

The second week saw Empowering Women with tech & science take over New Dock Hall, while The Unconference educated all on the music industry at Leeds College of Music on. There was also a Sold Out talk on space at AQL with Helen Sharman topping the bill.

Now we enter the final weekend with plenty of stand out events still to come (lineup below):

-Rewire Leeds – Playtest by machina eX & Transform, a collaboration between Transform and Machina eX-join forces to create a brand new interactive adventure, specially curated for the city of Leeds. 

-An Audience with Steve Lamacq Going Deaf for a Living. Steve will tell anecdotes from the life story of a music obsessive, and from his BBC career as an ambassador for new music  from 17 interviews with Noel Gallagher to the time Richey from the Manic Street Preachers, desperate to illustrate the sincerity of the band, carved “4REAL” into his arm with a razor blade.

-CPWM x Paramount Music A showcase of urban music. Paramount Music is taking over Come Play With Me’s monthly showcase event at the Hyde Park Book Club, bringing four of the amazing artists that they work closely with to this brilliant little venue: Tamara, Dave O, Weezy Jefferson, and finally, Graft.

-BALKANARAMA featuring Tantz live. The closing night of Leeds International Festival will feature a huge night of global beats, as a little piece of Eastern Europe lands in the centre of Leeds.

-Salomé with live score by Haley Fohr of Circuit des Yeux 1923 film and live score. Circuit des Yeux’s Haley Fohr performs a newly commissioned, original soundtrack to the startlingly seductive 1923 silent movie, Salomé. Circuit des Yeux’s sound combines fingerpicked guitar, avant-garde electronics, minimalism and song with Fohr’s otherworldly voice, which has drawn comparisons with Nina Simone, Nico and even Scott Walker.

-JUICEBOX feat: Mykki Blanco & David Hoyle. A sublimely anarchic art party brought to you by the one and only Live Art Bistro: featuring Mykki Blanco and David Hoyle in a world premiere collaboration, plus a slew of unforgettable and immersive happenings from local artists.

Tickets are still available to purchase for the above events at