The UK’s leading metropolitan festival of new ideas and innovation celebrates local creativity and international culture whilst creating one of the biggest events in Leeds.

Leeds International Festival is back for its second year, with an unforgettable fortnight of events to excite, entertain and inspire. Launched in 2017 to critical acclaim, this year’s festival, running from 28 April – 12 May, promises not to disappoint. The eclectic programme boasts an array of original performances, world firsts, premieres and debates with big names from across the worlds of music, technology, moving image and fashion, popping up in venues across the city.

Leeds International Festival has everything from space travel with the first Briton to go out of this world, and sex, love and artificial intelligence, to music from the UK’s only blind orchestra to a celluloid trip down memory lane with Leeds United – to name but a few. Topping the bill are names including Helen Sharman CMG OBE, Sarah Beeny, June Sarpong, Steve Lamacq, Jamie Jones Buchanan and Nick JD Hodgson (former founding member of The Kaiser Chiefs). New events announced include a special LIF hour long commission from the Inner Vision Orchestra, performed in the dark; a look at space travel – past, present and future with three experts in their field; a charity chinwag with cultural icon Cosey Fanni Tutti; an empowering conference showcasing a panel of female speakers’ career journeys into and through the digital domain; and a re-worked score with an exciting collaboration with Opera North and Circuit Des Yeux as they take on the film Salomé.


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Caption (clockwise from top): Helen Sharman at National Waterfront Museum Swansea, Circuit Des Yeux – Reaching for Indigo and June Sarpong.

Andrew Cooper, Chair of Leeds International Festival and Chief Executive of LeedsBID, said, “Leeds International Festival is back in 2018, celebrating new ideas, local creativity and international culture in the city, with an inspired programme of events from original performances, international speakers, intriguing debates and discussions, new music, alongside some excellent visual treats.”

“This festival, bought to you by LeedsBID, aims to encapsulate all that is great about Leeds, providing the opportunity for business and cultural organisations to collaborate on showcasing the city’s strengths to audiences from near and far,” he added.  “The ambition is for the international festival to become a showpiece annual event, growing in status, calibre and appeal each year.”

Tickets are now onsale via TicketWeb, with more programme details to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Words by Bonita McKinney

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