Sooooo, it seems that the middle of the year arrived while I wasn’t looking – how did that happen?! I would almost feel sad about it, except June means that the days are longer, the evenings warmer, and summer can’t be far away (fingers tightly crossed on that last one). I’m also comforted by the fact that June is going to be a hugely exciting month – I’m going to Slovenia on my first holiday alone, finishing it off with a weekend in Venice, one of my favourite cities, and I’ll be moving house at the end of the month, although where I will be moving to is yet to be confirmed. All this busy-ness does mean I’ll probably have to miss a lot of the exciting happenings in Leeds this month, but here’s what the rest of you might be getting up to…
3rd-5th: Yorkshire Post Food & Drink Show
Leeds Indie Food is over for another year and we’re all feeling the loss, but the Yorkshire Post Food & Drink Show is coming along just in time to help us through it. While not on anywhere near the same scale as LIF and often dominated by chains who have the cash to afford a stand, it’s a good opportunity to in free tastings and pick up a quick lunch for less than the in-house menu price. There are some great independents there too if you’re willing to look for them, as well as bars and live cooking demonstrations.
3rd-6th: Leeds Big Bookend
Bookworms rejoice – June is the month of Leeds’ Big Bookend Festival! This festival has a huge focus on Leeds writers and culture, and this year is also incorporating the Northern Short Story Festival on Saturday 4th. There’s a huge mix of book launches, workshops, lectures, debate, and even an interactive art installation by Lucy Burnett that I’m realy excited to check out. I love the ‘pushing boundaries’ theme of this year’s Big Bookend; Leeds is changing and developing so much at the moment, and this idea of challenging limitation and redefining the city’s identity could not be more fitting.
4th-5th: Crafty Fox Market
Coming all the way from London, Crafty Fox Market is hitting Leeds for the first time to host 2 days of craft stalls at the Black Swan. There will be a huge range of independent traders selling jewellery, clothes, cards, accessories and much more, with different sellers attending on Saturday and Sunday. Think of it like a big IRL EBay, with added music, food and drink. There’ll also be some fun workshops to help you improve your own crafting skills!
6th-12th: Leeds Loves Cocktails
Leeds Loves Cocktails is basically the ultra-boozy version of Leeds Indie Food – you buy your wristband, choose your events, and off you go! A few of my ones to watch are Sligsby’s Gin Tasting & Cocktail Competition, G & Tea, Cazcabel & Palm Sugar Pairing Meal, Disco Daiquiri Session and Travel the World Unknown. There are also a few cocktail competitions for those who fancy themselves budding mixologists, and a Fever Tree pop-up bar in Trinity that’s doing gin masterclasses all week.
16th-3rd July: Yorkshire Festival
Yorkshire Festival debuted in 2014 as a run-up event to the Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France, and was such a success it’s returned for 2016. It’s the most incredible mish-mash of events you’re ever seen, an arts festival designed specifically to show off the huge range of diversity and creative ingenuity we have in Yorkshire. Attractions include a ‘fire garden’ in Harrogate, angels flying over Hull, and a weekend of hands-on art at the Tetley Weekender, while my don’t-miss event is Big Disco which will be attended by the world’s biggest disco ball. It’s impossible to describe in this short paragraph just how bizarre the line-up of Yorkshire Festival is; check out the website to see for yourself.
25th-26th: Leeds Waterfront Festival
The River Aire/Leeds Liverpool Canal area of Leeds used to be pretty dull and dreary, but the residential and commercial developments at Granary Wharf, Brewery Wharf and Leeds Dock have pulled in the young professionals and turned the riverside into a much more appealing place to be. Leeds Waterfront Festival is one of the events leading this makeover, with a weekend of fun events for the whole family. This year the programme includes a junk boat building challenge, a splashmob, barge events, live music, street food,and the annual Dragon Boat Race to raise money for Heart Research UK.
What have you got planned in June? Comment and let me know if I’ve missed anything!