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📆 What’s on in Leeds May 2024

📆 What’s on in Leeds May 2024

Words by
Vicky Zaremba & Chapter 81

April may have been a bit of a washout weather-wise (thanks, April showers!), but you shouldn’t let it dampen your spirits moving into May. There’s a big festival vibe in and around the city this month. Whether it’s sport, entertainment, or culture you’re after, you’ll find your crowd on both bank holidays and everywhere in between. 

For the Early May Bank Holiday…

Yorkshire’s biggest music festival, Mint Fest, returns for the Early May Bank Holiday weekend at the 136-acre Newsam Green Farm site. On Saturday, the 4th and Sunday, the 5th of May, Mint brings two days of uninterrupted house, techno, drum and bass and more to ten intimate stages just ten minutes from Leeds City Centre. Special guests this year include PAWSA, East End Dubs Eats Everything, Girls Dont Sync, Interplanetary Criminal, Joseph Capriati and K Motionz. It’s a big one.

Over in Kirkstall, breweries of all sizes and ages will come together at The Great Exhibition of Prize Ales at Kirkstall Brewery, celebrating the history of brewing. Between the 3rd and 5th of May, over four sessions (12 am till 10:30 pm on Fri/Sat and till 4:30 pm on Sun), ticket-holders can sample everything from pale ales to imperial stouts and even beers recreated from decades and centuries-old recipes. There’ll also be food and live music aplenty.

Elsewhere, Snail Art Market, an independent art market showcasing artists from Leeds and the North, is free to attend between 2 pm and 7 pm on Saturday, May 4th, at Outsiders Workshop, Byron Street Mills. There’ll be prints, zines, jewellery, ceramics, and textiles to browse, with DJs, food and drink to enjoy.

Also on Saturday, May 4th, Leeds Horror Fest at Left Bank Leeds is a horror-themed comic con offering a darker take on bank holiday festivities.

Mint Festival Mint Festival
The Great Exhibition of Prize Ales The Great Exhibition of Prize Ales

For the Spring Bank Holiday…

If Mint sets May off with a bang, music lovers are spoilt for choice heading into the Spring Bank Holiday at the end of the month. Take your pick from: 

Leeds Jazz Festival. Various venues throughout the city will host free and ticketed live jazz events between the 23rd and 28th of May. Discover jazz in favourite locations like The Brudenell, Headrow House, Eat your Greens, and Sela Bar, or al fresco at the Welcome to Leeds Stage, on Cookridge Street, between The Radisson and Henry Moore Institute, where curated by guests such as Sable Radio, DJ Lubi, and Launchpad

Back-to-back family-friendly music festivals (under 5s go free) at Temple Newsam Park

Live at Leeds in the Park on Saturday, May 25th. The ultimate all-dayer is back, headlined by English pop-rock band The Kooks. Declan McKenna, Future Islands, White Lies, Mel C, Mystery Jets, and local favourites The Cribs and Corinne Bailey Rae are among the line-up. 

On Sunday, the 26th of May, rock legends You Me at Six will headline Leeds’ perennially popular UK pop-punk, emo, metal, and alternative music festival, Slam Dunk Festival. Let’s hope the sun shines as brightly as it did in 2023 on a series of great headliners, including I Prevail, Waterparks, The Interrupters, and The Wonder Years.

Meanwhile, another stunning Leeds location, Harewood House, hosts its Great British Food Festival between 25th and 27th May. It’s an excellent opportunity to explore the picturesque Harewood grounds with a range of glorious refreshments on tap. And it’s another one that’s suitable for the whole family. 

Great British Food Festival Great British Food Festival
Leeds Jazz Festival Leeds Jazz Festival

And everything in between…

Head to Roundhay Park for the North Leeds Food Festival (NLFF). Returning for its 8th year, NLFF celebrates international and local cuisine and has something for foodies of all ages. Expect tasters, live demos, and entertainment throughout the 11th and 12th of May. Kids will love getting hands-on with fun cookery classes.

For true hop heads, Hop City is back at the OG home of Northern Monk. Thirty-five breweries will descend on The Old Flax Store on the 17th and 18th of May, serving up the best hoppy beers from around the world, food and entertainment. Grab yourself a pre-booked all-in or token-based ticket to access everything from fruity IPAs to big DIPAs and TIPAs (double and triple-hopped IPAs).

When your waistline has reached capacity, here are some alternative events to get involved in this month:  

Ones to watch: Cricket fans can watch England Women vs Pakistan Women on Sunday, 19th May and England Men vs Pakistan Men on Wednesday, 22nd May at Yorkshire County Cricket Ground. There’s also a chance to catch Yorkshire vs Glamorgan and Worcester and Northern Diamonds vs Central Sparks this month at Headingley. See the full fixture list here.

Ones to take part in: The Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon starts from Headingley Stadium at 9 a.m. on 12th May. Local legend Rob needs no introduction in these parts. If you’d like to get involved, supporting the Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Appeal, the MND Association, or a charity of your choice, it’s not too late to sign up.  

For something other than sport, why not try one of Leeds’ Pop-up Painting events, held at various venues city-wide throughout May? With a wine glass in one hand and a paintbrush in the other, learn to paint like the masters: Warhol, Monet, or Van Gogh. There are twelve dates in May to choose from…

Or join nonfiction filmmaker, critic and curator Charlie Shackleton for Hyde Park Film School: Forbidden Films in a Day on 11th May––a special programme exploring the history of big-screen taboo with showings of Baby Face and Caligula. Booking is essential for this one.

North Leeds Food Festival North Leeds Food Festival
Cricket at the Yorkshire County Cricket Ground Cricket at the Yorkshire County Cricket Ground
The Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon The Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon


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