As Leeds 2023 heads into its final phase, we catch up with Neighbourhood Host Nick Wayne to reflect on the festival.
Leeds 2023 has been a fantastic hit since it kicked off in January, with hundreds of events having successfully taken place, celebrating the vibrancy and creativity of our city. The festival has been facilitated through Neighbourhood Hosts: 33 remarkable local people passionately committed to the areas they live in. Nick Wayne is one of the area’s Neighbourhood Hosts, and he tells us what it means that Leeds 2023 is now entering its final phase.
“We started with the Awakening phase, which went up to the end of April, then May until the end of August was Playing, and then as of 1st September until the end of the year is Dreaming,” Nick explained.
“That means that summer is over and all of the summer events which took place have made way to a whole new series of events – we’re talking about hundreds – including some of the existing events that go on throughout the city anyway, with the advantage of Leeds 2023 being added to the way it’s been organised. For example, Light Night, which has been going on for 18 years, is going to be linked into Leeds 2023 this year, to give it extra marketing and exposure. But there are also many new events happening as well, which are specific to Leeds 2023.”
Being two phases down Nick has had a chance to reflect on the success of the festival so far: “The programme has been hugely successful. We’ve had big responses from our audiences and there’s been tremendous attendance at events. For example, the World Music and World Food Festival that I put on at Soldiers Field on 17th June attracted 2,500 people, it was so successful that we’re actually in the planning stages to put it on again next year.”
Already Leeds 2023 is leaving its legacy on the city: “I think it’s highlighting nationally and internationally, the attitude of the city to the various communities and how those communities should be celebrated through cultural and arts-based events that carry on in 2024 and beyond. That’s really a measure of its success. People are travelling to Leeds to experience these events and we hope that they will continue in the coming years, I think that they really will.”
If you want to get involved with Leeds 2023 or have an idea you like to share, there’s still time to get in touch: “I think most of the Neighbourhood Hosts would welcome contributions from the various communities for any ideas that they may have about future events. This is for the people of Leeds, not for the people who run Leeds 2023. It’s for the communities. If they have an idea, if they have a desire for something to happen, get in touch.”
Nick himself is happy for anyone to contact him at email@example.com