LEEDS 2023 is a bold and imaginative Year of Culture packed with creativity celebrating Leeds. We check in with Nick Wayne, Roundhay’s LEEDS 2023 host, to see what’s coming up and how you can get involved.
So far, LEEDS 2023 has completed its Awakening phase, which lasted from 1st January to 30th April and has now fully transitioned into its latest phase, titled: Playing, which will last for the duration of summer, from now to 31st August.
The Playing phase of the year captures the idea that we have much to discover and play around with in Leeds’ rich artistic and musical culture. And you don’t have to be an artist or a musician be involved and enjoy it! Nick Wayne, host of Roundhay’s LEEDS 2023, says: “When some people think culture, they think that’s going to be a bit boring, a bit highbrow. It isn’t. It’s fun.
“The exhibition at the art gallery exhibiting Leeds’ artists was superb. Because the event was free (as are most of these events), but when people put into the ballot for a ticket, they had to submit some form of piece of art. So, it might have been a painting or a drawing, might have been a poem, it could have been a photograph of a cake that they’ve made, it could be all sorts of things. Just anything. It was wonderful, because regular people are discovering they have talent.”
Though the exhibition during the awakening is now closed, the camaraderie of culture being created by us all is on-going. Over 300 ordinary people have volunteered to help LEEDS 2023 so far and you can
do so too by applying to volunteer on their website, earning you special VIP LEEDS 2023 experiences from exciting celebrations to mass participation spectaculars.
On Sunday 27th August will be the Black Music Festival, showcasing talent from genres of Black origin. Performing at the festival will be a group called Reggae Roots, a band of nine to 19-year-olds from Leeds, who have been rehearsing to be Britain’s only youth reggae choir. Nick says: “But not only that, they were invited to perform in the grounds of Windsor Castle as part of the king’s coronation. And this is a group of kids from Leeds, who just got together for the love of music and the participation. There was also a little programme on BBC on 5th May about how the selection process started. It’s just incredible. Who knew that these kids were around with that sort of talent?”
For anyone on the fence who’s considering going to a LEEDS 2023 event, Nick says: “Do something that you would never dream of doing. Because you never know, it could be your new passion, it could be your new desire, it could be your new pastime. Just do something. Look at the programme and say, ‘Well, I don’t know what that is.’ And try it. It’s not going to take a huge amount of time. It’s probably going to be free. So why wouldn’t you?”
For a full list of events including stand-up comedy, exhibitions and roller discos across the city, log on check out the programme.