When: 25th – 26th June 2016
Where: The Waterfront, Leeds, West Yorkshire
What is it?
Leeds Waterfront Festival brings the city’s waterways alive each year with an eclectic mix of music, performance, arts and family fun. This year’s festival will be packed with activities and creativity on the water, on boats, and on dry land.
2016 is the 200th anniversary of the Leeds Liverpool canal’s completion. So this year’s festival promises a special celebratory weekend. There will be a contemporary portrait of the canal and its people; plus memories, stories and recollections about the canal.
Visitors will be able explore the history of the textile industry at Armley Mills Museum, watch a world record clog dancing attempt, take free boat trips, and join in graffiti workshops.
On the water there will be musical barge gigs, canoe demonstrations, dragon boat racing, stand-up paddle boarding, heritage boats, canoe polo, a junk boat race and Zorbing.
Teams from local businesses will be battling it out in fancy dress at Leeds Dock, for the popular Dragon Boat Race. This year’s race will raise money for the Heart Research UK charity. The Dock will also host the National Street Food Awards Northern heat, kids activities, live music and a canoe polo tournament.
The Tetley will be joining the festival with No Quiet Place, an exploration of sound and visual art. This micro festival of creativity will work with musicians, visual artists and guest-curators.
Dance acts at this year’s festival will include splash mobs, dance flash mobs and workshops with Kizomba Dance. Promenade performance tours, Seven Bridges and After the Flood, will share heritage and water related stories about Leeds waterways.
Thwaite Mills will present a weekend of family fun and heritage themed activities. Expect go-cart rides, crazy golf, archery, boat rides, four children’s activity areas, food, stalls and music.
There will be a taste of French culture hosted by Brasserie Blanc at Victoria Wharf. Experience outside dining, Parisian-style, overlooking the water. There will be unique arts and craft stalls, and classic cars. Visitors will be able to play a game or two of Petanque (Boules), and enjoy a BBQ with a quirky bicycle bar. Saturday promises French bistro accordion music, and Sunday, hosted by The Speak Easy, will showcase local acoustic acts.
Other festival highlights will include a knitted barge installation, a pop-up portraits studio, graffiti master-classes, and junk boat building. The Veggie Runners will host an Art Run, a fun run discovering hidden gems along the way. The Tea and Tolerance Trolley will be offering some tea and conversation.
The Granary Wharf boasts plenty of river side bars including The Hop’s Beer Festival, promising beer, cider and live music all weekend. Candlebar will have oven fired pizzas and a steel band, and The Pour House will be hosting a musical barge with live music all weekend. The Dock 29 bar will be throwing a Caribbean party with West Indian food, DJ’s and acoustic acts, plus a terrace cocktail bar.