Leeds International Festival 2020 dates announced

3rd July 2019

Leeds International Festival 30th April – 9th May 2020



Just over two months since Leeds International Festival wrapped up for 2019, we’re back with some key headline announcements for 2020.

Organisers are going public with dates for the diary for next year’s festival, a new theme and the launch of its Open Call.

Leeds International Festival 2020 will run from April 30th- 9th May 2020, with the introduction of an overarching theme – Generation Future.

The theme aims to act as a catalyst for response and encourage applications to explore, investigate and interrogate what Generation Future means to people in their own individual ways, promoting thought, discussion and artistic interpretation.

Details have also been released for innovators and creatives to get involved, with the launch of the Open Call, running from 2nd July-6th September.

Proposals are encouraged from all; artists, comedians, speakers, musicians, performers, with the festival providing a platform to showcase the creative DNA of the city and local, national and international talent.

Leeds International Festival encourages proposals which embody the diversity of Leeds and the people who live and work here and commends submissions where thought has been given to accessibility and engaging with new audiences.


Gemma Holsgrove, Leeds International Festival Executive:

“For 10 days in May 2019, Leeds city centre buzzed with Leeds International Festival. It was incredible to be able to showcase the works of artists, speakers and organisations from the city, the UK and beyond.

So many events provoked a dialogue, forged new connections between both artists and audiences, and sparked a desire for knowledge. Overall, L19 reminded us that we must be inquisitive, and ask those unasked questions, and for L20 we want to continue to build on that.

As an international festival with a huge reach across different generations, I think it is our responsibility to promote thought and discussion.

With humanity coming to terms with the fact that we are causing unprecedented global change, there’s one certainty and that is that the world of tomorrow will be very different and future generations will inhabit a very different world to that which we do today.

There’s the opportunity to explore what we as a generation do to shape the future, rather than have it shape us. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

L19 ran from 2nd-12th May and delivered an extraordinary ten days of innovation, diversity, education and celebration.

The third annual Leeds International Festival saw a monumental 62 events taking place across the city, pulling in 15,000 visitors, across 19 venues in the city, whilst cementing the The Village at The Tetley and new Discovery Zone on Briggate.

It showcased the talent settled in and around Leeds, and pulled both speakers and audiences from across the nation, and across the world, to come and enjoy the astounding output on offer in the city.

L19 saw John Cooper Clarke perform Punk poetry old and new, tech exploration and innovation, family fun, art compositions, and a roster of spectacular musical performances from a huge list of musicians including Tommy Cash, Crazy P, Iration Steppas, Daniel Avery, Yves Tumor, Charanga del Norte and many, many more.

Events featured internationally renowned TV actors, personalities and sports stars, from boxer Frank Bruno MBE to Paralympian multi-medallist Dame Sarah Storey and Gold Medallist Amy Williams MBE, as well as best-selling author Matt Haig, Buddhist monk and mindfulness expert Gelong Thubten, Channel 4’s Head of Sport, and Cold Feet actor John Thomson, to name but a few.

See the L19 video here, which gives a snapshot into the outstanding line-up of events that electrified Leeds this May –

Leeds International Festival Drop-In Sessions: Find out more about the festival and how to apply:

Wednesday 17th July, 10am – 3pm – The Tetley

Wednesday 7th August, 10am till 3pm – The Tetley

For more details about the Open Call and to apply, please visit

Deadline for applications via the Open Call is Friday 6th September and applicants will be notified of decisions by 30th September 2019.


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