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Leeds Waterfront Festival set to make a splash in the north

Join us for a fun-packed day of activities and celebrations.

Leeds Waterfront Festival - learning to paddle board

Leeds Waterfront Festival returns next weekend, Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 June. This annual event has grown year on year. Attracting nearly 25,000 visitors last year, it is now the biggest waterfront festival in the north.

With less than two weeks to go, the festival looks set to make an even bigger splash than ever in its 12th year with a bumper-packed programme of new activities. Peak times for activities will be 10am-5pm each day, with The Tetley Art Gallery joining the celebrations to create a fourth city-centre waterside hub, alongside Brewery Wharf, Granary Wharf and Leeds Dock.

Tom Wright, community engagement manager at Canal & River Trust said: “If you've never experienced Leeds Waterfront Festival, then now's your chance with our biggest line-up yet! It's great to see so many organisations, individuals and volunteers working in partnership to create what promises to be a spectacular weekend that celebrates all that is great about the city's waterfront and emerging South Bank.”

He added: “We hope Leeds Waterfront Festival will have a widespread appeal and by keeping our activities free it's an affordable day out. We know being by water can help improve our physical and mental health and ultimately improve our overall happiness. We want as many people as possible to experience the benefits water brings.”

Taneesha Ahmed, participation producer at The Tetley said: “We are excited to be supporting Leeds Waterfront Festival. We will be offering fun, family-friendly arts and craft activities for all ages to enjoy. At Granary Wharf we will be inviting children and adults to think about our cities and canals as a source of inspiration to create small sculptures using recycled materials that they can take away.”

Cllr Jonathan Pryor, executive member for Learning, Skills and Employment at Leeds City Council said: “The waterfront is at the heart of our city centre and with so much activity taking place, this year's event is set to be a great day out.” He added: “With a particular focus on family fun, we hope the festival will encourage people to visit and explore our fantastic waterfront.”

Alex Webb, associate events director at Leeds Dock, added: “We're looking forward to getting underway with this year's festival with the return of the amazing Tsingtao Dragon Boat Races and the northern heats of the British Street Food Awards, the biggest street food competition in the world. Our pop-up and play area for little ones debuts this year, along with Streets Break Dance School and GO TRI Leeds Aquathalon.”

Back by popular demand, the Canal & River Trust's Desmond Family Canoe Trail team will be partnering with White Rose Canoe Club and Carnegie Outdoors to give hundreds of people the chance to get out and enjoy the water on canoes, kayaks and paddleboards. Young people aged 12+ and adults are invited to try a guided 45-minute taster session and experience part of the UK's First Coast-to-Coast Trail. The 162 mile-long Desmond Family Canoe Trail officially launches this August. The Canal & River Trusts Let's Fish team will also return to offer free introductory angling taster sessions for all ages.

Leeds Dock Water Taxi will be running boats Twee & Drie throughout the weekend (10am-6pm) between Leeds Dock and Granary Wharf, offering a chance to enjoy the waterways by boat. Trips cost £1 per person each way (children under five go free).

The Royal Armouries at Leeds Dock offers indoor and outdoor activities throughout the weekend. The collections on display will be brought to life in action-packed combats and performances featuring Vikings and pirates, plus gun-firings out on the dockside! Don't forget to try out their new dining experience, The Master's.

Join the party at Brewery Wharf on Saturday, June 29 hosted by Oracle bar and 212 Café & Bar. Enjoy a family-friendly mix of BBQ's, street food and outdoor bars. The annual Sing It to Win It karaoke competition returns at 1.30pm, with prizes for the best vocalists. The sounds of Ibiza kick off from 3pm with The Rebel Sounds and headliners PBR Streetgang are on stage 6:30-8pm.

Follow the latest news on Twitter: @leeds_wf #LeedsWF

PROGRAMME SCHEDULE: (subject to change)

    All activities listed are free, drop-in, 10am-4pm
  • White Rose Canoe Club - canoe, kayak, paddle board taster sessions (Sat & Sun)
  • Desmond Family Canoe Trail – guided paddle taking 45 mins, over 12s only (Sat & Sun)
  • Climbing Wall (Sat & Sun)
  • Let's Fish – Angling (Sat & Sun)
  • BMB Menswear Market (Sat & Sun)
  • Live music on stage (Sat) / local DJs mix chilled out tunes, pull up a deckchair (Sun)
  • Yoga sessions / mediation sessions (Sun)
  • Live art – watch local artists in action as they create new artworks (Sun)
  • Canal & River Trust Explorers – hands-on activities for little ones (Sun)
  • The Tetley Pop-Up By Water – sculpture & 3D making, messy crafts (Sun)

Activities are taking place Sat 10am-8pm and Sun 9am-5pm (unless otherwise stated)

  • Tsingtao Dragon Boat Race in association with Radio Aire (Sat) FULLY BOOKED
  • Truck Pull and Strongest Human Competition – hosted by Primal Gym (Sat)
  • Dog Agility & Cuteness Competition – hosted by Gatsby & Poole (Sat & Sun)
  • British Street Food Awards supported by Hellmann's UK (Sat & Sun)
  • Live music & DJs (Sat & Sun)
  • Pop Up & Play area & Newbies Airstream Caravan – children all ages (Sat & Sun)
  • Streets Break Dance School (Sun, 12-4pm)
  • GO TRI Leeds Aquathlon - 250m swim & 4km run for over 16s (Sun, 10.30am)

The British Street Food Awards supported by Hellmann's UK will once again bring the Northern Heats to Leeds Dock.

Street food royalty, including Little Red Food Truck, Doh'hut, Little Bao Boy and The Mexican Pilgrim to name a few, will be fighting it out all weekend to win your vote and be crowned champion of the Northern Heats


All activities are on Sat only, 12-10pm

  • Karaoke competition (12pm)
  • Live music all day - The Rebel Sounds (3.30pm) and PBR Street Gang (6.30-8pm)
  • DJs, outdoor bars, BBQ and street food
    All activities listed are free and will be drop-in on the day, 10am-5pm
  • Family activities inspired by exhibitions – sculpture & 3D making, messy crafts (Sat & Sun)
  • Face painting (Sat & Sun)
  • Food & drink available all weekend from the Bar & Kitche

For full programme details visit Leeds Waterfront Festival online.

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Last Edited: 20 June 2019

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