City Buzz: New riverside music festival for Leeds city centre marks Granary Wharf success

Granary Wharf. Picture: Simon Hulme.

Granary Wharf. Picture: Simon Hulme.

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THIS WEEK Leeds train station’s shiny new Southern Entrance was finally unveiled- and it’s already struck a chord with one local bar group.

The impressive new £20m entrance is set to be used by 20,000 people every day – meaning a huge boost for businesses in the Granary Wharf area.

And the local firm that runs three of the bars set to benefit is so thrilled, they’ve decided to host a mini music festival to celebrate.

Wharfest at Granary Wharf is free to attend and will start from 3pm on Saturday, January 30.

The event is being organised by Ossett Brewery, which owns three bars at Granary Wharf.

Candle Bar will host acoustic acts whilst The Hop will have several live bands performing on stage.

Archie’s will also have a range of DJs playing sets throughout the day.

A special loyalty card, in the form of a beer mat, will be handed out throughout the day, where punters can collect stamps with their drinks purchases and claim a free Wharfest t-shirt.

It is hoped the festival will become an annual event, with more local businesses getting on board in future.

Speaking to City Buzz, Ossett Brewery’s managing director Jamie Lawson said: “Wharfest aims to bring people who don’t know or haven’t discovered Granary Wharf yet and help put it on the map, as well as celebrate the fact we have the new Southern Entrance, which is just fantastic.

“We have three sites at Granary Wharf now and it’s fair to say one of those opened because we knew the Southern Entrance was coming.

“It will be great for the whole area.”

Cast your mind back just a year ago and there were a few vacant sites left at Granary Wharf.

Wasabi Teppan-Yaki had closed its doors and the Candle House building was still waiting for a tenant at its vacant ground floor unit.

But that all changed after Ossett Brewery saw the potential and snapped up both sites – launching Candle Bar in June 2015 and Archie’s in September.

The company was one of the first anchor tenants for Granary Wharf when it launched The Hop six years ago and has continued to see the area go from strength to strength.

It has gone on to invest a cool £1m in its portfolio there.

Mr Lawson, 43, explained: “It’s such a developing part of the city.

“You’ve got the Round Foundry business district nearby, Bridgewater Place and Asda’s headquarters so there are a lot of workers coming through.”

He added: “The mix of the modernity of buildings like the Double Tree next to the Dark Arches, which are hundreds of years old, and the picturesque setting near the river makes it a really unique place.

“We think Granary Wharf will now become a destination for people to come on an evening.”

The free water taxi service, which provides free transport to and from Leeds Dock, is another reason why more people are flocking to Granary Wharf.

And with plans in the pipeline for more outdoor events in the summer, it seems that this side of the city centre could finally start to call its own tune.