The eyes of the world were once again on Leeds as the city made history and hosted one of Europe’s biggest music award ceremonies.
The First Direct Arena was the chosen venue for the MOBO Awards 2015, attracting some of the biggest names in urban music and around 10,000 spectators.
City dignitaries said the success of the event proved once again that Leeds is capable of hosting world class events and made a great case for its bid to be crowned European Capital of Culture 2023.
Featuring performances from such artists CeeLo Green, Rita Ora, FKA Twigs and Stormzy, experts said the event was worth £1.35m to the local economy.
Crowds waited for their favourite artists at barriers surrounding the red carpet leading to the arena.
Relative newcomers Company Boyz were joined by more established figures in the grime and hip-hop world like Lethal Bizzle, who was a MOBO winner a decade ago.
One of the evening’s more unexpected guests to take a walk down the red carpet was Leeds’ own Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain.
Singer-songwriter Bianca Gerald, from Beeston, said hosting the event meant the city was being taken seriously.
She said: “I think it means we are being put on the map.
“There’s so much great talent and now I feel like the focus is on us final so hopefully, going forward, bigger and better things – MTV maybe?”
Vocalist Ella Eyre, who also performed at the ceremony, was snapped earlier in the day shopping in the city’s Victoria Arcade.
During her red carpet entrance she admitted: “I like shopping in Leeds, plenty of options and it was good fun.”
The big winners of the night were Krept & Konan, and Stormzy, who took the opportunity to thank his mum.
The arena and the Internet went wild for the energetic live performance by leftfield R&B artist FKA Twigs, who made waves last year.
The road to yesterday’s celebration began with an announcement that Leeds had bagged the awards during the West Indian Carnival in Chapeltown.
MOBO founder Kanya King said: “There couldn’t have been a better year for Leeds to play host to the MOBOs – the year they bid for their city to become the European Capital of Culture.” Leeds is only fourth city to host the event, following on from London, Glasgow and Liverpool.
But this was not the first night the city has figured prominently in the awards.
In 2007 Hyde Park’s very own Corinne Bailey Rae took home two awards, best newcomer and best UK female, and returned to present awards in 2008 and 2010.
Leeds Business Improvement District chief executive Andrew Cooper, who helped bring the MOBOs to Leeds, said the evening would bring commerce and a good public image to the city.
He said: “Bringing the MOBOs to Leeds demonstrates the collaborative working and ambition of the city in attracting a new events.
“It is also a great accolade for the city of Leeds to be chosen to host this award ceremony.”