Coronavirus in Leeds: Leeds Indie Food postpones annual festival but creates directory to help businesses

Leeds Indie Food Fest has been postponed amid the coronavirus threat.

Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 12:38 pm

As Leeds started to go into lockdown this week, organisers of the event had started to finalise details of the annual festival, usually held in May, which aims to promote the city's independent food and drink traders with a two week programme of special events, offers, menus, pairings and collaborations with other businesses.

However, now they are creating a directory of which traders are still open, which ones are operating a takeaway, delivery, or gift voucher service as they try to keep afloat amid cancelled bookings, no shows and less customers being out and about.

It is hoped the information will help so customers can still enjoy food and drink at home and drum up some much needed trade for businesses who, are left in limbo as there has not been any formal government advice to cease trading.

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Hundreds of foodies gathered at the school dinner event in Chapel Allerton for last year's Leeds Indie Fest.

Simon Fogal, of Chapter 81, is the director of Leeds Indie Food. He said the brand is not about the festival, it is about the businesses so for now the focus was on supporting them with the hope that when the threat of COVID-19 is over - the city can come together for a celebration with the food and drink businesses that would have been taking part.

He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "The festival does not matter in a crisis like this. It is about making sure that the independents are equipped and if they need help we give them that support.

"That is why LIF website is now a directory but I thought we have the function, let's do it and it is still a work in progress and is a useful resource I hope. It will say whether places are open, doing gift vouchers or take away only. Places like Bundobust are working on home delivery options and some people have even said they will do the driving to people in isolation.

"It is a big change for a lot of businesses. Some shut straight away and some are reconfiguring on what to do. Everyone is supporting each other and Leeds has a big community spirit on the independent scene really."

A pizza and prosecco festival at Water Lane Boathouse was one of the most popular events last year.

Directory

This year LIF was set to have 30 events but the directory currently has 78 listings with details on some Leeds favourites such as Whitelocks, Ox Club and Hyde Park Book Club and the different approaches they are taking.

For example, Sarto is doing take-away only until further notice where you can order instore or via a message on instagram, Sheaf Street is closed until further notice but if you buy a voucher you can get the equivalent back on a bar or food tab when it re-opens and Temple Coffee and Donuts is open as normal but for take out only.

For the full list see www.leedsindiefood.co.uk