Rock band Hope and Social to headline NEXUS arts festival in Leeds city centre

Leeds band Hope and Social will star at NEXUS festival this month.
Leeds band Hope and Social will star at NEXUS festival this month.
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A diverse arts festival will star Leeds rock band Hope and Social this month, just weeks after the event was saved by a late crowdfunding campaign.

The first ever NEXUS festival, organised by the NLab group of creatives at West Yorkshire Theatre Network (WYTN), is due to showcase the region’s artistic talent at four venues across Leeds city centre on September 12 to 14.

Hope and Social, who proved a main attraction at the Tour de France Grand Depart Yorkshire Festival earlier this year, will line up alongside acts from comedians, dancers and storytellers to poets, musicians and theatre performers at Leeds Corn Exchange, Belgrave Music Hall, The Wardrobe and a pop-up unit in Bond Street for the Arts Council-backed festival next weekend.

The event had faced a funding crisis as, under the terms of its WYTN’s £15,000 Arts Council grant, the group needed to match £2,500 of the funds itself.

Supporters got behind the group and raised over £2,900 through crowdfunding website last month.

Steph Upsall, WYTN’s managing director, said: “It meant the absolute world to us to know there were all those people supporting us.

“The whole point of this is to support and platform local artists to audiences that wouldn’t normally get to see them.

“We’ve left the programming so late so that everything compliments each other and brings diverse things together.”

Early bird tickets have already sold out for the festival, which is the product of months of preparation by WYTN’s NLab group.

Around 50 different acts and 100 local artists will be showcased during the festival including Opera North, Laughing Cows Comedy, The Horn The Hunt, Gracefool Collective, Hazel O’Keefe and Ruby Macintosh. The NLab group itself will also perform at the festival.

In 2009 WYTN was set up by Steph, who wanted to meet like-minded artists, and it has since snowballed into a support network. NEXUS is its first major Arts Council-funded project.

Steph added: “I want this to bring the underground to the overground. We are bursting at the seams with creativity in Leeds and people just don’t know it.”

Wristbands to the NEXUS festival, costing £15 each, are now available online.

For further information on the NEXUS festival and its lineup visit or for more on WYTN see

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