Switch-on for a digital celebration of life in Leeds

Leeds Dock, home earlier this year to Google's Digital Garage initiative.
Leeds Dock, home earlier this year to Google's Digital Garage initiative.
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Leeds is set to underline its status as one of the country’s most switched-on cities by hosting a celebration of its thriving digital community.

The Leeds Digital Festival will run from April 25 to 29 next year and aims to involve as many of the sector’s 3,500-plus businesses as possible.

Firms already signed up to the festival steering group include Berwins Solicitors, Garbutt + Elliott, Numiko, Epiphany, Jaywing and Futuresound Events.

The group is aiming to organise large-scale shows during the week featuring keynote speakers from the digital and business sectors.

There are also expected to be a range of smaller ‘fringe’ events run by festival supporters and carrying themes such as start-ups, culture, art and music.

Stuart Clarke, director of Media Yorkshire, the trade association for digital, creative and marketing agencies, said: “We are a hugely ambitious, creative city and I’m pleased that we’ve harnessed a spirit of collaboration in the digital community to create the new Leeds Digital Festival.”

The festival has been timed to coincide with the annual Live in Leeds music extravaganza staged by Futuresound.

Organisers hope there will be a significant crossover between the two, mirroring the joined-up approach that is a notable feature of high-profile events such as the SXSW conferences held each year in Texas.

Confirmation of plans for the Leeds Digital Festival comes at the end of a busy year for the city’s web-based business scene.

Technology giant Google chose Leeds Dock as the temporary home of its Digital Garage, a multi-million pound scheme designed to help firms improve their net skills.

Leeds Dock’s owners have also said they want to establish part of the site as a super-flexible hub for creative, media and technology firms.