Watch this space! Upbeat message as Leeds arts festival’s flagship event ‘takes a breather’

The Brand New Heavies.
The Brand New Heavies.
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It may not be holding its traditional Playground Party concert this year but Garforth Arts Festival is still very much alive and kicking.

That was the message today during the run-up to the one-day event that will provide the bulk of 2016’s festival activity.

A whole host of bands and other acts will be performing on Garforth’s Main Street from 9.30am to 3pm this Saturday.

In previous years, however, the festival has lasted close to a fortnight, ending with a final evening Playground Party in the grounds of Garforth Academy.

Big names who have appeared at the Garforth Academy concerts include Richard Hawley, Billy Bragg and Chumbawamba.

Festival director Dave Evans today told the Yorkshire Evening Post that a decision had been taken to give the Playground Party a “breather” this summer.

He said organising it was a “massive undertaking” but hoped it might be able to make a return in future years.

Last summer’s festival was the 11th in the event’s history and ran from June 29 to July 11.

Its Playground Party was headlined by acid jazz band The Brand New Heavies and attracted 1,400 revellers.

Confirmation that the Playground Party will not be happening in 2016 has been greeted with dismay by some, with Joanne Padgett-Hallas writing on Facebook: “We’ve attended every year and it’s been a brilliant day out with people from all over Yorkshire attending.”

Steve Cudmore posted: “We adore the playground party and what it brings to Garforth – real shame that it’s not happening this year, but please please please ensure its return in 2017!!”

Motorists are being advised that Garforth’s Main Street will remain open to traffic during this Saturday’s entertainment.

The line-up includes The Meteors, Garforth Community Choir and the Rhinestones, Leeds Rhinos’ junior dance academy.