Live at Leeds: Meet the promoters behind the festival breathing life into the city's independent venues

Live At Leeds is preparing for its biggest festival yet, with the announcement of a huge outdoor event this summer.

Sunday, 28th November 2021, 11:45 am
Joe Hubbard and Chelsea Bakewell, promoters in the Live At Leeds festival team (Photo: Tony Johnson)

The festival, run by Leeds music promotion company Futuresound, was first launched in 2007 to mark the city's 800th birthday.

From YungBlud at Oporto and Stormzy at O2 Academy to Ed Sheeran at The Cockpit, the festival has welcomed some of the UK's biggest artists before they became the megastars they are today.

Championing new talent on the same stages as international stars is the ethos of Live at Leeds.

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Bob Vylan performs at The Key Club as part of Live At Leeds 2021 (Photo: Mark Bickerdike)

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And after a turbulent two years for the festival - its 2020 event was rescheduled numerous times before going ahead last month - Futuresound has announced Live at Leeds: In the Park for 2022.

The new outdoor festival at Temple Newsam Park will be headlined by Bombay Bicycle Club, Nothing But Thieves and Arlo Park, promising a super-sized version of the annual city event.

“It’s a huge step up for Live at Leeds," promoter Jamie Hubbard told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The team are preparing for their biggest festival yet, with the announcement of a huge outdoor event this summer

“It will be a souped-up version of the city festival, but still with the same ethos of championing new music.”

Live at Leeds sees artists perform at venues across the city, giving a much-needed boost for both up-and-coming acts and the independent bars and clubs that host them.

Jamie added: “It’s a busy day for the venues, they get a lot of people through the doors and get to be associated with great artists who go on to do big things.

"That’s the model of Live at Leeds and it’s a cool thing for venues to shout about. And it's a really important step on the ladder for a band’s progression.

"It brings 200 artists into the city, which is mad - it has a big impact on the scene.

"There’s a lot of opportunity for local and regional bands to have a platform to perform, rubbing shoulders with bigger bands and getting to learn how they do things.”

As well as hosting Live at Leeds and SlamDunk festival, Futuresound puts on regular events in the city throughout the year.

But that all stopped suddenly in March 2020.

"It’s been the toughest time ever,” Jamie said.

“There was a lot of worry and downtime. It got to a point when we thought things would open up and we’d start planning things, then it wouldn’t happen - we got our hopes up to have them dashed.

“But in the end, we all feel lucky that we’ve managed to stay in the industry, we’ve got through it and we’re still here.

"We’ve seen an upturn in demand over the last few months, we’ve had two years’ worth of gigs in one month."

Live at Leeds finally returned last month, breathing life back into the city's music venues.

Jamie's stand-out performances were political punk act Bob Vylan, Sports Team's headline show at the O2 Academy and neo-jazz and soul singer Olivia Dean who performed at Brudenell Social Club.

Jamie added: "It felt like a huge sigh of relief that it finally got to happen after two years of cancelled events. It was surreal looking round at rooms full of people thinking - ‘wow, we did it’.

“Everyone was just so ready for it."

Tickets for Live at Leeds: In The Park - on Saturday June 4 - are on sale now at liveatleeds.com

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