Music preview: Ritual Festival at Canal Mills, Leeds

This April Leeds will acquire yet another new music festival to add to its already packed calendar.

Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 8:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 8:46 pm

The first Ritual Festival will celebrate and showcase the range of styles and approaches to modern heavy metal, arguably the most diverse and creative style of popular music of the past 20 years.

Ritual Festival will take place on Saturday April 9 at Canal Mills, a new and evolving arts and music venue in Armley located just outside the inner ring road, which is itself another example of the growing number of alternative performance and cultural spaces in Leeds.

The festival packs a huge amount into a single day across its two stages, showcasing bands broadly from the doom and death metal genres, ranging from more traditional styles, to more modern, often experimental, approaches to making a big, heavy noise with electric guitars.

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Organiser Daniel Vaughan is originally from Chesterfield but is currently in his final year at University studying Live Events Production. What’s the idea behind the Festival? “Ritual in a nutshell is load of bands I really want to see and I hope everyone else does too. I hope it can continue, grow and be enjoyed by everyone. I have some awesome ideas to make it an overall experience rather than just an all day festival, I just hope I can get to that stage.”

How healthy is the underground metal scene in the UK? “I believe the North in general has a strong scene, Leeds and Manchester especially. Metal has always been a hard genre to cater for, but I don’t see people relying on trends anymore. They pursue the music they enjoy, so I think the live events industry as a whole is increasing. And I think metal as a community should work together to put on the best shows possible, for the fans and the bands.”

And his highlight of the festival? “There isn’t a single band on the line-up I’m not proud to have as part of Ritual. I mean, who gets to book the likes of Grave, Conan, Blacktongue and Full of Hell on their debut festival?”

Headliners Grave, the legendary Swedish death metal band celebrating their 30th birthday, are certainly a highlight, but shout outs go to Leeds’s own BongCauldron and Cryptic Shift.

And as if that’s not enough, there’s a pre-festival show on Friday April 8 at Eiger Music Studios, Leeds featuring Winterfylleth, Saor, Mountains Crave, and Conjurer.

Full line-up:


40 Watt Sun


Full of Hell


The Body

Martyr Defiled



Hang The B******d

Slice the Cake

Venom Prison





Cryptic Shift


Ritual Festival: Saturday April 9, Canal Mills, Leeds from 12:00noon until 11:00pm. Tickets £25 advance.

For the pre Ritual Festival gig at Eiger Studios, doors are at 18:30 with advance tickets £12. A ticket bundle for both events is available at £35.

More information:

Ritual Festival

Canal Mills