Mardi Gras Festival brings the carnival celebrations to Roundhay Park with a thrilling display of live music, street food and funfair rides

This weekend marks the first ever Mardi Gras Festival to be held in Leeds, bringing the Australian-style celebrations to the city for one day only.

By Abi Whistance
Saturday, 14th August 2021, 4:45 am
Mardi Gras Festival kicks off at 11am on Saturday. Photo: Nathan Parker
Mardi Gras Festival kicks off at 11am on Saturday. Photo: Nathan Parker

With the Summer holidays now in full swing, there is no better way to celebrate festival season than with the vibrancy of a Mardi Gras fiesta.

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Mardi Gras Festival Leeds: Tickets, opening times, live music, after parties and...

Organised by Leeds nightlife entrepreneurs Terry George and Shaun Wilson, Mardi Gras is the latest addition to a growing list of festivals in and around Yorkshire.

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Taking to the main stage is legendary TV personality and DJ Gok Wan. Photo: PA

The duo, who met at Ritzy nightclub in Leeds, have been organising events together for over thirty years, ranging from huge parties to intimate club nights.

Today's festival is the first large-scale music event in Leeds since restrictions were put in place in March 2020, and is being held over at Roundhay Park.

On Mardi Gras, organiser Terry George said:

"It's been a tough few years for everyone so to finally be able to see people out celebrating and enjoying themselves makes it all worthwhile.

Representing Leeds this weekend is local DJ Angel Lee. Photo: Lara Osertag

"The constant changing of rules and regulations by the Government has kept us on our toes, but Leeds City Council and their events team have given us amazing support.

"Too many events have been cancelled or postponed until next year; there were times over the last few weeks where we questioned whether Mardi Gras would actually go ahead- but we got there in the end!"

This weekend's festival has two stages: the first is dedicated to house music with headliners Jax Jones, Sigala, Disciples and Gok Wan being joined by local selectors Dale Castell, Angel Lee and Marc Leaf.

Stage two is centred around pop music and cabaret with drag queens from Rupaul's Drag Race UK performing all day.

Headlining this weekend's festival is DJ collective Disciples. Photo: PA

There is also a VIP pavilion presented by Leeds' legendary nightclub Federation, who have teamed up with LDC Radio to broadcast the whole event live on 97.8FM.

But today's festival is not just about the music- Mardi Gras is also hosting over 25 food stalls serving everything from delicious homemade pizza and pasta to exotic Greek and Thai street food.

Alongside the stalls you will find an expansive fairground full of rides, adult inflatables and stalls to keep you entertained.

Speaking of his excitement for this weekend, Terry George went on to say:

"We've had a lot of sleepless nights with lots of blood, sweat and tears.

"After all of this, the only reason we can't sleep now is that we are all so excited to see everyone and have an absolutely incredible day! "

The Mardi Gras Festival starts at 11am and finishes at 11pm, with tickets available on the door. Find out more about the festival on their website here.

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