the city talking: leeds, a-z 2016 • e—jBack
The City Talking
Every year in Leeds we print The City Talking A-Z issue, and every year it’s about more than just a list of what’s going to be good in 2016. It’s about exploring, on a personal level, what people in Leeds are thinking and feeling and getting excited about in their city; not a date-by-date list of events, but a person-by-person exploration of excitement.
It’s something that grows every year, as we find more people to ask, and more people who want to answer. With each edition, it becomes more expansive, more reflective and more immersive, uncovering more of the city than we’d seen or known before.
We really love Leeds at the moment, there’s always something new to discover, so this year is all about fully enjoying and working through our list of things to do. It seems more creativity is being injected into Leeds, which is a great thing. We’ve been working with Leeds Central Library on branding their new exhibition space, Room700, which opens early this year, so interested to see what will unfold there. We’re also looking forward to the opening of the new Art Hostel created by East St Arts, intrigued to see how they will transform the 18th Century building on Kirkgate and what impact it will have on the city. Something a little further out, a little bit closer to where one of us lives, is a monthly event called Trouble at the Mill in Farsley, a pop-up space with live theatre, music, local food and special home brew which has been running for a while now. It’s been on the list far too long and definitely needs ticking off this year, got to support the suburbs! One thing to keep an eye out for this year is up and coming fashion designer Luis Cassama. Luis currently runs an alterations business with his wife in Leeds Kirkgate Market, but this year he is about to launch his first collection of tailored menswear that has a very distinctive style. We’ve been working closely with him for a while now and we know if anyone deserves to succeed this year, it’s this guy.
Leeds Ladies FC
There are lots of things I am looking forward to in 2016, not least my wedding in August. It’s going to be a very exciting year I hope! After some changes off the pitch, I am hoping Leeds Ladies FC can settle into a nice run of results towards the end of the season and really finish on a positive note, as high up the league table as possible. The summer will give us chance to continue building as a club and make the city proud. At the cluster of schools in East Leeds where I teach, I have continued to work hard with our top young athletes and have four City Finals across different age groups to look forward to, as well as the West Yorkshire School Games in March. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing children succeed, and building in them the confidence and enthusiasm for sport that really gives them a good foundation to lead a healthy, active lifestyle in the future.
The Test People/Centre4 Testing
I’m looking forward to Leeds taking its rightful place as the Technology Centre of the North. We have always had the raw ingredients; excellent talent, a great business infrastructure and an abundance of great ideas. What’s new is we have started thinking like one region and trying to compete together. Drawing in technology business from all across the UK and internationally, working together collaboratively and bringing our collective talent to the fore will create many new jobs, bring investment to the region and really showcase Leeds as the fantastic city it always has been. Secondly, the continued transformation of the city centre is nothing short of amazing. The Test People based our operations in Leeds to attract the very best graduates and even then we underestimated the success of Trinity, the expansion of Leeds Station and John Lewis entering the city. This enables us to work with local universities to keep talent in Yorkshire because, wow, what an amazing place to live and work! Finally, it’s great news coming out of the fantastic Leeds University Business School that the Goldman Sachs 10000 Small Businesses Programme is continuing, going national and now online. This means wider access for the region’s best up and coming start-ups, established small businesses and people with amazing ideas, to learn from the incredible content I was lucky enough to benefit from, taking me from budding entrepreneur in 2011 to Yorkshire Director of the Year in 2015 and merging our company to be the UK market leader. Leeds, an exciting place to be? Without a doubt, it’s the very best place to be!
President, Leeds Chamber of Commerce
Real progress with the development ideas for the Southbank and especially the land around The Tetley, as that has the ability to act as a centrepiece for the future of the cultural life of the city and a major attractor in this new part of the city as it grows. The bid to be European Capital of Culture needs to gather momentum with businesses in the city, as does the proposal to have a Cultural Strategy for the city — at long last! There are so many assets that not enough people know about. I’m also a great advocate of how the railway station could present a great sense of arrival fitting Leeds and I look forward to seeing that improve this year.
Food, glorious food? (Plus good beer and strong cocktails) 2016 marks forty years in business for my restaurant Salvo’s. Will 2016 be as exciting as 1976 when punk exploded into our consciousness and the seeds of Leeds’ culinary diversity were planted with a few affordable Italian trats like The Flying Pizza and Salvo’s opening and U.S. influenced burger joints like Preachers and The Nosebag attracting, gasp, a younger demographic into a staid middle aged eating out scene consisting of Berni Inns, chop suey restaurants and the odd curry house for adventure. Fast forward to 2016 we can expect at least another 1000 dining seats to park our well fed backsides on with the opening of another mega ‘food mall with shopping’ on The Headrow, hip London outfits sniffing around for sites and young Leeds entrepreneurs opening everything from coffee shops and bars to street food stalls and shop/gallery/food & drink hybrids. You want cutting edge? Get in the queue as Mike O’Hares gaff above a clothes shop in town has no weekend tables available till December, loud rock n roll with your hippie burger watch your step fella, poetry and jazz with your organic lemonade? Welcome to the book club brother. The amazing diversity of our food and drink scene in Leeds is making the city a vibrant place to live or visit and 2016 is the year!
Looking forward to drinking in the Brunswick some more, good dudes; to eating more breakfasts at The Greedy Pig, good cornbread; to Chest Pain being the best Leeds band of 2016, GOOD MUSIC. I’m looking forward to Blueberry Hill Studios getting back up and running after the floods, my band rehearse there and they are the absolute best guys. I’m sure there’ll be some great hip new places to eat and drink but I’m old now and I’m stuck in my ways.
High & Lonesome Festival
2015 felt like a banner year for Leeds. I’m excited to see how the city moves and expands on the great things that were accomplished last year, while, hopefully, the support for the people and businesses continues to grow. Musically I’m excited about acts like Modern Pleasure, Simeon Walker and the long awaited Sam Airey album, as well as bringing High & Lonesome Festival back in November even bigger than last year. I think Live at Leeds and Leeds Digital Festival teaming up will be a great force for good in the city and I’m excited to see what happens there. And to eating for 18 days straight at Leeds Indie Food in May.
Pulled Apart By Horses
I’m incredibly excited about Live at Leeds this year as it’s the tenth anniversary of the town-shaking event and I hear they still have some pretty epic treats in store. Always a rowdy weekend of fun ‘n’ frolics! Thankfully we aren’t playing this year so we’ll get a chance to run around for 48 hours in a boozy haze and celebrate its big birthday!
Originally published in The City Talking: Leeds, issue 33