We're back for our 10th anniversary!
It's been 10 years since Leeds Waterfront Festival kicked off in 2007, and we've changed considerably since that 1-day festival all those years ago. Throughout the decade, the festival has grown and developed and with it has formed a community of residents, visitors and workers that love and appreciate the waterways!
The Festival is an opportunity every year for more and more creative individuals to share their talents with a huge audience. Food vendors, musicians, volunteers, dancers, choirs, actors, artists...every type of entrepreneur you can think of showcase their skills over the weekend and it's this sense of community and collaboration that makes the festival so special.
In 2007, the Waterfront Festival was a small event held over one day at Thwaite Mills, in 2009 the festival was spread across Brewery Wharf, Clarence Dock and Thwaite Mills, in 2014 we were the runners up for a Living Waterways Award, and last year in 2016, we welcomed our ninth site to the map, The Tetley. We've loved the slow growth of the festival and after 10 years, we're bigger and better than ever before! Now LWF includes something for everyone, with the more traditional venues offering insights into the heritage and history of the waterways and the more modern venues bringing music, dancing and amazing food and drink to the festival.
The growth of the Festival wouldn't have been possible without the support of our sponsors every year. Last year, we had help from the likes of Canal & River Trust, Leeds Inspired, Sky, Canal Connections, Leeds City Council and many more and it's because of this investment that the festival is possible.
A special shout out to our longest standing collaborators, The Canal and River Trust, who have supported us since the beginning, and have sponsored the festival every year since 2007! Without their continuous support, the festival wouldn't be what it is today!
Tom Wright, Development and Engagement Manager at the Canal & River Trust added:
“We’ve been supporting the Leeds Waterfront Festival since it began 10 years ago and each year it gets even bigger and better stretching from Thwaites Mil to Armley Mills and everything in-between! The festival is a great way to experience the wonderful Leeds waterfront – it’s a fantastic free resource in the centre of the city and is the link between the different vibrant and diverse communities across Leeds. The pop-up performances, artists, live music and family-friendly activities really help to bring the towpath and riverside alive. This year there'll be more activities than ever taking place on the water – from boat trips and canoe taster sessions to dragon boat racing, stand-up paddle boarding, canoe polo and a Junk Boat race! Look out for the team of volunteers who’ll be on hand to point you in the right direction and explain more about the festival and what our charity does to support the region’s waterways.”
This year to celebrate the 10th anniversary, we have some exciting additions to the festival in the pipeline! The Flood Alleviation Scheme are using the space between Brewery Wharf and Leeds Dock on Armouries Way, to create a new site filled with Virtual Reality stations, performances and a mock weir, where you can learn all about the work they are doing, and give some of your money to the charity!
As well as this, the lovely café The Stables at Oddy Locks will be teaching visitors about Leeds' heritage. as they bring demonstrations from local traditional workboat owner Sue, and her horse Bilbo, both in traditional costume to the canal side. This, along with cakes, tea, coffee and live music make for a wonderful 11th festival site!
We also have a special 10th anniversary event to unveil that we need your help with - it's going to be a big one, some might even say...record breaking! Keep your eyes peeled on our social media for more information!