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Watershed moment for Leeds as festival returns to make a splash this summer

We are delighted to announce that Leeds Waterfront Festival is back.

The spectacular Leeds Waterfront Festival is set to make a triumphant return this weekend with its biggest ever series of events and activities. After last year’s event had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, organisers have been working hard to bring together a summer-long celebration this year which will showcase the best of the city’s waterfront and South Bank area.

Organised by Leeds City Council alongside the Canal and River Trust, Leeds Dock, The Tetley, Citu, The Royal Armouries, Brewery Wharf and Granary Wharf, the festival begins with a launch weekend on June 26-27 and is the largest of its kind in the north. Events will take place in line with social distancing and with safety measures and advice in place for those attending.

Highlights at this year’s event will include the chance to take to the water with canoeing taster sessions at Granary Wharf, with sessions for all ages and experience levels, especially suitable for beginners. Families will also be able to travel back in time and go on an interactive theatrical journey to find out what makes the canal so special thanks to a series of special themed walks led by open-air theatre company Rusticus.

Sean McGinley, director Yorkshire and North East for Canal and River Trust said:

“Leeds Waterfront Festival is always a brilliant event but this year it feels even more special with a whole summer of celebrations.

“Leeds is real gem of a city, so it’s great to celebrate the waterways which help make it one of the most vibrant places in the North of England.

“We know there are real health benefits of being by water and we can’t wait to welcome people back for what should be one of the best Waterfront Festivals we’ve seen.”

Adam Roe head of development and engagement at The Tetley added:

“After what has been an incredibly challenging 18 months the Waterfront Festival is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the reopening of the rich cultural offer across our city.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for us all to pick up where we left off in March 2020 and get back out and enjoy fantastic art, amazing food and drink and just be part of a shared cultural experience. Here at The Tetley we’re delighted to be welcoming people back again to see all the work that’s been happening behind closed doors. We look forward to seeing you again soon.”

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for culture, economy and education said:

“It’s fantastic news that the Leeds Waterfront Festival will be returning this year and that more venues than ever will be taking part in what is always a highlight of the summer events calendar and a real celebration of the city’s past, present and future.

“This event will also carry with it added significance this year, after what has been one of the hardest times in living memory for Leeds. I hope the Leeds Waterfront Festival will be a cornerstone of a wonderful and well-deserved summer for Leeds.”

Canal and River Trust: The waterways and wellbeing charity that cares for and brings to life 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England & Wales. We believe waterways have the power to make a difference to people’s lives and that spending time by water can make us all healthier and happier.

By bringing communities together to make a difference to their local waterway, we are creating places and spaces that can be used and enjoyed by everyone

Visitors to Leeds this summer are being given an added incentive to experience everything that the city has to offer with the launch of a new campaign. Be Our Guest is a partnership between Visit Leeds and Leeds Hotels and Venues Association (LHVA), that offers an extra night at one of the city’s leading hotels completely free of charge. To book your place and find out more information, please visit:

More information including a full event programme can be found on the Leeds Waterfront Festival website at Leeds Waterfront Festival or on social media on Facebook @LeedsWaterfrontFestival on Twitter @Leeds_WF or on Instagram @Leeds_WF

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