The twelfth Leeds Gathering festival

twelfth Leeds Gathering festival


The twelfth Leeds Gathering festival will take place in October and November, to celebrate Irish music and arts through performances and exhibitions from the finest traditional and contemporary artists, writes Fiona O’Brien.

There will be education, music, workshops, elders’ clubs, concerts, dancing, sessions, films, gallery exhibitions in what will be packed programme of events. Throughout the festival the Leeds Gathering Festival Educational Tour will build on their year round work by tutors who visit a number of primary schools in the city, where they deliver workshops on Irish music, dance and arts as well as history on the country of Ireland and the Irish in Britain.

If schools are interested in hosting a workshop they should contact

twelfth Leeds Gathering festival
We Banjo 3

The actual programme of events starts with We Banjo 3 at Victoria Hall on Wednesday 12th October, which sees the Celtgrass sensation from Ireland who have taken the US and European Festival scene by storm with their high-energy songs and tunes. They blend together Irish and bluegrass styles in a high-octane style, and this is their only English show of 2016 with some great support acts. Tickets cost £15 (visit for more information).

That Friday, (14th October), Irish Arts Foundation presents Doolin’, who are considered one of the most innovative groups in the Irish music scene today having formed in 2005 in Toulouse, France. The band goes beyond the borders of traditional music with its modern approach, blending the diversity of its folk, pop-rock, jazz and funk influences. Not only are they acclaimed in Ireland amongst connoisseurs of traditional music but the have a constantly growing fan base internationally too.

twelfth Leeds Gathering festival

They’ve just come back from Nashville where they recorded their new album at Compass Records with John Doyle as an artistic producer. The six-piece band bring energy, sensitivity and joyfulness to audiences and the concert takes place at the New Headingly Club on St Michael’s Road. You can ‘pay what you feel’ and more information can be found at

Tuesday the 18th of October sees the Irish Elders Club take place at Leeds Irish Centre, with bingo and refreshments, as well as music from Gerry Brownridge and Kevin Mullowney from 12:15pm. Call 01132480887 for details on how to join of visit

Later that evening (7pm) there is a traditional Irish music workshop from outstanding Manchester whistle player Grace Kelly. She was awarded first place in the All Ireland Tin Whistle competition in 1993, as well as winning the Miltown Malbay Songwriting Competition with her song Down at the Willie Clancy Week. The class is suitable for junior musicians at an intermediate to more advanced level at the Leeds Irish Centre and is in association with Leeds CCE.

On Monday 24 October there is the Leeds University Union Folk Society Session to build on the events that take place all year. Visit for more information on the event at the Pack Horse on Woodhouse Lane.

There is an Irish Elders coffee morning on Wednesday 26th October at St Anthony’s Parish Hall – call 0113 262 5614 for more information.

On Friday October 28th, from 10am, there is a talk on ‘Why the Irish Settled in Leeds’ led by Anna Walsh who is completing a PHD Study of the Irish community in Leeds. It is on at the Kirkstall Abbey Vistors Centre.

There is a host of workshops on Saturday 29th October, from Des Hurley on the fiddle, Niall Kenny on the wooden flute and Cormac Byrne on the Bodhran. Later is a tutors’ concert at the Bridge Inn where the above tutors will perform as well as button accordion player Debie Garvey.

On Sunday 30th October there will be Irish Dancing at Chapel Allerton Farmers Market, which is actually a monthly display by the Noonan School of Irish Dancing (1pm).

Tuesday 1st November sees a traditional Irish Music Session from local musicians Harry Scurfield, Karen Lacy-Roberts, PJ Boyle and friends at the Old Cock, Crossgate from 9:15pm.

On Thursday there will be a session of music predominantly from Brittany at the Chemic Tavern on Johnstone St from 8:30pm to celebrate the close ties between the music of the area and Ireland over the years, and is demonstrated by events such as the annual Inter-Celtique in Lorient. Visit for more information.

On Friday 4th November there is an Over 55s Day Club at Montague Burton Resource Centre, with a showcase of Irish music and a lunch.Visit or call 0113 262 5614.

On the afternoon of Saturday 5th November there is a conversation with Ivan Miletitch, which is an essential event for anyone interested in guitar and bouzouki accompaniment in Irish traditional music. Originally from Paris where he immersed himself in the Irish and Breton music sessions, Ivan has been widely acknowledged amongst his musical contemporaries as being an extremely influential and inspirational figure. Suitable for adults at an intermediate to more advanced level.

twelfth Leeds Gathering festival
Colm Mac Con Iomaire

On Sunday 6th November there is a trad session featuring junior musicians from the Leeds branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann at the Manor House from 2:30pm, before that night Colm Mac Con Iomaire from The Frames plays at The Games Room from 8pm. Over a 26-year career he has two critically acclaimed albums under his belt and also works as a composer for film and theatre which has allowed him to progress and mature as an orchestrator of his own compositions. Visit for £10 tickets or call 0113 245 5570 for more information.

On Friday 11th November the Jacquelyn Hynes Trio will play Seven Artspace, bringing an enchanting and intimate evening of traditional and contemporary Irish folk music to Leeds. Tickets are £10 on the door or £8 in advances from

twelfth Leeds Gathering festival
The Lobster

The festival comes to an end the next week with The Lobster screening at the Seven Artspace on Harrogate Road, which stars Colin Farrel as a man dumped by his wife. To make matters worse his character David lives in a world where people have 45 days to find true love or else they are turned into the animal of their choice and released into the woods. Tickets are £5/ £6 concession and can be obtained by emailing or calling 0113 262 6777.

The final event comes on Sunday 20th November, with Dr Lovegyun & The Groove Hoovers; a collective of musicians that came together through the thriving music scene in London. The lineup includes Brian Kelly, Mark Conyard, Tad Sargent, Chris O’Malley and Ben Gunnery and tickets are £10 on the door for the closing event at Otley Courthouse.

• For more information on any of the events visit


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