Garforth Arts Festival takes music, dance, visual arts and a lot of other cultural expressions to Leeds. The annual event was founded in 2005 and each summer it brings a new diversity of national and international artists to the British town as well as a series of projects involving social awareness initiatives.


During a two-week period in June and July, Leeds’ town Garforth becomes vibrant and filled with the most intriguing and captivating spectacles. The perfect excuse is called Garforth Arts Festival. Comedy, circus, theatre, literature, visual arts, dance and music are all gathered in Garforth’s annual programmes.

It all began in 2005, which the launching of a eight days’ event. This was the first edition and it saw collaborations between the SLP College and the Breeze International Youth Festival make the Leeds’ happening a raging reality. The major headliner at the time was singer-songwriter Shaun T Hunter. We inform or perhaps remind you that Hunter’s apparition was, later in 2011, considered something like “the sign of a born entertainer”. “This is a guy for whom music is a drug, and his knowledge of it is encyclopaedic. The skilful delivery of his immaculate impressions dovetails in my mind with the assured, self-possessed performance I’d seen him give earlier to a roomful of South Londoners captivated by and completely in the palm of the hand of a gruff looking northerner from Cleckheaton,” guaranteed The Sabotage Times’ publication. That edition has had the remarkable moment of a musical procession executed by the Peace Artistes, from Garforth Main Street to the town’s college. Zimbabwean dancers Siyaya have also joined a series of local primary schools as part of the festival’s fun. That was indeed the start of something new and culturally enlightening.

Promoted by the School Partnership Trust, a non-profit organisation, and put together by director Dave Evans, the Garforth Arts Festival took a bet in the community’s interest for several art formss. The belief that culture has a vital role in society has been guiding the event and, year after year, it has proven to be true. Garforth is an evolving idea with so much to offer and it never stops surprising. The list of artists that were part of this is bigger and bigger, and its variety is even greater, now that ten years went by.

2014 will be equally decisive when it comes to one more level of Gartforth’s name consolidation. There will be a photographic exhibition focused on the 10 years of this artistic celebration. The music will be delivered by musicians like: The Bad Shepherds featuring Adrian Edmondson, Kippax Brass Band, Eva Quartet andThe Seven Jazz Voices Choir.