Armley prepares for an ‘Out of this World’ festival on the Moor

Phileas Fogg - the roving performers at the Festival. Photo: Mat Dale

By Fran Graham

Armley is preparing to send spirits soaring, as Armley Festival goes around the world, under the sea and beyond… on Saturday 9 September, Armley Moor, 12-6pm.

This year’s festival theme is ‘Out of this World’. The ambitious event offers free entry to an afternoon of live music from hotly-tipped indie bands and the SHEnanigans pop-up choir.

The festival also features street food from around the world in Armley, a musical spaceship, market stalls, vegetable theatre, roving performers, bike-powered smoothies, and a deep-water experience for adults at Denison Hall next door to the Moor.

With a pay-as-you-feel tea tent and plenty of affordable street-food, organisers are promising an uplifting afternoon of galactic adventures that won’t cost the earth! 

Highlights include The Astronauts’ Caravan, a world-turning fairground ride by Frog & Bone arts collective, chosen by Banksy to appear at Dismaland, and fresh from an appearance at Latitude Festival 2023.

Armley Festival returns to Armley Moor on Saturday – but will the Armley Hippo be there too? Photo: Mat Dale

The music line-up consists of Bonneville, Restless Youth, Living Body, Mikoudi, and local legend Mik Artistic’s Ego Trip, believed to be one of Iggy Pop’s favourite artists. 

A toddler play-area has been made possible by The Play Tent. Other highlights for children and families include a musical spaceship where you invent intergalactic instruments. Known as Orchestra of Objects, it’s Dr Seuss meets Heath Robinson with a dollop of garden shed inspiration. 

A magnificent Playbox by Playful Anywhere will offer visitors a chance to create their own solar system to orbit around from home. Plus look out for Madame Zuchini’s vegetable theatre and her workshops where you can transform root veggies into epic characters like Leek Skywalker. 

Flashback to last year’s Armley Festival. Photo: Mat Dale

Assembly House artists will be on site painting a mural for Armley, based on crowd-sourced suggestions about who the local legends are, part of Heritage Open Days 2023. Nominations have included Armley Moor’s resident horse Fudge, and even an entire street of Armley residents. 

Artists working on a new piece of street art for central Armley will be inviting teenagers to get their hands on to help transform a bare brick wall on Gelder Road later this autumn. 

Visitors will be invited to dress up for their ‘Out of this World’ afternoon when they arrive, with free face-painting and a make-your-own Armley super-hero cape with bundles. 

A range of stalls and community groups will be at the event to share information, including Leeds Youth Service, the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, New Wortley Community Centre, Interplay Theatre, SHEnanigans, Climate Action Armley, St George’s Crypt Armley, Andy’s Man Club and more… 

Armley residents aged 60+ can book shuttle bus transport through Armley Helping Hands by calling 0113 279 9292.

Lots of musical entertainment on stage. Photo: Paul Abraham

Food from around Armley’s world includes stalls from Mama’s House, Afro Spice, Nero’s Ices and Cracovia to provide meat and plant-based options for everyone. Head to Armley Helping Hands’ Tea Tent for pay-as-you-feel sandwiches and cake, run alongside volunteers from Meeting Point, a refugee and asylum-seekers group at Christ Church, and Armley Common Rights Trust.  

Look out for a treasure hunt created by children at Whingate Primary School with local artist Nat Joseph and other-worldly decorations painted by Armley children this summer. 

Festival coordinator Fran Albrecht said: “It’s an event from the community for the community. All the workshops are free to attend, the tea tent is fully accessible and we offer a variety of affordable food options, so whether you are a parent of four, a grandma with two dogs or a local artist – there’s something for everyone.”

Louise Megson, Chair of Armley Action Team added: “We believe Armley is ‘Out of this World’ and has so much potential and community spirit.

“We hope Armley Festival 2023 will bring people together, highlight creative talent and innovation, and show the visiting artists how welcoming LS12 is. Armley is rising, and this Festival is where we throw down the gauntlet to the rest of the city to come and see what LS12 has to offer.”

Armley Festival 2019. Photo: Mat Dale

Residents and organisations have worked together as a Festival Action Team to put this huge event on.

Their collaboration means the festival combines art, music, health, social justice, live music, local venues, sole traders and community development.

Hosted on Armley Moor, which is managed by voluntary group Armley Common Rights Trust, festival organisers anticipate around 3,000 people will attend this year’s event. 

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  1. My old home town, left in 1964 to emigrate to Australia. Never had anything like this when I lived there, highlights were the Feasts 2or 3 times a year. Plus the lonely old horse that used to be tethered there


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