Kirkstall Festival 2020 goes online to celebrate community


This Saturday should have been Kirkstall Festival’s 40th event. Unfortunately the event has been postponed until 2021 due to Covid-19, although members of the organising committee have been putting together virtual events to celebrate the community. Community reporter JIM CORAH spoke with John Liversedge, Steve Harris, and Fiona Butler about their plans.

The best of Kirkstall …

The first event will be a dog show on Saturday, 11 July 2020. The dog show is one of the most popular entertainments at the first and draws an impressive crowd. The dog show, along with the other virtual events, will help relaunch the Kirkstall Online website with new features and content.

The dog show will take place at 2pm with participants joining via Zoom. Dog owners will receive details when they have signed up via the website. There will be six categories to enter, from most obedient to most unlikely pet friendship.

Throughout July and August there will be a number of other events taking place to promote the new website.

There will be an offline quiz to encourage people to search through the website for information, as well as a Zoom quiz later on. There is potential to host virtual tours of Kirkstall residents’ gardens, as well as performances from local artists and groups.

The new website will feature club sports listings for the community to engage with.

The Festival’s website has benefited as well, with more content being uploaded. Liz Minkin has provided a look back at the very first Festival in 1981, along with pictures.

Ahead of a display at the Abbey House Museum in 2021, members of the public are being encouraged to submit there Festival photos so they may feature in the display.


  1. I remember it well, as I used to type the magazine for the original organisers of the KVCA & Kirkstall Festival. The magazine that is featured dated 1981 will have the typist as Heather Fisher (that was me). Good days and certainly good fun. I also had the privilege of having both my children feature in the YEP, their photos, as they took part in the first ever Kirkstall Festival. One was in the fancy dress parade, the other was one of the Kirkstall majorettes. Which was run by Jean Smith and Bernard Farrar. I often laugh when I think of how Jean taught them, their first practice batons being made from the rungs of Jeans wooden clothes horse. Happy days.

    Kirkstall Festival was not a new idea, back in the 1980’s when it was started, The Festival was based on one that had been run in Kirkstall pre the war, dating back I believe to just after WW1 according to the older Kirkstall residents who were children at the time.

    I am glad to see it is still going strong thanks to the original efforts of Richard (? I forget his surname) Liz St David Smith and her husband David St David Smith (who sadly lost his life in a YTV helicopter accident)


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