Preview: Your invitation to Kirkstall Festival 2017


For the 37th time you’re invited to Kirkstall Festival in the grounds of the gorgeous Kirkstall Abbey, writes James Corah.

On Saturday, 8 July 2017 our team of fabulous volunteers will welcome you to a free family fun festival packed with entertainment, performers, and vikings. 

The theme for this year’s Festival is All Singing and Dancing, and we’ll definitely be singing a happy tune because you look good on the dance floor.

Kirkstall Festival is a popular annual event

The Festival is back with a wide variety of stalls, amusements, caterers, and the fairground. We have the parade (you parading, ’cause we’re asking), children’s sports, the Birds of Prey are back, as well as the vikings. 

The world’s greatest dog show based in Kirkstall returns, open to the best dogs in the world – those that visit Kirkstall Festival. The Leeds Children’s Circus will be showing of their circus skills, and there will be circus skills workshops to take part in (you juggling, ’cause we’re asking).

Leeds Museums and Galleries Battle of the Bands returns for the third year, promoting young talented artists on the Bowling Green Stage. There will also be a performance by previous winners, and youngesters from Melodie DJ Academy will be showing off their abilities.

kirkstall festival
Music of many different beats at Kirkstall Festival 2015. Photo: West Leeds Life/Dispatch

Performers across the festival’s different stages range from folk and orchestral, ensemble to jazz. We have regulars returning, new faces, Captain Wilberforce is a tour de force, and Mik Artistik Ego Trip provides “kind of punk, kind of comedy”. 

There will be comedy in the Cloisters, brass and sax mayhem will ringing out from the Ruins, clogs will clatter-clatter and drums will drum-a-beat across the Festival site. There will be something fun for all the family (you having fun, ’cause we’re asking).

How do you find out about what’s happening where during Kirkstall Festival? Well, when you arrive on Saturday 8 July to the Kirkstall Abbey Grounds you’ll be greeted by programme sellers.

Programmes are £2 and go towards supporting this Festival and next year’s event. The Festival is also supported with grants and sponsorship (including the Inner West Community Committee). 

The Festival is completely volunteer run, one of the largest to be so. All our volunteers give their time to put on the best event they can as a warm welcome to you all. In 2015 Kirkstall Festival attracted approximately 27,000 visitors, and this year we’re hoping for more. 

Please say hello to our volunteers in blue or yellow hi-viz jackets. As John Liversedge, Festival Chair, would say they show the community spirit is thriving and strong in Kirkstall.

A youngster from Farnley gave his view of what Leeds needs at 2015’s Kirkstall Festival. Photo: West Leeds Life/Dispatch

They will appreciate the gratitude, some of them will start on Friday morning 7am and finish the Festival at 10pm Saturday night. 

After you’ve visited the Festival on Saturday, visit Kirkstall Abbey on Sunday. Here you will see the efforts of our volunteers in returning the grounds to their glorious, gorgeous state.

Now, for the last time. You dancing, ’cause we’re asking. And we’d like to see your pictures and posts on social media after, using #KirkstallFestival and #KirkFest.






  1. I understand that you want to sell programmes, but your website doesn’t tell visitors nearly enough about what they can see and do, about eating, or about when to arrive. I didn’t see any mention of what time the activities kick off, or what time it all winds up. If I want to come in the evening, after another commitment, what can I see/do after 6pm?


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