This year’s Leeds International Festival is set to wow, with a line-up that is already packed to the rafters with big name speakers and exciting, diverse and innovative events. From Tumor and Tommy Cash, to John Cooper Clarke and speakers including Frank Bruno MBE, Matt Haig and Professor Alice Roberts, the first announcement promises to take the festival up a gear.

Leeds International Festival 2019 takes place 2nd May to 12th May.

This year’s festival will see new CORE and OFF programmes, dividing the line-up between internationally renowned speakers and more upcoming and diverse acts and events. 2019 will also see a new location for The Village hub, and a new area called The Discovery Zone (hosting free-to-attend events for all the family). Full details to be revealed soon.

The first round of announcements reveals some stellar names:


What does it mean to be Human? (developed in partnership with Leeds Beckett University) with Professor Alice Roberts, Matt Haig, Gelong Thubten and Simon Anholt. What does it mean to be human? Have we forgotten? Did we ever know? Explore this question with a series of talks including evolutionary biologist Professor Alice Roberts, award-winning novelist Matt Haig, inspirational Buddhist monk Gelong Thubten and economist and founder of The Good Country, Simon Anholt, in four fascinating events, looking at biology and our past, how to maximise our humanity in today’s world and contemplating how to aspire to be better in the future.

John Cooper Clarke: The Luckiest Guy Alive

Listen to new material from The Luckiest Guy Alive alongside the old classics (like ‘Evidently Chickentown’) with legendary punk “people’s poet” John Cooper Clarke, alongside special guest poets Toria Garbutt and Mike Garry.

BlaqueXplosion feat. Frank Bruno MBE, Jermain Jackman and JoJo

Feel the noise of Black Britain in a day of exploration and celebration. Frank Bruno MBE discusses music and black mental health, whilst Capital radio presenter JoJo co-hosts and The Voice champion Jermain Jackman performs live, before Sound System Iration Steppas take over in the evening and bring the beat!

Crazy P (live) + Friends

English electronica favourites Crazy P (plus some stellar talent in support) bring their
shimmering, soulful underground disco to Leeds International Festival for Leeds’ only date, on the back of their recent record release.

Juicebox with Tommy Cash and Yves Tumor

JUICEBOX presents some of the most urgent and transgressive humans working in music today. Yves Tumor, the LA-based enigmatic gothic soundscape auteur, Tommy Cash, conceptual artist and post-Soviet raver, Grime music’s queer pioneer Karnage Kills & Leeds’ own NikNak will be headlining to kill.

Rewire Leeds

As a special agent for Rewire, your assignment is to protect the city. But whilst you’re on lookout, who is watching you? This interactive game taking place across the city is in conjunction with machina eX and Transform19.

All Day Hey!

Returning to Leeds International Festival, this affordable, all-day conference for front end developers and designers in the heart of Leeds boasts a stellar line-up, featuring some of the tech industry’s finest minds.

Music:Leeds Launchpad

In partnership with Music:Leeds’ Launchpad program, L19 is commissioning a new piece of music/sound for performance/installation at L19 – a unique exhibition opportunity.

Proposals must be new, original and previously unperformed. The deadline for submission is Thursday 28th February 2019. Interested? Find out more, and how to apply, at

Festival Executive, Gemma Holsgrove said:

“We are delighted to be bringing this year’s festival to life with some really dynamic first announcements.”

L19 will present an amazing eclectic line-up with its CORE and OFF programmes to inform, inspire and entertain audiences across the city. We have some of the world’s leading thinkers, innovators and pioneers coming to Leeds to explore new ideas and innovation and sitting them alongside local creators showcasing new and experimental works while celebrating the city’s’ rich cultural diversity and unshakable creative spirit.”

“And these events are just a taste of what L19 will be bringing to the city for 10 days in May.”

website –