Leeds is a proper party town. Some of house and techno’s most celebrated events—from Back to Basics to The Orbit—started in the city and have brought countless generations of young people to town in search of the action. Unlike other cities, though, it has never been known for a mass of dance music labels or celebrated DJs beyond the likes of Hessle Audio, 2020 Vision, Midland and Paul Woolford.
Part of the reason for that, maybe, is that it has a transient population. With two big universities and a popular Music Technology course, the turnover of young people is high: they come, they party as long as they can, they leave. But in recent times more and more people are staying to do their own thing, whether that’s open an arty bar, start an inclusive DIY party, new record store or radio station. It means the sense of community is growing and the investment in long term projects is also increasing.
Celebrating all this is inner city electronic. The brainchild of Bluedot’s Ben Thompson and Back to Basics resident and 2020 Vision label founder Ralph Lawson, it is a multi-venue, one day showcase of all the city has to offer. It will also offer young people in the city real insight into production methods, to get familiar with local heroes, learn about the roots of dub, think about the role of women in the scene and so much more. You can read in detail about how it came about and what the aims of it are in this recent interview with Ralph.
When it comes around on June 2nd, every venue worth going to is offering a day and night of music. Some have been around for many years, some have made their mark in the last few. They range from the intimate basement confines of Wire to the iron foundry turned Music and Arts Production charity Hope House via live venues such as Belgrave and Headrow House, the Doghouse Bar & Record Store and long time funk, soul, dub and hip hop venue Hi Hi Club. There will be parties in rooftops as well as indoors and some special, unannounced guests along the way.
Next to 20 hours of live and DJ sets from exciting young locals and international guests like Peggy Gou, Floating Points, Andrew Weatherall, Craig Richards, Avalon Emerson, Dopplereffekt, KiNK and Joy Orbison, there will be a wealth of talks, workshops, live demonstrations, producer forums and plenty more. The whole city will be involved and it is set to remind people just what a northern powerhouse Leeds really is when it comes to electronic music.