Monday, 3 August 2009

Make sure of your place at fantastic Fantasia

Caption: Classical Fantasia enjoys a unique atmosphere set in the grounds of Kirkstall Abbey

Tickets to this year’s magical Classical Fantasia are to be launched at Leeds Town Hall this week.

The free open-air classical music performance in the grounds of Kirkstall Abbey is one of the most popular events of the year due to its fantasy-inspired music, stunning fireworks and breathtaking setting which together make for a special and unique spectacle.

This year’s performance takes place on Saturday 12th September and the eagerly-awaited 9,000 tickets for it will be given away free at the ticket launch which will takes place this Sunday (9th August) from 10am at the front of Leeds Town Hall.

The free tickets will be available to collect in person (with a maximum of two per applicant) on a first-come first-served basis at the launch. Those keen to attend are advised to go to the launch to be assured of their places as the tickets are always claimed very quickly.

Organised by Leeds City Council, Classical Fantasia is now in its 14th year and has firmly established itself as one of the highlights of the outdoor events calendar in the city. With the specially-lit ruins of the 12th century Kirkstall Abbey providing the perfect backdrop, the sounds of the Northern Ballet Theatre orchestra make for a magical evening’s entertainment.

The event has also become famous for its spectacular fireworks, which signal both the end of the first half and then the main display which accompanies the electrifying finale of the evening.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

”Classical Fantasia is a very special free event and is hugely popular every year. The setting is wonderful, the music is fantastic and the fireworks are spectacular so it all adds up to a great evening’s entertainment and a really unique and magical atmosphere.

“With another fantastic Opera in the Park still fresh in the memory, anyone who attended and liked that is sure to love Classical Fantasia. Make sure of your tickets though as they are all claimed very quickly.”

Classical Fantasia is part of the Summer of Fun in Leeds, with details of all the council-managed free or low-cost events and activities going on around the city able to be accessed through the new web portal at

Requests for disabled access tickets for Classical Fantasia should be made in writing, enclosing a stamped addressed envelope and a proof of disability to: The Events Team, Leeds Town Hall, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3 AD

For further information visit or call The Events Team on 0113 395 0891.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Leeds...and all that jazz

Caption: Leeds' own Peter Grant will be performing at the festival

Millennium Square in Leeds will be filled with the sounds of cool jazz later this month as the popular Big City Jazz festival returns.

Now in its third year, the event to be held from August 20-31 will see some of the leading names from the world of jazz performing in a special marquee in the city centre supported by a host of special fringe events being held at venues across the city.

Organised by Leeds City Council, Big City Jazz will feature a range of performers offering something for all fans of jazz as well as general music lovers, with big names like Jacqui Dankworth, Peter Grant, Christine Tobin, Alex Wilson and Jamil Sheriff all taking part.

The three days of performances in the ‘festival marquee’ on Millennium Square are the focal point, beginning on Friday 21st August with Big City Jazz Latino Night. Dance teacher Moe Flex will get the crowd moving with a funky salsa class to the sounds provided by renowned Brazilian salsa DJ and music producer DJ Silvao, before Alex Wilson and his 12-piece Salsa Con Soul Orchestra take to the stage to create a new musical fusion – salsa combined with soul and gospel. Anyone suitably inspired can then head on to The Wardrobe for the afterparty featuring the best of latin music and dance.

Day two in the festival marquee is devoted to celebrating 70 years of Blue Note Records, and features two collaborations commissioned exclusively for Big City Jazz; Malcolm Strachan and Jim Corry with the ATA Studio Pit Band while Nick Mills, Dave O’Higgins, Martin Shaw and Kit Downes make up The Blue Note Project who will be playing classic Blue Note sounds from the 1950s and 60s.

The day’s packed programme will also feature a rare performance by Christine Tobin, who was named Best Vocalist in the BBC Jazz Awards 2008, as well as appearances by Jamil Sheriff’s Matinee Project and the Garforth Jazz Rock Band. The aftershow party will be held at Smokestack on Lower Briggate, with all ticket-holders welcome.

The finale of the Millennium Square events take place on Sunday 23rd August, with performances by The Temperance Seven and Alan Gresty and Brian White Ragtimers Jazz Band playing dance music from the 1920s and 30s and Dixieland jazz.

The evening session sees a hometown performance by Leeds’ own Peter Grant, whose extraordinary voice has taken the jazz world by storm including a sell-out run at the legendary Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London at the age of just 20.

Peter will be followed on stage by Jacqui Dankworth and her quartet, who will be celebrating the release of ‘Back To You’, a collection of her own writing as well as the work of some of her favourite songwriters including James Taylor, Sting and Randy Newman.

Leeds City Council executive member for Development Councillor Andrew Carter said:

“Big City Jazz gets bigger and better every year and the line-up for this year is another cracker! A host of big-name artists and something for everyone in terms of the range of performers, so I’m sure it will be another fantastic success and one of the highlights of the year in Leeds.”

Apart from the headline attractions on Millennium Square, Big City Jazz will also see fringe events taking place from August 20-31 at venues like Harvey Nichols, Sela Bar, The Wardrobe, Viva Cuba, HiFi Club, the new City Inn Hotel at Granary Wharf as well as other venues along the waterfront.

For full details of all the events and how to book tickets online for the Millennium Square performances visit the official event website at or call the City Centre Box Office in The Carriageworks on 0113 224 3801. For further event information contact Leeds City Council’s Events Team on 0113 395 0891.

Big City Jazz is part of the Summer of Fun in Leeds, with details of all the council-managed free or low-cost events and activities going on around the city able to be accessed through the new web portal at


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Video conferencing helps take primary school learning to new level

Primary schools in Leeds have competed against each other in an innovative city-wide video conferencing quiz.

For the fourth year running, eight primary schools participated in the event which used a new high definition system to bring the children even closer together – even though they were spread across the city.

After a tense final, the quiz was won by St Philip’s Catholic Primary School in Middleton which received a trophy from Councillor Richard Harker, responsible for learning at Leeds City Council.

The school also won an exciting ‘E-Mission’ prize, hosted by the National Space Centre in Leicester, which allowed the children to take part in an exciting virtual mission direct from their classroom using the equipment.

Organised by the Leeds Learning Network – which provides secure, filtered internet and email services to schools, libraries and learning centres across Leeds - the quiz was designed to highlight how ICT can add to learning in schools and continue education outside of the classroom.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“The video conference quiz was a great experience for everyone who took part. The children I spoke to enjoyed every minute of it and it’s an excellent way to show how ICT can help make learning fun. It brought all the schools that took part together and I’d like to congratulate everyone who took part.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“Video conferencing is normally associated with long-distance business meetings but this innovative and imaginative use by the Leeds Learning Network has opened it to new and exciting educational uses.

“All of the children involved did brilliantly and learnt how important technology is to learning and communicating with each other. Well done to St Philip’s primary school which won first prize and took part in an exciting virtual mission with the National Space Centre.”

The eight primary schools involved were Adel St John Primary School, Carr Manor Primary School, Calverley Parkside Primary School, Iveson Primary School, Kerr Mackie Primary School, St Philips Catholic Primary School, Manston St James Primary School and Yeadon Westfield Junior School.

Each school team comprised of four members with a designated captain. There were four rounds and the questions covered general knowledge, pop culture, pictures, history, science and geography.


For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577

Council bets on getting people’s views on city’s gambling policy

People in Leeds are being asked for their views on the policy that governs the licensing of gambling in the city.

Leeds City Council is seeking the views of residents and organisations working in the city on the revision of its Statement of Licensing Policy for the Gambling Act 2005.

The council has responsibility for granting licences and permits to gambling premises. This will be the second consultation since the policy was introduced in 2006 – it has to be reviewed every three years.

The consultation period will run until 2nd October and the revised policy document, along with a list of proposed changes, are included on the council’s website at

Residents and local organisations in the Leeds area are invited to make comments on the revised document in writing, which can be sent by post to Entertainment Licensing, Leeds City Council, Civic Hall, Leeds LS1 1RU, by e-mail to or by using the online form at

Under the Gambling Act, each licensing authority is required to develop, consult on and publish a statement of its licensing principles, and then review that policy every three years. This council first adopted its Statement of Licensing Policy in 2006 and must review the document this year.

The policy gave guidance on the kind of information needed to apply for a licence or permit, while also dealing with issues about the protection of children and vulnerable people.

The proposed policy also includes new sections on Prize Gaming Permits and Unlicensed Family Entertainment Centre Permits.

Comments made as part of the consultation will be included in the Consultation Report, however personal details will be kept in confidence.

Councillor Richard Brett, leader of Leeds City Council and executive board member for licensing, said:
“The gambling and gaming industry has obviously changed quite significantly over the past decade and every three years we must return to our policy to see if it needs updating.
“This consultation is asking the people of Leeds whether they think our proposed policy gets the balance right between allowing people to gamble while also having the safeguards in place to protect children and vulnerable people.”

Notes for editors
• The consultation does NOT include information about any application for a ‘large casino’ in Leeds.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937