Food and drink are a major expression of culture; and a city like Leeds, thriving with diversity, is an ideal place to experience a melting pot of culinary adventure. The Leeds Indie Food Festival (LIFF) is therefore an attempt at saluting those in the independent food and drink scene in the city; an opportunity to showcase and share their flair, their love for creativity, novelty and efforts in trying to be different.
Matt, one of the founders of LIFF explained:
This has been an effort of a few of us, all from the independent food and drink sector in Leeds. We all thought that there wasn't really any festival that represented the independent food scene; so we wanted to put something together that shows off the independent side of Leeds.
Moving away from the idea of hosting a large fair in one location, which is what traditionally food festivals are about, LIFF has organised events all over the city including your day to day bars, restaurants and cafes. “You don’t eat in Millennium Square very often, but you do eat at your local restaurants so that’s where we want you to go to celebrate what’s really good about Leeds”, said Matt.
Running for a whole fortnight and three weekends the LIFF will comprise of everything from tastings to food and drink pairings, book launches to cookery demonstrations, movie screenings to talks and much more, joined by over a 100 food and drink independents - old and new - of Leeds. Themed into strands Street Food, Food Culture, Beer, Dining, Wine & Spirits and Family, LIFF will host hundreds of independent and collaborative events at different restaurants, bars, cafes and coffee shops all over Leeds.
“We actually envisaged a festival of about 10 to 15 events in the city but what we have ended up with is a festival where there is probably just over a 100 events with over a 100 business, ten times bigger than anything we ever imagined at the beginning; but this is thanks to the support and enthusiasm of all the independent businesses” clarified Matt.
What is more, on its last weekend on 22nd and 23rd LIFF will host the Leeds Feast, a collaboration between LIFF and Belgrave Music Hall. The grand closing party of the festival, this will be held at the Tetley, which also has a great history of food and drink. Leeds Feast will come alive with around 20 street food traders from all over the country including some nationally known names.
“We’ve got lots of talks scheduled too on street food, publishing and more, where you can get insights into the food and drink scene”, added Matt. With popup street food traders, talks, industry panels, music and art, the Leeds Feast will be an outstanding weekend of food and drink for the entire family “possibly the biggest street food event in the North” Matt highlighted.
The Festival also has a Festival Passport, your ‘ticket’ to picking up a little bit extra over the fortnight of events. The passport will let you be a part of a range of special dishes, great discounts and even some exclusive events. “We didn’t want to charge business to get involved, but wanted LIFF to be as accessible as possible to as many independents as possible, even the smallest family run café. So we got them involved and asked them to run whatever they want. The Festival Passport is our way of supporting all these events and their marketing” explained Matt.
Like what you have read so far? Then log on to Leeds Indie Food Festival get involved in this unique and inspiring festival with an opportunity to explore and taste the vibrant independent food and drink scene in Leeds.