Big name stars from Leeds have joined the growing call to see their home city named European Capital of Culture 2023.
Chart-topping Leeds rockers The Kaiser Chiefs and Grammy Award-winner Corinne Bailey Rae have thrown their weight behind the bid as they prepare to attend an exciting event at the Royal Society of Arts in London next week.
The event, which takes place on March 21, will see some of the city’s cultural heavyweights and civic leaders travel to the capital to speak to key national influencers about Leeds’s ambitions to land the prestigious title.
They will set off to London following an appearance at the star-studded Y17 even in York that morning, organised by Welcome to Yorkshire.
Speaking ahead of the event, The Kaiser Chiefs said: “We’re very proud to be backing Leeds’ bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2023 and to see our home city going for such a massive, prestigious title.
“We spent years performing on the local music scene, so we’ve all seen first-hand the talent, energy and passion for music and culture that exists in Leeds.
“The international spotlight the European Capital of Culture title would bring could be a real game-changer for the city and make such a huge difference to those working hard in local communities- everyone should get behind the bid, believe that we can do it and do their bit to give Leeds the showcase it deserves.”
Corinne Bailey Rae added: “I’m thrilled that Leeds is going for the title of European Capital of Culture 2023 and I know how much it will mean to everyone in my home town.
“As someone who grew up in Leeds, I know that culture and diversity are in the city’s DNA and to see local communities at home being given the opportunity to shine on such a big stage is something that’s very close to my heart.
“I hope everyone in Leeds grabs their chance to get involved in the bid and to show the world what we can accomplish together.”
As well as Simon and Peanut from the Kaiser Chiefs and Corinne, those attending next week’s RSA event will include Lord Melvyn Bragg, chancellor of the University of Leeds, Sir Peter Bazalgette, chair of ITV, Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council and Sharon Watson, chair of the Leeds 2023 Independent Steering Group.
Sharon said: “We’re extremely proud to have won the backing of such big names and excited about their ability to help shout about our bid and the many amazing things Leeds has going for it.
“It speaks volumes that these stars, who have travelled and performed for audiences all over the world, haven’t forgotten what a unique and special place Leeds is and how inspirational the communities they grew up in have been for them.”
Entertainment on the evening will include a film about culture in Leeds by young people at Studio 12 and a performance piece by the Leeds International Piano competition.
Councillor Judith Blake said: “We’ve had an incredibly positive response to the bid in Leeds and there’s a real buzz in the city about the competition and how transformational it could be for our communities.
“Now it’s time to also start shouting about culture in Leeds on a national level, showcasing the very best of our city to those who can help us spread the word even further and give us the best possible chance of winning.”
Earlier this month, Leeds officially called on local communities, organisations and individuals from across the city to submit their ideas for the 2023 bid.
A new website www.leeds2023.co.uk means anyone in the city has the opportunity to share their ideas for cultural and creative projects that could help the city win the bid for the title of European Capital of Culture 2023.
A final decision is made in 2018.