Top poets and musicians headline festival in derelict chapel

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An unused derelict chapel in Seacroft is hosting more than  500 musicians and writers as they take part in a unique community broadcast festival of literature and music.

Organised by local community arts organisation, Heads Together Productions, the Live@Chapel Festival is bringing hundreds of local artists to this special venue to perform the best in poetry, comedy, theatre and music, in a last bid to save the chapel from ruin.

Heads Together have been raising money to refurbish the unused chapel into a dedicated arts venue - the first in East Leeds. This may be their last opportunity to turn this beautiful building around.

With appearances including well-known poet John Hegley, and Leeds music legend Brendan Croker, Live@Chapel is an event not to be missed.

The festival is the culmination of lots of hard work by staff and volunteers on the East Leeds FM (ELFM) community radio project and is available to listeners on

The festival kicked off on Friday with 24 hours of underground dance music, led by volunteers from the regular ELFM radio show ‘Warm-Up Sessions’.

The chapel has been taken until Friday over by swathes of writers and performers, itching to share their stories and poetry with whoever will listen!

The festival finale will take the shape of a 26.2-hour live Music Marathon, from Saturday at 1pm right through to Sunday afternoon, to coincide with the passing through Leeds of the Olympic Torch.

This is the fourth broadcast festival that Ed Heaton, ELFM project manager, has seen bring the chapel back to life. He said:

“It’s amazing that 500 creative people from all over the region are giving up their free time to be part of this community event! If we show people what the chapel could be used for on a regular basis, hopefully we’ll raise the final bit of money needed to transform the chapel into a fantastic arts venue for East Leeds.”

Members of the public that would like to be part of the live studio audience for selected events during the Festival, should contact for tickets.

Pocket programmes for the festival are available to pick up all over Leeds, and e-programmes can be found on the ELFM website – – where the entire festival will be broadcast.

John Baron

ohn Baron has worked in a variety of roles for local newspapers since starting his career as a trainee reporter at the Leeds Weekly News in 1994. He has also worked for Wharfedale Newspapers in Ilkley, the Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group in Wakefield and was previously a trainer for Johnston Press. In 2010 he was beatblogger for the Guardian's experimental and hugely successful Leeds blog and since contributed to and helped develop as well as contributing to the City Talking since its launch last year.