Leeds International Festival hits the city this weekend and is already promising to make its mark.

This new, ambitious and exciting cultural festival, celebrating the international appeal of Leeds’ rich and vibrant portfolio, sees the city showcase its music, moving image and tech credentials.

Leeds city centre will come to life over a nine-day period from Saturday 22nd April 22nd-Sunday 30th April, with 35 events and 327 speakers and acts.

LIF boasts a stellar line-up including a film premiere with footballing greats and a Hollywood star, headline performances including a BRIT winner, exhibitions and conferences with the spotlight on keynote speakers leading the debates.

The festival is also serving up side orders of fashion and food, with Fashion in Leeds hosting The Fashion Space on Briggate with runway shows and free industry talks starting this Saturday. An allotment taking root in Leeds Kirkgate Market in association with Leeds Indie Food, Arup and Bauman Lyons will launch too. This is a new green space for creativity and community, with a programme of free activities taking place on Saturdays, perfect for the family and will continue for five weeks.

Headline events include an Empowering Woman with Tech conference hosted by TV and radio presenter Miquita Oliver and featuring broadcaster Lauren Laverne, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man at Live at Leeds, and a new film about Leeds United staring Vinnie Jones (pictured).

Big industry names from the three key strands have been attracted to get involved from Sky, BBC, Screen Yorkshire and AQL to Oscar winning VFX artist Andrew Whitehurst, renowned make-up Ruby Miller MBE and Mike Butcher MBE, named as one of the most influential people in tech.

The programme is jam packed with something to appeal to all from the live LIF orchestra playing memorable tracks from ironic games to the opportunity to literally merge with technology by having a microchip implanted in your hand; to experiencing a collision of tech talk and WWE wrestling, to hearing from fashionistas to having family fun, getting inventive at Leeds Museum.

Andrew Cooper, Chair of Leeds International Festival and LeedsBID Chief Executive, said: “The first Leeds International Festival has illustrated that there is the ambition and appetite in the city to showcase all that is great about Leeds, nationally and internationally.”

“The festival is promising to be a great nine days and we are already looking at a bigger and even more ambitious LIF in 2018.”

Find out more at www.leedsinternationalfestival.com

Jerry Nelson spends much of his time poking Trump’s meth-addled, uneducated fans with a pointy stick and is currently writing a book of muskrat recipes as well as a scrapbook of his favorite death threats. His life’s aspiration is to rule the world with an iron fist, or find that sock he’s been looking for. Feel free to email him at jandrewnelson2@gmail.com if you have any questions or comments — or join the million (seriously) or so who follow him on Twitter @Journey_America.

Never far from his Marlboro’s and coffee, Jerry is always interested in discussing future writing opportunities.