One of the benefits of the various lockdowns and restrictions is that we can still look forward to some of the events which would normally have been over and done with by now. One such treat which will take place between 19th and 28th March, 2021 is Compass Festival.

The event was originally scheduled to take place round about now but was postponed in May when it became obvious that life would be disrupted for the foreseeable future. What with the promise of vaccines in the offing it looks as though the rearranged event might just be able to be held under reasonably ‘normal’ conditions. Remember normal?

One of the advantages this festival has is that one of the events; Pick Me Up (and hold me tight), despite its name, takes place outdoors without the need to congregate, and others can be experienced from home.

The idea of lockdown and restrictions on meeting people seems to go against everything Compass stands for. All of the previous events I have attended had the objective of getting people together, such as the 1,000 Handshakes exhibition where 500 people were asked to shake hands with a stranger and a small piece of Yorkshire clay was held by them to record the event. The resultant ‘sculptures’ were then put on display. Then there was Public House when drinkers in pubs along Kirkgate were served their ale in glasses bearing slogans designed to get them talking and engaging in discussion. Sadly there is an element of keeping people apart this time although only physically rather than culturally.

The aforementioned Pick Me Up (and hold me tight) involves an audio experience by ZU-UK accessed by answering one of the payphone in Leeds, all of which will ring at the same time.

Another piece is called Museums In People’s Homes which is a mobile museum curated by Joshua Sofaer containing 14 artworks, each representing a collector in Leeds as a representation of what they have amassed. A booking needs to be made to view this installation which even has a small cafe and gift shop.

My favourite event, details of which have so far been released is, not surprisingly, Public House: The Yorkshire Square by Etheridge and Persighetti, these are the couple responsible for the original Public House event. As any Tyke ale cart – sorry, beer connoisseur – knows, The Yorkshire Square is the name of the fermenting vessel originating in breweries from these parts brought to prominence by the late, lamented Tetley Brewery. Once again it is designed to provoke conversation and is held in a 12ft x 12ft pop-up pub in Kirkgate Market. What could possibly be more Leeds than that!

I hope that you manage to get to one of the events in next year’s, or should that be this year’s, festival, because it is not your usual run of the mill affair, I am sure you will be glad that you did.

For further details and to book events please go to:

Be sure to check back on a regular basis as further events are being planned and will be added soon.

All images supplied by Compass Arts

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