On Saturday 14th May I went along to what must have been Leeds’ best kept secret. I had stumbled across mention of this event when looking on-line for something else, but when I tried to find out more there was scant information. I couldn’t even find the original source.

I had recalled that the do was to mark the opening of the refurbished space in front of the Corn Exchange which has been given a green, pedestrian-friendly makeover after months of unsightly roadworks. I have to say that it looks brilliant.

In addition to the fake lawn, green in colour only as it seemed to be plastic and so, apart from what that entails in production and disposal, would not allow any rainfall to soak through thus risking its runoff over the paved area facilitating paddling, there were a few more natural plots containing plants and trees which I am sure will look great when they mature.

The info which I saw promised music, food and drink. In the words of the late, great duo Jim Steinman and Meatloaf, two out of three ain’t bad. Food was off the menu! The other thing was that there seemed to be no mention of events inside this magnificent building, of which there were several.

Drink station by Bruschetta

Even though this was the best day for weather for months, with almost continual sunshine, the number of spectators was dismally low with benches and deck chairs remaining empty throughout the whole time I was there. The two bands I saw performing and the incredibly agile hip hop dancers had sparse audiences of passers-by who had stumbled across the event by accident. Inside the numbers were even smaller.

The band – crowd surfing not recommended!

After my dose of vitamin D I decided to pop inside to see if there was anything of interest, and entered to the sound of my own footsteps! Had it not been for the performers and face painter there would have been no one on the lower event space at all.

After resisting the urge to tap-dance down the stairs like Fred Astaire, although in my case it would have been more like Fred Dibnah, I decided to glide down thus making a graceful entrance at the floor below. Sadly my knees would not comply so it was the usual hobble.

The space was devoted to a face painter, a section for children to do some drawing and colouring, a stage and Miss Lily’s Victorian Circus. The ring person and performers were in wonderful period garb with the young lad looking as though he was about to put in a shift picking pockets at the end of the performance!

Miss Lily’s Victorian Circus

At the other side of the space was a stage set up for South Asian Arts-UK where there would be music and dance. I only caught the dance part but it was very graceful, not to mention a riot of colour.

Dancers from South Asian Arts-UK

I felt so sorry for the performers here who were putting on a great show for no one in particular. They deserved much better.

I would like to end by saying to those responsible for this ‘Celebration Event’ at one of the finest buildings in the country let alone the city you should not have been whispering about it you should have been SHOUTING OUT LOUD!!!!!!!!

For more about Miss Lily’s Victorian Circus go to https://urbanangelscircus.com/miss-lilys-victorian-circus-game-and-exhibition/

For South Asian Arts – UK it is https://www.saa-uk.org/

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