After the huge success of HERD, which saw giant musical sheep sculptures descend on St George’s Square in Huddersfield, the autumn and winter schedule of Kirklees Year of Music 2023 has been revealed.

Autumn will see Kirklees Year of Music’s vibrant and diverse calendar continue to delight with events such as the Live Cinema Weekender featuring live AV performance by DJ Yoda and music by Anna Meredith, and a new site-specific adaptation of Beowulf by Proper Job Theatre, plus a special winter concert of new music in Songs for the Season. 

Created especially for KYOM23 by Let’s Go Yorkshire, the TOWNSOUNDS podcast, hosted and produced by local musician Sam Hodgson, continues to delve into the past and present rich music heritage of Kirklees, and on September 17, TOWNSOUNDS goes live in Huddersfield with an exciting street party – a family-friendly celebration of Jamaican music. Playing strictly vinyl in the traditional one-deck style, powered by Zion Inna Vision Sound System, the event is free and open to all.

There’s a range of music-themed events as part of Heritage Open Days in September. These include Sounds of Dewsbury, three audio trails by Duncan Chapman from Manasamitra and sound artist Sam Hodgson, plus Daytimers, a specially-commissioned, family-friendly performance by Chol exploring the underground Bhangra scene of the 1990s and 2000s.

The Kirklees Concert Season, in partnership with Opera North, is back, bringing a range of orchestral, chamber and organ music to Dewsbury and Huddersfield Town Halls. From Orchestral to chamber and organ concerts, there’s a whole host of music for all to enjoy taking place between September and December.

hcmf//, the UK’s largest international festival of new and experimental music, features two concerts specially commissioned for KYOM23, including the closing concert on November 26 with Riot Ensemble playing the music of Icelandic composer Bára Gísladóttir.

Also happening during the autumn/winter season, the final concert in the special series from Cleckheaton Folk Festival, featuring John Tams & Jez Lowe and The Bad Pennies, whilst the popular Onwards and Yours to Keep festivals return in September and November. 

The Music Industry programme concludes with a forum – A Community That Lives and Loves Music – on November 14 at Smile Bar and Venue featuring panel discussions, networking and an industry marketplace.

Upcoming highlights include: 

Live Cinema Weekender – Friday 6 & Saturday 7 October at Dewsbury Town Hall

A weekend blending the best of cinema with thrilling live music is coming to Dewsbury Town Hall for two nights only.

Catch innovative composer Anna Meredith’s live soundtrack to comedian and YouTube sensation Bo Burnham’s 2018 debut feature film Eighth Grade where aspiring YouTuber, thirteen-year-old Kayla (Elsie Fisher) navigates the awkwardness of teen life.

Anna Meredith’s score highlights the angst of her world with electronic synths, pulsing drum beats and dynamic bass performed live by a four-piece band. Then the multi-award-winning DJ Yoda takes to the turntables with a brand-new AV show featuring iconic director Quentin Tarantino’s cult classics mixed live in an immersive audio-visual experience blending classic movie footage, soundtracks & insane turntable wizardry. Click here to book

Beowulf – Wednesday 8 to Saturday 11 November at St Peter’s Parish Church in Huddersfield

A new Yorkshire adaptation of this epic tale of warriors, monsters, and dragons comes to Huddersfield. Created by Proper Job Theatre, especially for KYOM23, audiences will be transported to Herot, the Great Mead Hall of King Hrothgar, for a theatrical celebration featuring choirs and original music.

This spectacular site-specific event created for Kirklees Year of Music 2023, will start at Byram Arcade and culminate inside the inspiring architecture of St Peter’s Church. If you love Game of Thrones, this one is for you. Click here to book

Songs for the Season – Tuesday December 12 at Dewsbury Town Hall

A magical winter concert with local band and choirs performing songs from a specially created Winter Songbook, featuring 10 brand new songs for Kirklees created by local musicians and composers. In partnership with Dewsbury Taking the Lead.

KYOM23 is a year-long programme that has already seen successful events such as the Platform artist showcase which launched the careers of local musicians on a global scale, the Music Changes Lives conference, and HERD – the vibrant, musical soundscape broadcast by a specially crafted flock of oversized sheep that traced the cultural and industrial story of the district and which descended on Kirklees in July. 

KYOM23 aims to celebrate the area’s musical identity and support music-making, festivals and events across the towns and villages of the district. It includes multiple strands of programming including learning, health and wellbeing, opportunities for young people and music industry support. KYOM23 is providing a 360-degree approach to music and its importance in everyday life throughout the summer months.

Clr Yusra Hussain, Cabinet member for culture and greener Kirklees, said: “What a fantastic year of events, surprises, performances and, of course, incredible music we’ve had so far across Kirklees, and it’s not finished yet!

“The final few months of our programme bring lots of opportunities for the people of the district and beyond to come together, enjoy music and celebrate. From high-profile artists DJ Yoda and Anna Meredith taking over Dewsbury Town Hall, an exciting collaboration with the world-renowned hcmf//, the return of Kirklees Concert Season with Opera North and a jam-packed diary of music industry activities as well as learning and engagement opportunities, we’re ready for the final stretch of Kirklees Year of Music.”

Other events taking place from September to December include: 

Kirklees Concert Season – Monday September 11 to Friday December 29

Featuring a colourful programme of Orchestral Concerts at Huddersfield Town Hall including a season opener featuring the sparkling Overture from Gershwin’s 1930 musical Girl Crazy, and the New World Symphony by Dvořák. Plus, season debuts from fantastic international conductors, including Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony with Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro, and the unforgettable music of Holst’s celestial masterpiece The Planets conducted by American conductor Andrew Grams.

The Organ Season curated by David Pipe features guest organists including Jonathan Scott, Alessandro Bianchi, Martin Baker, and Gordon Stewart, whilst in December there’s a rare evening organ recital of Messiaen’s La Nativité du Seigneur, performances.

The season concludes with Resident Conductor of the London Mozart Players Jonathan Bloxham taking the Orchestra for a spin in Viennese Whirl, an exuberant finale for Kirklees Year of Music. In partnership with Opera North. Click here for more details and to book tickets

Music of Tomorrow – Thursdays from September 14 to December 7, 6pm – 8pm at Kirklees College  

Free weekly sessions in music and video creation and production. Open to 16 to 25-year-olds produced by Yorkshire Youth and Music. 

John Tams & Jez Lowe and The Bad Pennies Cleckheaton Folk Festival Autumn Concert – Sunday 24 September at Dewsbury Town Hall

As part of KYOM23, Cleckheaton Folk Festival presents the third in its series of special concerts with John Tams & Jez Lowe and The Bad Pennies. Click here for more info & to book tickets

Onwards Festival – Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 September in venues around Huddersfield town centre

A multi-venue live music festival with a twist, Onwards as the name suggests leads audiences successively through Huddersfield town centre and grassroots music venues, showcasing a carefully curated programme of live music. This year the festival will be taking place over two days, across 7 venues, premiering new music and artist collaborations, art and sound installations and live performances from Ruby Wood, Don Gonzo, Here’s the Steeple, Klonk, Mali Hayes and many more. Click here for more info & to book tickets

Volume UP – Every Monday from October 2 – November 27, 1pm – 5pm at the Watershed, Slaithwaite

An 8-week creative development course aimed at 16–25-year olds who have an ambition to explore, pursue or further themselves within music-based roles and professions.

Yours to Keep Festival – Friday 10 & Saturday 11 November
Yours To Keep Festival returns! Bringing the best in new music to Huddersfield with brilliant bands and amazing artists playing at our beloved indie venues in Huddersfield.

A Community That Lives and Loves Music: Music Industry Forum, Tuesday November 14 at Smile Bar and Venue in Huddersfield. 4pm – 9pm
Join panels of industry experts to discuss what’s next for music in Kirklees as the Year of Music comes to a close. Expect discussions and debate, networking and marketplace of industry organisations to connect with. 

Hcmf// – Friday 17 to Sunday 26 November
Recognised worldwide as one of the most important festivals of its kind, hcmf// is the UK’s foremost festival of contemporary, new and experimental music, providing life-changing and unique artistic experiences and talent development opportunities to as wide an audience as possible.

Taking place over 10 days, the annual festival programme features 50+ events – including performances, installations, exhibitions, talks and workshops – as well as a year-round Learning & Participation programme. Click here for the full hcmf// programme & buy tickets

Townsounds Podcast

The upcoming episodes of TOWNSOUNDS include:

·       Sept Ep 9 It All Sounds the Same: Modern Popular music in Kirklees
·       Oct Ep 10 Complex Harmony: the Kirklees Jazz scene
·       Nov Ep 11 – Punk, chaos, and Experimentalism: A history of musical rebellion
·       Dec Ep 12 12 Brass and Steel: the bands that put Kirklees on the Map

Click here to listen to the Townsounds Podcast