Kirklees Year of Music 2023 Announces Autumn/Winter Programme

Today, Kirklees Council announces the vibrant autumn and winter programme for Kirklees Year of Music 2023 (KYOM23) - the first-ever year of culture told through music.

After a jam-packed, music-filled summer, which saw Kirklees transform with HERD, a major genre-defying musical mash-up of epic proportions project devised by composer Orlando Gough and produced by Artichoke, 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 17 September, 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, including 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, as well as open days at Dewsbury Minster, complete with the opportunity to try out handbell ringing 

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 26 November 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 Follk 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 14 November at Smile Bar and Venue featuring panel discussions, networking and an industry marketplace.

Upcoming highlights include: 

·       Live Cinema Weekender

Friday 6 & Saturday 7 October

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.

·       Beowulf

Wednesday 8 – Saturday 11 November

St Peter's Parish Church

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.

·       Songs for the Season 

Tuesday 12 December 

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.

Councillor Yusra Hussain, Cabinet Member for Culture and Greener Kirklees says, “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: 

Heritage Open Days

Friday 8 to Sunday 17 September 

See hidden places and try out new experiences – all of which are FREE to explore. 

Ringing in Heritage Open Days at Dewsbury Minster

Fri 8 Sep, 18:00 – 20:30

Launching Heritage Open Days across Kirklees, as part of Kirklees Year of Music, is this evening of entertainment at Dewsbury Minster. Audiences can tour the Minster, which dates from the 13th century, and try their hand at handbell ringing, before sitting back to enjoy the musical performances.


Sounds of Dewsbury

Sat 9 Sep at 11:30, 12:30 & 13:00

As part of the Dewsbury Creative Town Arts programme, artist Duncan Chapman, Manasamitra and Sam Hodgson have made an audio trail that takes listeners on three routes around the town. Duncan will be leading three short tours around the town centre listening to the sounds along the way, each focusing on a different way of experiencing the environment. 

Free. Booking required. 

Kirklees Concert Season

Monday 11 September to Friday 29 December

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 Dvoƙák. 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.

Dewsbury & Huddersfield Town Halls

Music of Tomorrow 

Every Thu from 14 Sep to 7 Dec (exc 2 Nov), 18:00 – 20:00

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. 


Sat 16 Sep, 13:00 & 15:00

A specially commissioned performance by Chol exploring the underground Bhangra scene of the 1990s and 2000s Free. Booking recommended. 


Sun 17 Sep, 16:00

Join a family-friendly celebration of Jamaican music, dance and good vibes! Featuring Marshall, Positive and Dee Bo General spinning a musical selection of ska, rocksteady, reggae and roots! Playing strictly vinyl in the traditional one-deck style, powered by Zion Inna Vision Sound System. Free and open to all at Huddersfield Open Market.

John Tams & Jez Lowe and The Bad Pennies Cleckheaton Folk Festival Autumn Concert

Sunday 24 September 

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.  


Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 September 

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.

Volume UP

Every Monday from 2 October – 27 November, 1.00 – 17.00

The Watershed, Slaithwaite

An 8-week creative development course aimed at 16–25-year old's

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 14 November, Smile Bar and Venue, 16.00 – 21.00

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. 


Friday 17 – 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.

hcmf// presents: Personhood

Fri 17 Nov, 19:30

Lawrence Batley Theatre, HD1 2SP

Exhibition: Jennifer Walshe

Sat 18 – Sat 25 Nov (11:00 – 16:00, closed Tue & Wed)

*open until 8pm on Thu 23 Nov

Huddersfield Art Gallery, HD1 2RS

hcmf// presents: AN GLÉACHT

Mon 20 Nov, 18.00

Phipps Hall, University of Huddersfield, HD1 3DH

hcmf// presents: Natalia Beylis

Thu 23 Nov, 21:00

Bates Mill Photographic Studio, HD1 3ES

hcmf// presents: Ireland: A Dataset 

Fri 24 Nov, 21:30

Bates Mill Blending Shed, HD1 3ES

hcmf// presents: Matmos + Jennifer Walshe

Sat 25 Nov, 21:30

Bates Mill Blending Shed, HD1 3ES 

hcmf// presents: Riot Ensemble

Sun 26 Nov, 19:00

Bates Mill Blending Shed, HD1 3ES


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

Find out more:


Notes to editors 

About Kirklees Year of Music 2023 (KYOMO23)

Kirklees Year of Music in 2023, is a unique, place-based, cultural change programme initiated and led by Kirklees Council, part of the wider cultural offer in the region of West Yorkshire from 2023 to 2025.  This year is designated as a Year of Music for the district and, through investment in the district’s diverse music talent, communities and businesses, the year-long programme of events and projects, will strengthen the music ecology of Kirklees from its roots.  

2023 will celebrate the richness and diversity of Kirklees music heritage, the music created and performed today, and the ambition for the future, inclusive of all music genres, all communities and in all forms. 

Kirklees is a place where everyone can hear world class music through festivals and programming; where children and young people have access to high quality musical experiences and education; and where the next generation of musicians and music professionals can build and sustain a high-quality career, with access to the very best industry advice, career opportunities and performance routes.

@musicinkirklees  | #kyom23 |