Kirklees Year of Music 2023 Announces its Inclusive and Enriching March and April Programme

Kirklees Year of Music 2023 (KYOM23) is proud to announce its March and April programme with an exciting line-up of events. KYOM23 celebrates the rich musical heritage of Kirklees and showcases the talent of local artists. From the Huddersfield Literature Festival, which has embraced music as a theme this year, to the Platform artists showcase, where local talent will be launched to the industry.

Kirklees Council and the local musical community are partnering for KYOM23 to celebrate the area's rich musical identity and promote new music from towns and villages around Huddersfield, Dewsbury, and the Holme, Spen and Colne Valleys. KYOM23 continues to create high-quality music experiences and education for children and young people, as well as career opportunities and performance routes for the next generation of music professionals. Music is at the heart of the area's culture and communities.

KYOM23 is made up of diverse strands including Music Industry, supporting careers, Health and Wellbeing, healing through music and Learning upskilling those in education and providing opportunities for young people to play, enjoy and hear music. Throughout the year these strands will work together to create an inclusive calendar for all to be entertained and inspired with the vibrant musical culture of Kirklees.

Highlights in March and April include:

  • 12 March: Huddersfield St. Patrick's Day Parade Celebration – This year, The Parade is back in St. George's Square and will include: traditional Irish music and dance, bar and food vendors, and a display of 'come and have a go' Gaelic Football!
  • 23 March – 2 April: Huddersfield Literature Festival the 10-day annual festival featuring a blended mix of 50+ digital, outdoor, and venue-based events held online and in accessible spaces around Huddersfield. In 2023, the festival's theme is "Music," with a dedicated series of events to tie in with KYOM23
  • 25 March: Dougie MacLean presented by Cleckheaton Folk FestivalDougie MacLean OBE will perform at Batley Town Hall in the first of the series of one-off Spring Concerts specially programmed by Cleckheaton Folk Festival celebrating KYOM23
  • 20 March:Lunchtime Organ Concert: Thomas Trotter – As part of Kirklees Concert Season, at Huddersfield Town Hall. Thomas Trotter, the celebrated City of Birmingham Organist, treats us to a dazzling recital, including selections from Ligeti’s rarely-heard Musica Ricercarta, marking the centenary of his birth
  • Throughout the year: Creative Minds–part of the Health and Wellbeing strand. KYOM23 has partnered with Creative Minds, a local NHS charity, to fund 16 music-related projects for the Health and Wellbeing strand local not-for-profit organisations. This will facilitate projects for people of all ages across Kirklees including festival workshops and a new choir for South Asian women. The commissioned organizations include Holmfirth Arts Festival, Yorkshire Youth & Music, Northorpe Hall Child & Family Trust, Huddersfield Mission, Lawrence Batley Theatre, The Watershed, Be More Outdoors in Slaithwaite, Murkika, Shabang, Aspire Voices, Chol Theatre, and The Children's Art School.
  • 16 March: I Know a Place, Small Seeds –KYOM23 has invited Come Play With Me to put together a panel of music industry professionals to talk about their experiences on building their careers in the industry. With special guests from across the industry, including musicians, promoters, technologist and venue staff, the event will help find your place. All are welcome but especially welcome women, non-binary, LGBQT and minorities.
  • 13 March: TOWNSOUNDS – the latest instalment of the Kirklees oral histories podcast by singer-song writer Sam Hodgson will explore the rock and roll heritage of the district told by musicians and communities. Episode 1 and 2 are out now and available wherever you get your podcasts
  • 26 & 27 April: Platform – international artists showcase – Part of the Music Industry strand, Platform will showcase eight Kirklees based artists featuring performances for buyers and panels about breaking into the industry at the Lawrence Batley Theatre 
  • Throughout the year: Music of Tomorrow – Launching on 14 March, this project for 16-25-year-olds is managed by Yorkshire Youth & Music.

Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Yorkshire Youth & Music to deliver the Music of Tomorrow programme. This year-long project will create opportunities for young people aged 16 to 25, to get involved in all aspects of music, whether that’s putting on events, producing tracks, learning DJ skills, making podcasts or creating content for social media. We can’t wait to see what our future musicians and creators come up with.” 

Other events taking place in March and April include:

  • Various dates March – April: Cultures of Sound – presented by University of Huddersfield’s School of Arts and Humanities’, showcasing innovative collaborations and boundary-pushing experiments in sound undertaken by University researchers and staff. Events include:

o   13 March: Measuring Sonority and Identity in Pop Music Singing Styles workshop – Join Linguistics PhD candidate Ryan Gibson in a workshop exploring identity and authenticity in pop music singing styles. Singers of all abilities will take part, measuring their stylistic choices through karaoke-style music videos at the University of Huddersfield

o   16 March: Electric Sufi – led by singer Sahrah, instrumentalist Mina Salama, and producer Professor Chill, Electric Sufi draws on ancient spiritual traditions to create music that aims to inspire audiences to engage with environmental issues. A concert by Electric Sufi will be followed by an optional masterclass workshop for students and members of the public

o   19 – 24 March: Sonic Palette Residency: Sabiwa SABIWA, an experimental electronic producer and performer from 未知, collaborates with a.m.e for the Sonic Palette program. The program brings international sound artists to Huddersfield to create new work inspired by the area and its connection with research in the School of Arts and Humanities

  • Various dates March – April: Kirklees Concert SeasonThe Kirklees Concert Series, in partnership with Opera North, continues with events at Dewsbury and Huddersfield Town Halls including four lunchtime Organ concerts
  • Various dates in March: Music for wellbeing workshops in Dewsbury and Huddersfield - Hoot creative arts are hosting regular music workshops throughout March exploring music-making and song writing for wellbeing. Part of KYOM23’s health and wellbeing strand, the workshops are free and open to all adults over 18 living in Kirklees, with no musical experience necessary
  • 4 - 5 MarchYorkshire Brass Band Championships Huddersfield Town Hall Competing sections Fourth, First and Second take place on the Saturday with the Third and Championship sections taking place on the Sunday
  • 4 March – 22 April: Brass Bands: History and Culture– This exhibition at Heritage Quay explores the history and present of the brass band movement in Britain, showcasing objects from a new collection to learn about the bands, individuals, and national organisations that shaped the movement since the nineteenth century.

Looking forward to June, from Pub to Pulpit will explore the rich history of music-making in Kirklees' pubs and chapels. It will uncover stories of choirs, bands and solo performers as hundreds of singers will be invited to raise the roof at a rousing concert at Huddersfield Town Hall on 8 June. This will celebrate Ralph Vaughan Williams, a well-known collector of music who borrowed folk songs he collected from labourers around the country for the tunes of some of the best hymns in the 1906 English Hymnal he edited.

Classical, choral and folk music will all be brought together, and musicians will turn folk songs into hymns in this unique event that is touring twenty Cathedrals, Churches and Significant Venues. It has been picked as a highlight of the Vaughan Williams 150th anniversary year by The Times; The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.

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 over the coming three years.  2023 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 | #kirkleesyearofmusic | #YearOfMusic2023 | #kyom23 |

Huddersfield Literature Festival 

Huddersfield Literature Festival is an annual celebration of the written and spoken word, featuring a programme of events and activities for all ages. The festival is a key cultural event in Kirklees, attracting local and national authors, poets and speakers, as well as audiences from across the region. As part of Kirklees Year of Music 2023, the festival will showcase the area's rich musical heritage alongside its literary traditions, with a programme of events that explore the connections between music and literature. The festival seeks to promote literacy, creativity and cultural diversity, and is excited to be part of the year-long celebration of music in Kirklees.  

Creative Minds

Creative Minds is an award-winning NHS charity, based in Kirklees and hosted by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust that uses the arts to improve mental health and wellbeing.  Creative Minds is a charity that integrates creativity and the arts into mainstream health and wellbeing practice. Since its launch in November 2011, Creative Minds has enabled over 500 projects inside and outside of NHS services, and facilitated over 100 sports events. Creative Minds delivers and runs projects for local people, to develop individuals’ and communities’ mental, physical and psychological wellbeing.

As a key partner of KYOM23's Health & Wellbeing strand, Creative Minds has teamed up with KYOM23 to fund a range of musical projects, supporting sixteen local not-for-profit organizations to provide music-related activities in 2023

Yorkshire Youth & Music (YY&M)

YY&M is a community music and arts education company working across the whole of Yorkshire that creates music-making opportunities that change the lives of children and young people in very challenging circumstances across the region, including: children with special education needs, young people in Youth Justice settings and children with disabilities.

YY&M works in partnership with schools, music services, community groups and other organisations and institutions who provide support and services to young people. Funded by Youth Music, Arts Council England, Children in Need, and a variety of local Trusts and Foundations and by kind donations from individuals.

YY&M follows young people’s own musical aspirations and employs the very best, multi-skilled music practitioners on projects and also offers training and support to adults who work with children and young people in a variety of settings and circumstances.