Kirklees Year of Music 2023 (KYOM23) gets underway with an exciting programme of musical moments in January and February including a variety of live performances, a special podcast series, and the chance for local artists to sign up for a special showcase later this year. 

Led by Kirklees Council in partnership with their local musical community KYOM23 will celebrate the areas rich musical heritage. As well as promoting the growth of new music that can be heard proudly playing from the towns and villages around Huddersfield, Dewsbury and the Holme, Spen and Colne Valleys.

KYOM23 celebrates that Kirklees is a place where everyone can hear world class music. Where children and young people have access to high quality musical experiences and education. And where the next generation of music professionals can build and sustain a high-quality career. A career with access to the very best industry advice, opportunities and performance routes. Music is the beat of the area’s heart, the sound of its communities, and the pulse of its towns and villages.

Speaking about the year ahead, Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council said: “I’m thrilled that Kirklees Year of Music is now underway. I’m particularly looking forward to welcoming musicians and audiences to our first free, pop-up event in Dewsbury on 21 January. It’s just the start of many great events to come across the whole of Kirklees.  We have such an incredible, rich talented and diverse music community that there really will be something for everyone to get involved in.”

KYOM23 will kick off with a range of events, activities and participation opportunities, to raise the profile of music in Kirklees, support the local music community and showcase the diverse genres of music coming out of the region. Highlights include:

  • 21 Jan: Dewsbury Music Moment–These free pop up music performances in Dewsbury Bus Station include sets from Dewsbury Community Choir, Simon Walker and Grange Moor Brass Band. The event gives locals the opportunity to share what music events and activities they would like to see in Dewsbury throughout 2023 and beyond all whilst enjoying live performance
  • 30 Jan - 5 Feb:Independent Venue Week – Independent Venue Week will celebrate its 10th anniversary and KYOM23 is funding a series of diverse events across the region. There is something for everyone, from live jazz and dub to talks and even couples’ yoga!
  • Monthly: the TOWNSOUNDS podcast series– In association with Let’s Go Yorkshire, a specially-commissioned series of 12 podcasts created especially for KYOM23. Hosted by musician Sam Hodgson, the series will explore Kirklees’ rich musical heritage – past and present – charting how music-making is at the heart of the community and in Kirklees’ DNA. Episode 1 explores the rich history of music festivals in Kirklees

Looking forward, in April KYOM23 is working with Music Cities Events to run an international exchange programme the Artist Exchange Showcase as part of its Music Industry strand. Kirklees musicians and bands are invited to apply to an open call, that closes at midnight on the 5th February 2023. The selected artists will have the chance to perform at a showcase event broadcast to international buyers made up of festival organisers, tour and concert organisers, record label managers and artist managers.The call is looking for ready to market artists or bands who write and perform their own material, providing an incredible opportunity to build contacts. You can apply here.

This Summer, KYOM23 will also include HERD, a major new project devised by composer Orlando Gough and produced by Artichoke as part of Kirklees Year of Music taking place 11-16 July 2023. The vibrant, musical soundscape and major participatory project traces the cultural and industrial story of Kirklees, through its multicultural musical traditions, broadcast by a specially-crafted flock of oversized sheep sculptures wired for sound. 

HERD is devised and directed by Orlando Gough, working with Charlie Morrissey, Dave Young, Sebastian Frost, and John Del’Nero, in collaboration with Hardeep Sahota, Mandeep Samra and the communities of Kirklees. 

Other events taking place in January and February include:

  • 16 Jan – 26 Feb: Music at Heritage Quay exhibition– From hand bell ringing to experimental jazz, the collections at Heritage Quay offer a wealth of insight into music-making, both locally and nationally. In the first of six exhibitions organised specially for the KYOM23, find out more about the music collections and the stories they contain.
  • w/c 16 Jan: Sound Identities launch–If you could describe Kirklees through a piece of music, what would you choose? KYOM23 commissioned seven artists to create a new piece of original music that represents what Kirklees means to them. Inspired by their environment and communities, each musician brings a different side of Kirklees to life spanning seven different genres from Folk to Bhangra, Brass to Rock. 
  • Begins 16 Jan: Kirklees Concert Season– This is a unique partnership between Kirklees Council and Opera North in which the Orchestra of Opera North brings world class music to Kirklees with its sumptuous orchestral concerts and uplifting chamber concerts held at Dewsbury Town Hall and Huddersfield Town Hall.18 Jan: Business & Employment Skills Webinar – Whether you are just starting out or have been running your business for years, this free webinar provides support for businesses of all sizes, sectors and stages of development and highlight the range of support on offer including business planning, mentoring and advice on accessing new markets.
  • 26 Jan Opera North – The blazing energy and beautiful melodies of Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto fill the Huddersfield Town Hall as Moscow-born Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg returns to the Orchestra of Opera North following his triumphant Huddersfield performance of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto.
  • 31 Jan Speak our Music, free wellbeing sessions for musicians– This free session will be hosted by West-Yorkshire based alternative rapper, producer and rap workshop facilitator Wilko Wilkes. In this engaging and inspiring evening of non-judgmental discussions about mental health and music, witness live rap from Wilko before taking part in an open creative writing session with the option to take the mic to perform to a supportive audience.
  • 15 – 18 Feb Electric Spring– Electric Spring is back with the 2023 edition of the free festival of electronic music at the University of Huddersfield and dai Hall
  • 5 – 25 Feb Mrs Sunderland Festival– With over 4000 performers, The Huddersfield festival will host Instrumental, vocal, choirs, musical theatre, speech and drama classes for all ages and abilities are complemented by a series of workshops for adult singers, special needs schools, key stage two schools, music for the brain and toddler workshops.

KYOM23 will also have a dedicated learning programme including Continuous Professional Development & Learning for music educators. Alongside, new Kirklees-specific learning resources with music heritage lessons and music practice resources. There will also be opportunities for pupils, teachers and communities to experience live performances, and the chance to learn to sing and play an instrument.

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 |

About Artichoke

Founded in 2005, Artichoke is one of the UK’s leading creative companies and a registered charity, and is part of Art Council England’s National Portfolio. The company’s aim is to work with artists to create unique, large-scale experiences that appeal to the widest possible audience and to use art to disrupt the everyday to create a new kind of world that we’d all like to live in. They believe the arts should not take place behind the closed doors of theatres, concert halls or galleries. Instead, they work in the street, public squares, along the coast and in the countryside across the UK, bringing communities together through learning and participation work leaving a legacy of skills and new-found potential behind. | @artichoketrust |