Folk music fills the Howard Assembly Room later this month as the venue hosts Lau-Land, the beloved weekend festival curated by visionary alt-folk trio Lau. From Friday 17 – Sunday 19 May, audiences can experience and take part in a host of different events, from exhilarating live performances to workshops with the musicians, and even a family-friendly ceilidh.

Book now

Jesca Hoop

Jesca Hoop kickstarts the celebrations with a welcome return to the Howard Assembly Room on the evening of Friday 17 May. California-born Hoop was discovered by Tom Waits and toured as a singer in Peter Gabriel’s band before moving to the UK, following a call from Elbow’s Guy Garvey. Her critically-acclaimed latest album, Order of Romance, is described by her record label as ‘ultimately an exploration of the endless balancing act of being a human being’, examining everything from empathy and friendship to gun control and climate change.

Jesca joins forces with Lau in a one-off collaboration, as they take to the stage to open the festival together.

Jesca Hoop

Workshops with Lau

On Saturday 18 May, keen musicians get the chance to learn from and make music with the professionals, as Lau’s band members run a series of participatory workshops from mid-morning to early afternoon at the Howard Opera Centre, Opera North’s home in the heart of Leeds.

Aidan O’Rourke’s Fiddle Workshop helps intermediate to advanced players fine tune their skills and find their flow, while Kris Drever asks participants to bring only ‘a guitar and your inquisitive nature’ to his Guitar Workshop. Accordionist Martin Green hosts a Mixed Instrument Workshop, where players of any instrument can learn more about composing traditional music and discover how Lau create their innovative arrangements.


Kris Drever, Lau's guitarist

Lau Unplugged

On Saturday evening, the band regroup at the Howard Assembly Room for Lau Unplugged: a pared-back exploration of re-arranged and re-created material from across their catalogue.

Weaving together influences from Scottish and Irish musical heritage, progressive art rock ideas and a playful sense of theatre, Lau’s music is born from the melting pot of Edinburgh’s turn-of-the-century trad scene. Here, they go back to basics – just voice, fiddle, guitar and accordion, and a 4-track tape recorder. With electronics, loops and wild effects stripped away, the band’s extraordinary passion and musicianship take centre stage.

Lau: Martin Green, Aidan O'Rourke and Kris Drever

A family ceilidh and an open session

The festivities continue in the Howard Assembly Room on the afternoon of Sunday 19 May, with a lively Family Ceilidh where everyone is welcome. York-based band FiddlersWreck lead plenty of fun, simple dances with explanations along the way, as well as a few for more experienced toe-tappers.

Afterwards, Lau round off the weekend with a laid-back, traditional music session in Kino, Opera North’s restaurant and bar on New Briggate. Audiences are welcome to enjoy a drink while listening to the music or, even better (for the musicians in the room), get involved and play along.

An afternoon of music and dancing closes the festival


Search our site