Written by Sophie Kelsall
On Friday 24th May, Leeds will once again host the Indie Banquet: a spectacular mash-up of street food and live music founded by Leeds-based live music promotor, Pizza for the People. The aim of Pizza for the People is to provide a platform for upcoming and newly established talent. Now on their 13th Indie Banquet, held at Wharf Chambers in Leeds, this well-established event has showcased a large number of local bands and has been a useful stepping stone for putting these bands on the musical map. These events offer a unique opportunity to enjoy the chilled atmosphere of a festival, without the need for wellies and a tent.
Some of the bands up on the roster this year include: Trudy and the Romance, Ugly, L.A Peach and Celestial Green. VFC and OWT will also be on site to provide some tempting treats to suit all tastes, along with a number of other local vendors. These events are an incredible opportunity for the local community to come together and support homegrown talent.
After the first Indie Banquet in 2016, the events have only gotten bigger and better, with large numbers of bands now wanting to get involved. Julia King is one half of the brains behind Pizza for the People. With over two and a half years’ worth of experience in co-ordinating gigs alongside promoting street food vendors, Julia was able to share some of her knowledge and insight on event organising with us.
How did the idea for Pizza for the People come about?
The concept of Pizza for the People arose from a mutual love of live music, festivals and food between me and my partner Ryan (the other half of Pizza for the People) and a lightbulb moment in early 2016 when we realised that there wasn’t an existing forum in Leeds and surrounding areas where you can watch live music whilst stuffing your face, like you tend to do at a festival. Our name (Pizza for the People) naturally formed from our love for pizza (!) but equally an appetite for blending our two passions: music and food and giving audiences, bands, independent venues and street food traders an opportunity to come together.
How has your role changed since the conception of the event?
Prior to forming Pizza for the People, my partner and I had attended countless gigs and festivals but had never managed an event before, so we knew it’d be a learning curve. We researched the market, listened and learned from fellow promotors and immersed ourselves in learning about the music and gigging industry, ahead of putting our first Indie Banquet gig on in October 2016. I’d say our roles have not necessarily changed but have evolved over the past two and half years as we’ve become more experienced and confident of what works and what doesn’t. Equally, we’ve become clearer over time as to what skills we bring to planning, designing, curating and delivering our Indie Banquet shows.
How much has the event grown over the years?
Now on our 13th Indie Banquet, the event has developed a really core audience over time and one that we really appreciate. We’ve worked with a large number of bands, some of which have come back to play for us again. In terms of growth, we’ve worked with a number of different independent venues such as Wharf Chambers, Hyde Park Book Club, Duke Studios and Brudenell Social Club and equally with a number of incredible street food traders such as Pizza Fella, Goldenballs, Dilla Deli, Little Bao Boy, VFC and cannot wait to welcome OWT to our Indie Banquet on Friday 24th May, serving up a seasonal mystery menu.
How important are events like these for getting Northern talent noticed?
I think events like these are incredibly important for getting Northern talent noticed and on the map. The music industry is an incredibly challenging one these days to make a living from, despite it being more accessible, so we think it’s important to not only showcase the really raw and incredible talent across the North but also make sure that bands are paid, treated well and given the praise they deserve at our gigs. Ethics and integrity are absolutely key to Pizza for the People. We’ve seen some really successful stories since our inception, having watched folks like The Orielles (who played our 2nd Indie Banquet) and Drahla (who played our 1st Indie Banquet birthday) blossom. It’s such a lovely feeling to watch all of their journeys.
What is your favourite part of organising these events?
That’s a really good but tricky question! For me, I think it’s two-fold. (A) Designing the line-up and finding new and super exciting artists to work with and (B) The gig itself. Watching everything come together on the night is a wonderful feeling.
Who can attend PFTP?
Indie Banquets are open to all (over the age of 18). Those who are avid gig-goers, those who love discovering new street food traders, those who like music but are open to discovering new music and new bands. Everyone’s a winner!
What can new attendees expect on the night?
New attendees can expect a tasty, tailored menu of scrummy food washed down with a cocktail of superb bands in a quirky, intimate venue.
How can bands and food traders get involved?
Bands and street food traders can contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or via social media (#weallwantpizza) if they’re interested in playing or serving up delights at future Indie Banquets.