November 2021 marks the 10 year anniversary of Compass Festival!

Since Compass Festival was established in 2011, we have consistently championed ambitious, inclusive artists and arts projects. Placing Live Art projects out in the city, free and open to all.

We are taking some time to reflect on all of the work that the Compass Team has achieved. Producing 5 festivals, commissioning 76 artists, reaching 67,000 audiences, training 12 Young Producers, creating over 150 partnerships and prioritising access and participation at the heart of our work.

Over the next few weeks we will be celebrating the artists we have worked with, our partners and our audiences.

“10 years of endlessly imaginative chance encounters across the city connecting 67,000 people. You hopped on boats, sat on the jury, danced in the streets and sweated in our sauna. Good on you Leeds!”
Co Director Annie Lloyd

Compass Festival Timeline:


The first ever Compass Festival takes place in November, interrupting people’s lives and spaces across the city over an intensive weekend. Creating a new experience of Live Art as open source, adventurous and uniquely accessible.


Compass Festival returns, this time as a much larger festival taking place over 10 days. With our first original commissions developed specifically for Leeds. We introduce our Young Producers Scheme.


Compass Festival 2016 takes 18 events into 11 different public settings, reaching over 10,000 people, 40% of whom are new to the arts.


Compass Festival 2018 breaks new records with 3 ambitious large-scale commissions and record attendance of 13,300. Compass Live Art becomes a charity.


Plans for November 2020 Compass Festival are stalled by Covid-19 and we re-imagine the programme as a slow festival throughout March – July 2021, we run our third Young Producers Scheme and produce a series of podcasts.

“It has been a wonderful 10 years, not without challenge and difficulty, the last two particularly so but I’m so proud of our team and what we have achieved. Thinking back to November 2011 we had very little beyond good ideas and the goodwill of contacts old and new around the city, hustling to get a radio orchestra into the museum and an interactive, biographical bakery into The Light shopping centre. Fast forward to this month and although some things have changed we’ve still got artists and their unique ideas at the heart of what we do. At the moment it’s all mushy peas, Caribbean feminine histories and a giant ear in the market. Keeping everything crossed we can bring you the 6th edition of Compass Festival in 2022. “
– Co Director, Peter Reed

Throughout the rest of November we will be sharing parts of the Festival Archive on our instagram account. As well as introducing our residency artists and the projects that they will be working on for Compass Festival 2022.