Salvation Army keeps music fans refreshed at Leeds Festival

published on 24 Aug 2023

Leeds Festival 2022
At Leeds Festival last summer

Festival goers will be offered affordable refreshments and pastoral support at Leeds Festival this weekend thanks to a team of Salvation Army volunteers.

The church and charity is a regular attendee at the festival, which runs from Thursday 24 August until Sunday 27 in Bramham Park, and will feature big name music acts like Billie Eilish, Sam Fender and Lewis Capaldi.

Around 55 volunteers from Leeds Central church and those connected with the corps will provide round-the-clock support for music fans from the Emergency Response Vehicle. 

Leeds Festival 2022
The festival in 2022

Major Michael Barker, who leads Leeds Central church with his wife Nicola, said: “We’re gearing up for a busy few days at Leeds Festival providing, hot drinks, porridge, pot noodles and our now famous soup and roll to festival goers. Festivals are expensive so we keep our prices affordable and any profits made go back into helping people in the community via our Leeds church.

“Last year we provided around 14,000 hot drinks with bread rolls or biscuits, and we know especially with the cost of living that our presence was appreciated.

“It’s not only about providing refreshments though, people feel comforted when they see The Sally Army’s red shield, especially if they are feeling a bit overwhelmed or anxious and just want somewhere to take a breather. We are there 24/7 providing a friendly face and calm environment, as well as signposting people if they need further support. It’s an amazing opportunity for ministry with many varied conversations taking place.

Leeds Festival 2022
The festival last year

“We want to thank all of our volunteers who support us at these events. They range in age from 18 to 82 and sign up to do eight-hour shifts including overnight! We couldn’t do it without them.”  

This will be the 12th year that The Salvation Army has had a presence at Leeds Festival. In Reading, The Salvation Army has been attending the sister festival there since 1971 and offering a similar service.

As in previous years, they will be located in Traders Alley just opposite blue campsite.

Salvation Army officer having a cup of tea with a service user

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