Don’t think indie is the right choice for you? Think again.

Leeds is home to a collective mix of unique independent venues. From the beating heart of the city centre to picturesque suburban locations, Leeds’ independent venues are a part of what makes the city’s conferencing offering so exceptional. 

When it comes to booking a conference in an independent venue, there’s often a misconception that independents are too small, have limited resources or have facilities that are below par to deliver a successful conference. Each of which is a myth. So, we’re here to tell you why an independent venue could be your next perfect conference host.

One size doesn’t fit all

The one great thing about independent venues is that their offering is varied. 

Designed to inspire collaboration, creativity, and innovation, independent venues deliver results that are mighty, no matter their size. Testament to this is the variety of independent venues that Leeds has to offer which combine their unique presence with a dynamic and creative space, from Leeds Playhouse to Leeds Conservatoire, and Duke to Aspire. What’s more, an independent venue has the autonomy to create bespoke packages to suit their clients exact needs and have the flexibility to tailor their offering for an event that delivers.

When it comes to size, the city’s independent venues have this covered. Looking for an intimate venue for a small number of delegates? They do that. Looking to host hundreds for a stand out event? They do that too! 

When Looking at an independent venue, you’re in good company

There are a host of big brands who are recognising the power of indies in Leeds, including Unilever, Kelloggs and Hallmark who flocked to Duke Studios, a cafe, bar and multifunctional event space that offers collaborative work spaces, desk rentals, virtual offices and meeting and event spaces. And then there is Horizon Leeds which has hosted the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and The NHS National Institute for Health Research, as well as Leeds Conservatoire which has hosted the Royal Television Society. These are just to name a few, but if large reputable organisations are choosing independents in Leeds, then why wouldn’t you?

David Stenhouse, CEO at John Schofield Trust commented on his event at Leeds Conservatoire: “Thank you so much for making our event last night such a success. You and your team are brilliant- please pass on our thanks to them. I hope we will be able to make it an annual fixture….”

Award winning venues 

Not only are Leeds’ independent venues autonomous, but they’re advanced too. Who wouldn’t want to host a conference in a venue that can tailor to their needs and provide them with top spec facilities?

When it comes to the quality facilities that our independent venues can offer, you don’t have to take our word for it – our venues have won awards, and big ones too. Take Leeds Playhouse as an example, they invested £16m in a major redevelopment of its venue in 2018 and reopened in 2019 which led to winning the Theatre Building of the Year category at The Stage Awards in 2020, and have recently been announced as a finalist for the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre Award 2022. Horizon Leeds is another one to watch out for, as it was a previous winner of the CHS Award for Best Onsite Technology Offering, alongside the Best Onsite Audio Visual award. Not to mention The Thackray Museum of Medicine, which reopened in May 2021 after a £4 million refurbishment, and has since been awarded with a Visitor Attraction Accolade for Best Told Story by Visit England which highlights the high calibre and variety of visitor experiences available across the nation. 

Top tech to match

Under the roof of each of our independent venues, there’s a lot of first class facilities to be enjoyed. Catering to in-person and online events, independents certainly don’t shy away from modern technology. They have initiative too – take Horizon Leeds as an example. Due to an increased demand for online business events, they invested in their space and created a state-of-the-art broadcast studio, which was first used by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for their business event in 2020. Testament to its high end technology is the success of the event, which allowed all of their speakers to live present in a newsroom style environment and connect with their delegates both offline and online. They’re not the only ones with top-tech, with spaces like Duke Studios home to high end AV technology, including multi-camera live streaming options, 6k laser projection, and Pioneer Pro Audio equipment.

Exceptional service as standard

If we haven’t convinced you already, (which let’s be honest, we probably have), then this might just be the cherry on the cake. By now, you know there’s an indie venue for you in the city that can serve up a successful business event, but what about the service? From the moment you make your initial enquiry to the moment your conference closes its doors, an independent venue doesn’t fall short on exceptional service thanks to its dedicated team of people. Venues like Horizon Leeds endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 24 hours and the independent service offering is second to none, taking care of you and your delegates from the get-go. After all, it’s the people, the team, and the talent, that make an independent venue a success.

Providing a personalised experience to conference organisers, independent venues in Leeds thrive on supporting their clients. From planning a conference to executing it, an independent venue is there every step of the way. This applies to catering too. From canapé receptions to banquets, the food and drink offering is impeccable and can be designed to suit an intimate event or a large booking. 

Broadway House Chambers said: “I just wanted to say that we were absolutely delighted by the level of service that we received yesterday. The food was incredible, thestudio… staff were extremely helpful and the venue beautiful – fab decor and just felt like a warm comfortable place. The staff were so hardworking.. always had everything prepped and ready for our breaks and always seemed to be helping/cleaning/replenishing anything. A big shout to Sam who kept asking if we needed anything! We could not fault our experience yesterday in the slightest. Please do pass this onto management and I am happy to leave a public review somewhere if you can guide me to your desired platform. We would love to book again in future if you would have us!”

Taking the indie plunge

The thing about independent venues is that they’re unique, which means you won’t get a venue, facilities, or a service like it anywhere else. Choosing to host your conference at an independent venue isn’t just choosing somewhere to host an event, but creating unique experiences that your delegates will remember for years to come. To explore Leeds’ exceptional venue offering, visit the Conference Leeds website here.