Leeds’ summertime food and drinks festival Chow Down, located at the temple arches just outside of town has decided to close its doors after 3 years of running.
A week ago, Chow Down issued an official statement on the @chowdown Instagram account describing the effect that the cost-of-living crisis had on the business, and in turn how it couldn’t sustain itself. They described the main threat as being “Increases in all costs involved with running a temporary site”. Following this, they praised past events that the venue has seen, ranging from House DJs to their infamous Drag Brunches, as well as the variety of food trucks that have set up shop there. Chow Down for the past few years served a good purpose for Leeds, especially on that side of town.
We spoke to manager Nicole who described the purpose of the venue. “It started just after lockdown to be an outdoor venue, which met with the requirements”. This refers to Chow Down’s move to open during the 2020 lockdown, using table service as a COVID-friendly means of serving food. She went on to describe the place as having “no themes or rules”.
Supervisor, Jamie spoke on the location of the venue, saying that it “Brings people to a part of town they don’t usually come to, it’s a local spot for the flats surrounding which isn’t usually catered for round here”. When asked why we should miss chow down, he said “It was a unique space, combining music, food, drinks and activities all in one setting.
Chow Down was no stranger to food festivals alongside its events, hosting the likes of Braizin’ Squad, Bastards Bistro, and Torino Taco to name a few. Supervisor Cormac reminisced about “The taco and tequila festival”, describing it as “busy, loads of people, nice weather, nice vibe, and good music”. The team itself hope to return to temple arches with new ideas and plans. Until then, it’s worth popping in for one last dance, drink, or bite to eat. Manager Nicole would recommend the “chicken and flatbreads”.