First Direct Arena to host 2017 MOBO Awards 

Organisers of the MOBO Awards, one of the biggest music events on the calendar, have announced it will return to Leeds’ First Direct Arena in November.

After first being held in the city in 2015, the star-studded event that celebrates the best in urban music will head back to Leeds for the 2017 edition.

First Direct Arena, a 13,500-capacity entertainment-focused venue, officially opened its doors in 2013 with a performance from Sir Elton John, and has since hosted concerts from top acts such as Kaiser Chiefs, Rod Stewart, Status Quo and Depeche Mode.

According to the BBC, Leeds City Council has estimated that hosting the 2015 MOBO Awards brought in £1.35m to the local economy through ticket sales and hotel bookings.

The 2015 event welcomed acts such as FKA twigs, Ella Eyre and CeeLo Green, with MOBO Awards founder Kanya King promising “another exciting celebration.”

The line-up of artists for the 22nd annual event has not yet been revealed, though organisers have said it will be revealed in the coming weeks, with tickets going on sale on Friday.

London, Liverpool and Glasgow have also previously hosted the awards, with the 2016 ceremony in the latter city hosting stars such as Craig David, Kano and Lady Leshurr.

Leeds City Councillor Judith Blake said: “It is hugely important that as we bid for European Capital Culture we find every opportunity to showcase the cultural diversity of the city on an international stage and MOBO Awards is a fantastic platform for this.”

King said, according to the ITV news website: “We are truly excited to return to Leeds – we had an amazing experience here two years ago thanks to all our partners and a very enthusiastic and welcoming audience. I still have people coming up to me saying what an electrifying show it was. Looking at the list of musical talent this year, it promises to be another exciting celebration of the best in urban music”.

The MOBO Organisation was founded in 1996 to champion urban music genres in the mainstream music industry, such as R&B, soul, hip hop, jazz, gospel, garage, reggae, grime and African music.

Image: John Seb Barber