The first ever Yorkshire Festival gets underway today as the official countdown to the Tour de France begins.
The next 100 days will see the world’s first Ghost Peloton, sculptures made and flown in from Los Angeles and a film premiere by award-winning director Daisy Asquith screened across the county. These are just some of nearly 50 spectacular commissions which will make up the first ever festival to precede the Tour de France in its 111 year history.
Yorkshire Festival 2014 will be officially launched at Welcome to Yorkshire’s Y14 in Harrogate and at Le Grand Départ 100 Days Dinner at Ripon Cathedral today, Thursday March 27. There, more than 2,000 guests will be given a flavour of the festival which will tap into Yorkshire’s rich cultural talents.
Among the first events to start the festival are two iconic stage productions: Jonathan Watkins’ unique dance production of Barry Hines’ Kes at the Crucible, Sheffield, and A Taste of Honey, Mark Babych’s directorial debut at Hull Truck Theatre on March 27.
Tour de Cinema’s world premiere of ‘Velorama’ by Daisy Asquith will be screened on March 28 at Bradford Cathedral. This will mark the start of 100 free screenings across the county in indoor and spectacular outdoor locations as part of Sheffield Doc/Fest.
Daisy said: “Velorama has been a lovely, cheeky, heartwarming film to make and I hope it will inspire many people to get back on their bicycles and get back that feeling of freedom and joy that they had the first time they free-wheeled downhill. The footage spans over a hundred years and includes everything from bicycles being built to animals on bikes, love stories, working bicycles, races through the Yorkshire dales, and even a brave woman cycling a pedalo across the English Channel!”
Everyone is invited to get involved in the festival through a variety of creative workshops now starting across the county – whether it’s learning how to mine, smelt, design and forge a bike in the Sheffield Steel Peloton, liberating your imagination through the spoken word in True Grit Digital Poetry, crocheting for the Woolly Bike Trail or exercising vocal chords in Cheer-Sing.
Give your bike a makeover for the Handmade Parade; donate your earliest bike memories to Bike Story or join a band and sing the Festival Song as part of the Tour of Infinite Possibility. Schools can also get in on the action by downloading free resources devised by CapeUK.
The first major outdoor commission will be The Grand Departs on April 5, an epic musical and cycling challenge to pull a grand piano by bicycle up Cragg Vale. Fifteen musicians will play specially composed ‘Piano Cycle’ by Dave Nelson while the piano is pulled by Andy Plant’s new invention The PianoPorté. The event is organised by Hebden Bridge Piano Festival and Imove. This will be followed by Theater Tol’s Luce on April 12, a spectacular outdoor event in Dewsbury.
Henrietta Duckworth, the festival’s Executive Producer, said: “All 47 headline Yorkshire Festival projects as well as hundreds of Fringe events, are ready to reveal a myriad of opportunities, across all artforms for fun, invention and festivities for all ages. And, inspired by Le Tour, the largest free annual sporting event in the world, the majority of Yorkshire Festival’s programme is free to access. Everyone is invited to this party – log on, book in, bring your picnic and come and be part of it! ”
The festival has been backed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who said: “I am delighted to continue supporting the Yorkshire Festival 2014, the first ever arts festival to mark 100 days to go until the Tour de France. This is a great opportunity to showcase Yorkshire’s unique culture and boost local businesses as we gear up for the Grand Départ, which will bring in millions of pounds of investment to the region. I’m looking forward to lending a hand to the Sheffield Steel Peloton as part of the festival and I hope as many people as possible will get involved so we can show the rest of the world what Yorkshire is all about.”
Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Yorkshire Festival 2014 is about to get the county charged with excitement for the next 100 days as we get ready to welcome the Tour de France. We’d encourage everyone to get into the spirit and be part of this incredible time for Yorkshire!”
Richard Flint, Chief Executive of Kelda Group and Yorkshire Water, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in this once in a lifetime festival and hope our millions of customers take advantage of some of the 47 fantastic events taking place over the next 100 days.”
“The Yorkshire Festival will showcase the very best that our region has to offer, including some stunning scenery, and we look forward to helping to make the build-up to the Grand Départ a wonderful celebration.”
Sarah Maxfield, Area Director North, Arts Council England said: “I’m very much looking forward to seeing some of the exciting events during the Yorkshire Festival. The festival will highlight the strength and depth of art and culture throughout the county to a huge number of visitors over the next few months as well as celebrate the vigour and ambition of the sector.”
Cllr Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council, which has co-ordinated local authority support for the festival said: “There is a wonderfully diverse range of events across Yorkshire during the 100 days. This is our chance to show the world some examples of the creative spirit of our region – but at the same time, gives us all a chance to enjoy the build of excitement across Yorkshire throughout the 100 days leading up to the Tour de France. Our council has been delighted to have the chance to coordinate support for the festival and we know thousands of people are going to enjoy taking part”.
Yorkshire Festival 2014 is the brainchild of Welcome to Yorkshire and has been backed by Yorkshire Water, Arts Council England and Yorkshire local authorities. Out of almost 400 bids, 47 projects were commissioned to be officially part of the 100-day festival – which will also include hundreds of fringe events.
Visit www.yorkshirefestival.co.uk, Yorkshire Festival on Facebook or follow Yorkshire Festival 2014 on Twitter – @YFest2014
Thursday 27th March 2014