The Tour de France has certainly proved to be a big hitter for the arts over the last 100 days.
The first ever Yorkshire Festival 2014 captured the imaginations of artists and public alike, attracting over 750,000 people to 1,400 performances of the headline events which involved 7,000 participants and took place in the 100 days running up to Yorkshire’s Tour de France Grand Départ.
For the first time in its 111-year history, the Tour de France was preceded by a cultural festival, spanning 6,000 square miles of Yorkshire’s diverse landscape with a spectacular programme of events.
The 47 headline projects together with over 500 fringe events represented a broad range of art-forms – and a few new ones – including film, visual art, sculpture, land art, theatre, music, carnival, dance, architectural illumination, public art, craft and photography.
Yorkshire’s creative community found inspiration from the humble bicycle for an imaginative host of events. Highlights included the world’s first Ghost Peloton – a breath-taking collaboration between Phoenix Dance Theatre and NVA; the premiere of Velorama by award-winning documentary film director Daisy Asquith, screened in 10 dramatic outdoor locations across the county and The Grand Departs, which proved it takes 18 cyclists 3 hours 52 minutes to pull a grand piano, performed by 14 pianists, up Cragg Vale.
From rural reservoir to village green and city square, local communities embraced the Festival’s invitation to #bepartofit.
Public art brought a fresh perspective to grand civic settings. One of the most influential sculptors of his generation, Leeds-born artist Thomas Houseago produced a monumental new commission – his first for Yorkshire – for and inspired by the frenetic bustle of Leeds. In total contrast, at the heart of Kirklees Council’s Hypervelocity events was Le Phun’s working French farm that appeared overnight in Huddersfield’s main square, to the surprise of thousands of commuters.
Yorkshire Festival 2014 was the brainchild of Welcome to Yorkshire and received the backing of Yorkshire Water, Arts Council England and Yorkshire local authorities.
Henrietta Duckworth, Yorkshire Festival 2104 Executive Producer, said: “For the first time ever, Yorkshire Festival has achieved a unique union of our artists, our local authorities and our people in the pursuit of original creativity and celebration. Working with extraordinary artists in all corners of the county, inside and outdoors, we have danced and choreographed, made instruments and played music, written and spoken words, sculpted and crocheted, sewed and mowed, mined and smelted, shared stories and images with true Yorkshire Grit and offered to everyone with this county’s spirit of generosity.
“New artistic collaborations and new art-forms have been forged. New experiences and new visions created.”
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