First-Ever Yorkshire Festival Celebrates 100 Amazing 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 include 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. Significant new plays were created for the stage - Bike Story, written by Mike Kenny, inspired by over 100 stories submitted by the general public and Beryl, Maxine Peake's stage-writing debut.
From rural reservoir to village green and city square, local communities embraced the Festival's invitation to #bepartofit. Local people took part in rehearsal, performance and all manner of quirky crafting, including a Woolly Bike Trail, Fantastical Cycle Parade, Really Big Sing and an exhibition of Bicyclism. Fields of Vision, a 65-mile trail of 12 land art works, was created in a collaboration between artists, members of the Young Farmers, scientists, cyclists, children, farmers and landowners. Over 1,300 people attended 100 workshops - six times more than originally expected - to be part of Hope & Social with Grassington Festival's Tour of Infinite Possibility, a band that anyone could join which performed of the official Festival song The Big Wide at the Opening Ceremony.
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 & choreographed, made instruments & played music, written & spoken words, sculpted & crocheted, sowed & 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. Now the peloton has passed, the experiences of Yorkshire Festival are the images and sensations, the smiles and emotions, which will last forever in our memories."
Gary Verity, Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive said: "Yorkshire Festival 2014 truly fired the county with excitement for one hundred days ahead of the Grand Départ. We have been overwhelmed by the way the people of Yorkshire have taken the festival to their hearts. The sheer number of people who came to watch, take part and support the projects is testament to the spirit of communities across the county who have all played their part in helping us deliver our pledge to make this a Grand Départ to go down in history."
Richard Flint, Yorkshire Water Chief Executive, said: "We knew the Yorkshire Festival would be something special for the region and all of the local communities have played their part to put on a wonderful 100 days. We've had the drama of the piano pull up Cragg Vale, the spectacular display of the Ghost Peloton and the transformation of some of Yorkshire's finest landscape, including two of our reservoirs, as part of Fields of Vision. We're immensely proud as a company to have helped bring this fantastic once in a lifetime festival to the region."
Pete Massey, Acting Director North, Arts Council England said: "The Yorkshire Festival 2014 was a hugely ambitious undertaking which Arts Council England is proud to have supported. The breadth and quality of what has been on offer is hugely impressive and hundreds of thousands of people have had chance to experience the very best of Yorkshire arts and culture. I was particularly impressed with The Tour of Infinite Possibility and the band that anyone could join and was delighted to see them opening the Team Presentation in Leeds the other night. Beryl by Maxine Peake at the West Yorkshire Playhouse is a triumph and Le Phun - the magical French farm that appeared overnight in Huddersfield - is a genuine delight. Everyone who has been part of making this terrific festival happen should be immensely proud."
Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift said: "On behalf of local authorities in Yorkshire, we are delighted by the success of Yorkshire Festival 2014 and the way that it has inspired communities to embrace the Grand Depart. Calderdale Council is pleased to have coordinated local authority support for this high quality programme of culture. For 100 days, ambitious, imaginative and inspiring art has brought fantastic opportunities for our communities and visitors to be part of something very special. The festival has brought people together across the region in towns, cities and the countryside to celebrate creativity and the Tour de France."