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The 100 day arts festival to precede the Tour de France is announced

  • Date: 29 January 2014
  • Area: North
Launch of Yorkshire Festival 2014

Launch of Yorkshire Festival 2014. Credit: Alex Whitehead

The Yorkshire Festival 2014, a 100-day arts and cultural festival which will precede the Tour de France for the first time in its 111 year history, was launched in Leeds on Wednesday 29 January.

47 projects have been commissioned to be officially part of the festival, which runs from 27 March to 6 July, and there will also be hundreds of fringe events. The Arts Council has funded the festival with a grant of nearly £1 million alongside other supporters Yorkshire Water and Yorkshire local authorities. The festival will be run by Welcome to Yorkshire.

Henrietta Duckworth, the festival's Executive Producer, said: 'Today we wanted to give people a flavour of this brand new arts festival - Yorkshire's a big wide county and we've worked with our world-class artists to create a rich and diverse programme of opportunities and surprises. It's a first for the Grand Départ and a festival of free events across all artforms. We invite everyone to explore the new, celebrate together and be part of it.'

Los Angeles-based sculptor Thomas Houseago, from Leeds, will create two giant sculptures for Leeds city centre and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. These will be his first commissions for his home county and the first ever commissions to be made by the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle.

Other highlights include Ghost Peloton which incorporates a riding team of 50 road racers, stunt cyclists and large-scale projection of dancers all utilising unique remote controlled light suits to produce a stunning live choreography and will be led by Phoenix Dance Theatre and Scottish public arts charity NVA.

Maxine Peake's play Beryl celebrating the extraordinary sporting achievements of Morley cyclist Beryl Burton received critical acclaim when it was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2012. A specially commissioned adaptation will be performed at the West Yorkshire Playhouse marking her stage writing debut.

Young farmers and artists will create eight stunning major land art pieces across South Pennines landscape for Fields of Vision, co-ordinated by Pennine Prospects. This will capture the spirit and impact of the tour on the landscape of Yorkshire.

Sarah Maxfield, Director North, Arts Council England said: 'Arts Council England is really proud to be supporting the festival. A festival of over 100 days is an ambitious goal but I'm very impressed by the high quality and breadth of the programme which is sure to impress the thousands of visitors from Yorkshire and beyond and will provide a lasting legacy for culture in the North.'

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: 'The Yorkshire Festival 2014 will be a countywide celebration of arts and culture creating excitement and anticipation in the 100 days before greatest free sporting show on the planet arrives in Yorkshire.'

Full details of the Festival programme can be found on Welcome to Yorkshire's website and you can see a selection of images from the launch here.