Yorkshire Festival Success!

By July 18, 2014

Art & Photography. Leeds.

[Image: Ghost Peloton. Part of Yorkshire Festival 2014 (c) Tim Smith]


Here at TSOTA we avidly followed the build up to Yorkshire’s Tour de France Grand Depart on July 5th & 6th. For the first time in its 111 year history, the Tour de France was preceded by a cultural festival – the first ever ‘Yorkshire Festival’ – spanning 6,000 square miles of Yorkshire’s diverse landscape with a spectacular programme of events.

Yorkshire Festival 2014 was the brainchild of Welcome to Yorkshire and received the backing of Yorkshire Water, Arts Council England and Yorkshire local authorities.Beginning on March 27th and throughout the 100 days leading up to the Grand Depart, the festival 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!

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 at West Yorkshire Playhouse.


“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.” Pete Massey, Acting Director North, Arts Council England



Fields of Vision, The Leap – by Louise Lockhart (c) Yorkshire Festival 2014


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 at Gallery Munro House. Fields of Vision (see above), 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 – featured on BBC’s Countryfile.

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 – exhibited at Leeds Art Gallery & Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The Yorkshire Festival embraced, celebrated and inspired an abundance of creativity across the county. It’s tricky to pick just a few, but highlights for us here at TSOTA were certainly the Tour de Cinema – numerous outdoor cinema screenings in locations across Yorkshire, and the Ghost Peloton.

As the Festival’s Executive Producer Henrietta Duckworth quite rightly sums up, “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.


Were you there?

Did you take part in or attend any of the events featured in this year’s Yorkshire Festival? If so, The State of the Arts would love to hear from you! Did you enjoy the event? Maybe you have some great pictures or footage. Share your experience with us via [email protected]