The first ever Yorkshire Festival will feature a rich vein of cycling culture as the county celebrates hosting the opening stages of the Tour de France, it has been revealed.
The programme and schedule for the 100-day festival was announced this week alongside a flash mob that overran Leeds' Trinity shopping complex on Wednesday.
Starting on March 27, the Yorkshire Festival will bring world-class art, music, dance, theatre, film and sculpture to the county culminating in the Grand Départ of the Tour on July 5, the final day of the festival.
The executive producer of the festival, Henrietta Duckworth, 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 art-forms. We invite everyone to explore the new, celebrate together and be part of it.”
The cycling treats on offer throughout the festival are diverse, including cycling themed plays, films and artworks.
The cycle-oriented attractions announced so far by the Yorkshire Festival include: a play about Beryl Burton, one of Britain’s greatest ever cyclists; an art-dance project called Ghost Peloton produced by a Leeds dance group; the Wooly Bike Trail, a series of yarn-bombed bicycles dotted about Yorkshire; a steel bike-making workshop called The Sheffield Steel Peloton; and the Tour de Cinema, ten outdoor screens in picturesque locations across Yorkshire showing a range of films.
The play, titled Beryl, celebrates the sporting achievements of Beryl Burton who dominated women’s cycling in the UK throughout the 60s and into the 70s, winning seven world titles in that time. The play, which is an adaptation of actress Maxine Peake’s 2012 Radio 4 play about Burton, will be put on at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds.
Creating Ghost Peloton are Leeds dance troupe The Phoenix Dance Theatre. The performance art will involve a large projection of dancers and a team of 50 road racers and stunt cyclists donning remote controlled light suits.
To give you an idea of what this Ghost Peloton may look like, there is a similar project called Speed of Light which the sponsors of Ghost Peloton — Scottish public arts charity NVA — commissioned for the opening of the Edinburgh Festival in 2012.
The Wooly Bike Trail is a series of art installations by yarn-enthusiast Cassandra Kilbride. She has set out to cover ten bikes in yarn and place them in particular locations around Yorkshire so as to tell a story or provide a different perspective on famous local landmarks.
Teaching festival goers about smelting, blacksmithing and other bike-creating skills is experimental archaeologist Barney Harris. Those attending his workshops will be known as The Sheffield Steel Peloton, and working together over a number of sessions, they will create a one-off steel bicycle in time for the Grand Départ.
A variety of documentaries and films will be shown on the Tour de Cinema screens across the county. A rarely seen BBC film titled A Day Out, about a Halifax cycling club, will be shown on the ten screens and also in 35 town halls and other locations around the area.
The festival has also released an official song titled Hope & Social by The Big Wide. You can watch it below.