A unique celebration of Yorkshire’s art and culture will herald the 2014 Tour de France - and Calderdale will take the lead role in running the 100-day extravaganza.
For the first time in the history of the world-renowned bike race 100 day festival will count down to the Le Grand Depart in Leeds.
£2 million will be spent on the Cultural Festival starting on March 27, 2014, and council chiefs are hoping it will bring a significant boost to the local economy.
Calderdale Council’s director of communities Robin Tuddenham, who is on the organising board as the local authority leader for the project. said: “No other Tour de France has ever had a Cultural Festival. It gives us the freedom to try new things and is a huge opportunity for Yorkshire.
“The festival will be 100 days of art, culture, music and community events to celebrate and build up excitement for people before the Tour starts on July 5 in Leeds.
“It will give parts of Yorkshire not seeing the route to get involved - we want to bring Yorkshire together. This is not all about the bikes - it’s about art and culture, fun and enjoyment.”
Last week £1 million funding was announced from the Arts Council and this will be matched by private sector sponsorhip and cash from local authorities. A host of events will be organised throughout Yorkshire with Calderdale Council as the lead local authority and council chiefs are confident this can be a massive boost to the economy creating return tourism visits on top of the money spent on the day.
“This is a great opportunity for Calderdale,” said Mr Tuddenham. “A recent Arts Council report on the value of culture found that for every £1 spent on on culture we get back £4 back into the local economy.”
There will be several large commissioned events with a budget of around £100,000 each and many smaller events that members of the public will be able to submit their ideas to.
Leader of Calderdale Council, Coun Tim Swift, said: “The Cultural Festival is a unique opportunity for us to celebrate Yorkshire’s great contribution to the arts. I’m delighted, and very proud, of the key role which Calderdale will play in this 100 day countdown to the Grand Départ.
“Whether these are large scale art installations or small community events, it’s a chance for everyone to get involved and to showcase the best that Yorkshire has to offer.”
The three themes of the events will be ‘Outdoors and Landscapes’, ‘French Connection’ and ‘Emblematic’ (items showing the character of Yorkshire).
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “It will be a fantastic opportunity for the whole county to share in the excitement and interest that will be building in the run-up to the 2014 Tour de France, helping to put Yorkshire on the map for millions of people in months before the riders arrive.”
The search is now underway for a Festival Director to run the ambitious and ground-breaking 100 day long festival in conjunction with the board and Calderdale Council.
David Lascelles, The Earl of Harewood, a BAFTA award winning television and film producer, will chair the steering group who, in conjunction with the Festival Director, will determine the programme.
Plans will now commence to draw up and deliver one of the biggest ever cultural festivals in Yorkshire. If you are a local group, school or individual with a great idea for an event at the festival submit your idea at letour.yorkshire.com/artsfestival to register suggestions.