This weekend sees the once-in-a-lifetime staging of a Grand Piano pull up Cragg Vale as part of the 100-day Yorkshire Festival.
For several months Imove and Hebden Bridge Piano Festival have been working together to create the epic, never-before-attempted cycling challenge to celebrate the Tour de France’s visit to Calderdale on Sunday, July 6.
This Saturday, a contingent of cyclists and pianists will take part in The Grand Departs, an epic feat of strength and endurance which aims to answer the question: how many cyclists does it take to transport a grand piano up a long, steep hill? Starting at St Michael’s Church car park in Mytholmroyd, teams of Calderdale’s most resilient cyclists will pull a grand piano up Cragg Road to the top of Blackstone Edge, the longest continuous ascent on the Grand Depart route. Throughout the climb 16 local and international pianists will perform pieces from PianoCycle - a non-stop suite of nine pieces written especially for the occasion by Artistic Director, Dave Nelson.
He said: “It’s amazing to think that all this started with a bit of idle chat over a glass of wine last Autumn.”
Carrying the six foot grand piano up the hill is a bespoke vehicle called the PianoPorté which has been designed and built for The Grand Departs by local sculptor Andy Plant and will be powered by three separate teams of cyclists.
Local residents are asked to lend their moral support by cheering on the spectacle and invited to join in the send-off at noon in Mytholmroyd, following which there will also be stops for refreshments and pianistic entertainment at the Ark Nursery, the Robin Hood pub, Cragg Vale School and Mount Pleasant at the junction with the Sowerby Road.
The whole procession will finish at Byrom Edge – a short distance before Blackstone Edge reservoir.