Member company Yorkshire Water has today unveiled a massive banner in the heart of Brontë country as the countdown begins to one of the biggest and best arts festivals the county has ever seen – Yorkshire Festival 2014.
The festival will showcase the region’s finest creative talents on a national and international stage in the run up to Yorkshire’s Grand Départ 2014 – the opening two stages of next year’s Tour de France cycle race. As the region’s biggest landowner on the race route, the water company’s parent company, Kelda Group, has agreed to give the 100-day Yorkshire Festival 2014 its full support.
To announce its involvement, Yorkshire Water took the wraps off a huge banner bearing the official name Yorkshire Festival 2014 at its Lower Laithe Reservoir near Haworth – one of eight locations which will host an exciting piece of land art for the duration of the festival.
The banner has been produced by Leach Colours of Bradley, Huddersfield. It is so big it can be seen from passing aircraft.
The festival’s Executive Producer, Henrietta Duckworth, said the support pledged by the company would ensure the delivery of a world-class programme of events to show off the best cultural talent Yorkshire has to offer.
She added: “As one of the region’s biggest environmental investors, employers and landowners, Yorkshire Water has recognised what a fantastic opportunity the festival is for our region. “As well as providing financial support, Yorkshire Water is actively exploring how local communities can utilise its employees, land and reservoir sites to commemorate this once-in-a-lifetime platform for the region. We’re very excited and confident that we will be able to put on a festival programme that will attract national and international attention,” she said.
The 100-day cultural festival will start on March 27th, 2014 and is designed to encourage mass public participation in arts and cultural events in the run up to the Grand Départ. The Grand Départ of the Tour de France takes place in Yorkshire in two stages on Saturday, July 5th and Sunday, July 6th, 2014. Richard Flint, the Chief Executive of Kelda Group and Yorkshire Water, said: “The 390km route of the Grand Départ will take riders through the heart of many of our reservoir catchments in north, west and south Yorkshire which include some of the most stunning and carefully-managed countryside in the UK. “We’re really looking forward to working with local councils and communities across Yorkshire to ensure as many people as possible can celebrate and watch the race.
The event is watched by more than 3.5 billion people worldwide with an additional 2 million visitors expected to come to Yorkshire to watch the race. What a fantastic opportunity it is to promote what talent and beauty our great region has to offer!” added Mr Flint.
Yorkshire Water is one of several major companies based in the region that have already pledged their support for the festival and cycle race, with others being encouraged to get involved. In 2013, Arts Council England awarded funding of £1 million to the festival. Gary Verity, the Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said there had recently been a huge response to a rallying call to the region’s arts community to create memorable and lasting arts festival to celebrate the Grand Départ.
The official festival programme remains a closely guarded secret and is scheduled to be announced at the end of January.