Stanbury’s picturesque Lower Laithe Reservoir provided the perfect setting for a major Tour de France-related announcement.
The team behind the 100-day cultural festival which will take place during the build-up to the Tour’s 2014 Grand Depart revealed the official name of the festival, as well as one of its biggest sponsors.
They unveiled a large yellow banner down the side of the reservoir’s dam on Monday, announcing that ‘Yorkshire Festival 2014’ is being backed by Yorkshire Water.
The reservoir is one of eight locations which will host an exciting, eye-catching piece of land art for the festival’s duration.
Richard Flint, chief executive officer of Kelda Group and Yorkshire Water, said: “We’re delighted to be sponsoring the cultural festival.
“The Tour comes through so much of the land that we operate on behalf of the community that it’s only natural for us to get involved and do our bit for the economy.
“And while the Tour itself will only be here for one weekend, the festival is for 100 days and provides us with an opportunity to create a legacy for the future.
“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.”
He said the Tour was expected to attract 27,000 visitors to the Worth Valley for the weekend of July 5 and 6, and an extra two million visitors to Yorkshire as a whole.
Henrietta Duckworth, executive producer of Yorkshire Festival 2014, said: “It’s the first time in 111 years there has been an arts festival with the Tour de France and the first time there has been a Yorkshire-wide art festival on this scale.
“We’ve selected 47 submissions for the festival which will include all sorts of art forms – dance, music, sculpture, theatre, crafts and land art.
“With Yorkshire Water’s support, we’ve been able to create an ambitious programme featuring world-class artists taking place throughout the county for audiences from Yorkshire and beyond.”
She said the festival, which starts on March 27, would celebrate some of the key aspects of the Tour race, including “true grit”, “determination” and “physical prowess”.
The actual content of the festival will be revealed on January 29.
Ms Duckworth added: “An important part of this is getting people to participate, and we’re encouraging people to register their own projects with us for a ‘festival fringe’”.
David Lascelles, the eighth earl of Harewood and chairman of the festival’s steering group, said the support being offered to the festival was “amazing”, noting that major funding for the arts usually tends to be concentrated on activities in London.
“We want this to embrace as many people as possible,” he said. “It’ll be a high quality festival but not elitist.
“It’s a fantastically exciting opportunity. Yorkshire has got an extremely good quality offering of artwork, including a strong film-making tradition and great music, and this is the ideal chance to bring all that together under one heading.”
At Monday’s launch, a helicopter was present to enable aerial photos to be taken of the banner unfurling and some of the local sections of the Tour route. Two of those pictures appear on the opposite page.