Grand Départ piano set for London debut

Cyclists pulling a mini-grand piano from Mytholmroyd up Cragg Vale.
Cyclists pulling a mini-grand piano from Mytholmroyd up Cragg Vale.
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One of the highlights of the Yorkshire Festival 2014 is set to return to take centre stage, this time at the Lord Mayor’s Show in London.

The Grand Piano will be pulled through the streets of London on Saturday by 18 cycling men and women to celebrate what has been a triumphant year of cycling for the county.

Date:21nd July 2014. (JH1004/58i) Pictured Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, at Buttertubs Pass between Hawes and Swaledale, one of the famous photographed landmarks of the Yorkshire Grand Depart, Tour de France.

Date:21nd July 2014. (JH1004/58i) Pictured Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, at Buttertubs Pass between Hawes and Swaledale, one of the famous photographed landmarks of the Yorkshire Grand Depart, Tour de France.

The piano – part of The Grand Departs project that saw a Grand Piano scale the Britain’s longest continuous incline, Cragg Vale – will be pulled along as part of the parade at this year’s Lord Mayor’s Show.

The Grand Departs was one of the highlights of the 100-day long Yorkshire Festival, which took place in the run up to this year’s Grand Départ of the Tour de France.

The project was originally the brainchild of Doncaster-based Imove Arts in association with the Hebden Bridge Piano Festival, with sculptor Andy Plant lending his artistic talent to the design of the PianoPorte cycle.

And pianist David Nelson will once more be playing the ivories with his specially-composed, hour-long Piano Cycle piece as the cycling contraption makes its way through the streets of London.

Elenid Davies, producer of The Grand Departs, said: “Imove and Hebden Bridge Piano Festival were very proud to be a part of the celebrations in the lead up to the Tour de France, and we’re chuffed to bits that The Grand Departs will be representing Yorkshire in this year’s Lord Mayor’s Show in London.

“After conquering the longest continuous hill in England, pedalling the PianoPorte through the streets of London will be a breeze!”

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “There is little doubt that the streets of London will have never seen anything like this! The Grand Departs was one of the stars of the Yorkshire Festival in the run up to the Tour de France this year, and seeing a Grand Piano being pulled along London streets by cyclists will be a spectacle to behold.”

Welcome to Yorkshire’s entry into the Lord Mayor’s Show will be seen by three million people on the BBC and by over 500,000 people who line the streets.