A CULTURAL spectacular is to be organised ahead of the first ever Tour de Yorkshire race in the region.
The Tour de Yorkshire Festival will showcase the county’s vibrant arts and cultural scene, ahead of the international cycle race in May.
More than 200 events are expected to feature in the programme in theatres, concert venues, galleries and museums across the county over a months-long build up to race weekend.
On opening day, one of the greatest pianists in the world, Chinese American Jessica Wei Zhu will appear at The Venue, Leeds College of Music.
Meanwhile Leeds-based rock band Hope & Social, who penned the official Grand Depart song last year and who performed at the Team Presentation event at First Direct Arena, will be performing at the start and finish towns.
Mark Fielding, Tour de Yorkshire Festival producer, said: “With the programme already shaping up well, it promises to be a wonderful showcase for Yorkshire’s arts and culture.”
The event follows last year’s hugely successful Yorkshire Festival, which was the first of its kind to precede the Tour de France.
The festival, which won Cultural Event of the Year at the 2014 UK Event Awards, included stage performances, art exhibitions, and music and dance events from 18,000 participants.
The Yorkshire Festival is set to return in 2016.
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The Tour de Yorkshire Festival is a fantastic opportunity to once again showcase the county’s amazing arts and cultural offerings, and after the incredible success of last year’s Yorkshire Festival, I am quite sure it will be prove to be another fantastic event for the county.”
It promises to be a wonderful showcase for Yorkshire’s arts and cultureMark Fielding, Tour de Yorkshire Festival producer
The Tour de Yorkshire is a key part of the Grand Depart legacy which formed part of the region’s bid.
It is set to take place each year.
The announcement is made just days after the start and finish times of the highly-anticipated three-day cycling race.
The race will feature three stages including the Bridlington to Scarborough opener on May 1, stage two from Selby to York on May 2 and the final stage from Wakefield to Leeds the following day.
Over the course of the weekend they will take riders up the North Newbald climb, through Wetwang, feature two laps of York, pass Wakefield Cathedral, tackle the Holmfirth climb, ride through Hebden Bridge and take on the Chevin.
ASO’s Tour de France sports director, Thierry Gouvenou, said at the launch: “We are very happy with the route the riders will take.
“With 515km in total there are some excellent opportunities throughout the three days for spectators to see riders take Sprint and King of the Mountain climb points, ahead of finish lines designed to generate the kind of welcome that Yorkshire spectators gave the peloton in the Tour de France.”
The Tour de Yorkshire is a Welcome to Yorkshire (WTY)/Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) race and is to be run in association with British Cycling, which holds a 2.1 European Tour UCI Classification
The race will be broadcast in the UK and on Eurosport to 70 countries around the world.