'Grand Festival of Yorkshire' may still go ahead despite Tour de Yorkshire cancellation

tourism chiefs will examine the possibility of staging a ‘Grand Festival of Yorkshire’ following the cancellation of next year’s Tour de Yorkshire cycle race.

James Mason, pictured announcing the intended Tour de Yorkshire route in 2020, says a Grand Festival of Yorkshire is being contemplated following the cancellation of the 2022 cycling race.

It had been planned that a week-long cultural festival would be staged alongside the cycling event, which had been pencilled in to take place next May.

But a failure to reach agreement on how the costs of the event would be split between race organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and French media group ASO resulted in the race being called off earlier this week.

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But the idea of still going ahead with the more wide-ranging festival proposal is now being considered.

James Mason, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Despite the disappointing news around the Tour for 2022, we now have to look ahead to what events we can commit to and support all across the region next year. It is our aim to engage with all communities and ensure our campaigns are inclusive to attract as wide an audience as possible.

“As such, we can now start the process of liaising with our local authority colleagues and other partners to discuss the appetite and viability of a Grand Festival of Yorkshire.”

Local authorities that were due to be host locations had set aside £100,000 each to pay towards the costs of the race – with six councils agreeing to potentially pay a further £100,000 to cover any shortfalls in sponsorship. That money was only due to be paid when the event was confirmed, meaning it is yet to be spent.

Mr Mason’s comments come after Carl Les, who is both North Yorkshire County Council leader and a Welcome to Yorkshire board member, said he hoped the festival programme element could still go ahead.

He said: “I would support continuing with the festival idea, which was the idea linked to the cycle race. I do hope that the race is only postponed and that we will be talking about having a race again in 2023.

“It’s hard to think of another event that touches so many different parts of the county and the region of Yorkshire and joins them all up together.”

Richmondshire District Council leader Angie Dale has also expressed an interest in a festival going ahead in some form.

She said: “Obviously the money is there and we do need to reinvest it. I would like to see something like a festival of Richmondshire, throughout the whole district, which is what we thought we were getting as part of the race. It was the only reason we bought into it.

“It will be the last year for the district council before local government reorganisation and we need something that’s going to see us into the future.”

Craven District Council leader Richard Foster said: “Although there is no TdY next year we look forward to working with Welcome to Yorkshire on other events to promote our fantastic region and await with interest details of the proposed Yorkshire Festival.”

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