Grab your yellow jersey and head for Bridlington’s Old Town on Sunday, June 29, because this weekend sees the biggest, most ambitious festival ever.
Best of all, with Le Grand Depart only six days away and the festival officially part of Welcome to Yorkshire’s fringe celebrations, it has a decidedly French flavour while promoting everything that is best in Yorkshire.
Organisers are hoping visitors will get into the festival spirit and allow their imaginations to guide them. Bridlington town crier, David Hinde said: “We are encouraging visitors to dress in the theme of the world’s greatest cycle race. People can put whatever twist they like on that.”
There is optimism that the festival will attract cycle fans from abroad. Featuring an acoustic stage, an impressive gathering of morris dancers from across the Yorkshire region, and more than 70 food and craft stalls, it will run from the top of the ancient Market Place, winding through the Georgian streets of the Old Town, to the 900 year old Priory and Priory Green.
David added: “There will be many visitors who will want to stay in Bridlington for this festival then see the race take place in Yorkshire the following weekend. We are hoping there will be a good number of overseas visitors.”
The celebrations begin at 10.50am with a rousing preview of the official Grand Depart song, The Road, by Yorkshire-born Alistair Griffin, famous for his sporting anthems. Featuring vocals from Bradford’s Kimberley Walsh it will be officially released on Monday June 30. “We’ve been given special permission by Alistair to play it a day before,” said David.
Bridlington mayor, Shelagh Finlay, will then officially open proceedings at the ancient Market Place, before handing over to Ryedale singer songwriter and musical host, David Swann.
A selection of acclaimed local musicians will perform throughout the day, including Bridlington folk-phenomenon, Ben Parcell, and retro siren, Ruby Macintosh, who last year, performed for HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at Harewood House.
Hull guitar singer Carrie Martin, Pickering’s Martin Heaton, gaelic funkstress, Paula Ryan and Steve Chapman Smith will add their voices to a uplifting bill of ‘real songs about real people and real life’.
Meanwhile, more than 60 morris dancers from as far afield as York, Ripon, Scarborough, Beverley, Hull and Bridlington will perform behind the Bayle and at the top of the Market Place from 11am to 4pm. There will also be an impressive lunchtime parade of morris around Priory Green.
“There will be a mix of traditional and contemporary styles,” said David.
Food and craft stalls are set to link the two performance areas. Featuring producers such as Mr Moo’s ice-cream from Skipsea and Yorkshire Wolds Honey, as well as ‘Food 4 Festivals’, a local event catering business serving pizzas from a converted 1940’s French-style van, they’re set to offer a tempting taste of the region and beyond.
“There will be fabulous food,” said David whose own role as the World’s loudest town-crier will be to announce the attractions.
In the Priory Rooms, chef to the rock-stars, Sarah Muir, of the Arches Cookery School near Saltburn on Sea, will be hosting a ‘Saturday Kitchen’ style cooking show. Having cooked for the likes of Radiohead and George Michael, Sarah will be demonstrating a selection of ‘farm to fork’ and modern fish recipes as well as showcasing a session on French patisserie from Beverley’s Thierry Condette.
Artisan brewers, Brass Castle Brewery from Malton will be present and Sarah will finish her presentations with a children’s session on pasta and pizza.
Add in a fun dog-show complete with fancy dress competitions and egg and spoon races for dogs and owners, plus street entertainers, fairground rides and show-stopping performances from the amazing ‘What the Dickens’ theatre group and the Spa’s Coastal voices, and there’s no doubt that the festival is going from strength to strength.
“There has been been a lot of effort going into it,” said David. “It’s going to be a tremendous day.”