Yorkshire Festival 2016, preview: County culture

Emily Songhurst

The award winning Yorkshire Festival is back, bringing music, theatre, visual art and outdoor performance to every corner of the country’s biggest county.

First launched to celebrate the Grand Depart of the Tour de France back in 2014, the Yorkshire Festival seems all set to be a permanent fixture, and once again a packed programme of world class shows and exhibitions will take place in galleries, theatres and even outdoors in the county’s beautiful rolling countryside. We recommend that you take in as many of the biannual festival’s events as you can – but to help you choose, here are some of our highlights:

The Fire Gardens, Harrogate

Harrogate, which is known for its spa history, will be transformed by the element of fire as part of a display by the internationally renowned French company, Carabosse. The Fire Gardens are set to be a magical and sensory experience set within the town’s Valley Gardens, showcasing a fiery spectacle of sculptures and installations. Visitors will be invited to wander through blazing landscapes and be warmed by red-hot charcoal as musicians, metal-workers and storytellers create a fairground of fire and imagination. 23-25 June, Valley Gardens, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 2SZ

The Handmade Parade, Hebden Bridge

A trip to Hebden Bridge is a treat at any time of the year, but never more so than when the annual Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade is taking place. Alongside the parade there will be a mini festival in Calder Holmes park, and the parade itself will have a Russian twist this year as a local team of artists, musicians and performers are joined by Russian artists from Cardboardia – a fictitious country with strong traditions. At the parade, Cardboardia will celebrate the opening of its first Embassy on English soil: the first stage of a two year project throughout the North of England that will result in the creation of a Cardboard Town in England. 26 June, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 7BY

The Nile Project, Bradford

A European premiere, The Nile Project brings together musicians from the 11 countries across the Nile River Basin, channeling East African traditions to create a new sound of shared identity, in order to raise awareness of the cultural and environmental challenges faced by the world’s longest river. See this incredible collaboration in Bradford’s iconic Alhambra Theatre. 18 June, The Alhambra, Morley Street, Bradford, BD1 7AJ

Place Des Anges, Hull

We all can’t wait until Hull is the City of Culture in 2017. To whet your appetite, head over this fair city to take in Gratte Ciel’s Place Des Anges spectacle. This stunning display will feature aerial performers flying across the night sky on invisible zip lines, transforming Queens Gardens into ‘Angels’ Place’. Watch the angels appear at nightfall, as they gradually emerge in the sky above Hull college. The show will culminate in an extraordinary display of feather fireworks, creating an enormous, feather blizzard,  which will transform the ground below. 2 July, Queens Gardens , Guildhall Road, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1 2AG

The Brutalist Playground, Sheffield

As part of a new commission, 2015 Turner Prize winner Assemble and artist Simon Terrill will reimagine their touring exhibition, investigating the visual language of postwar landscapes through an immersive, conceptual landscape, focusing on the playgrounds that were once found at large-scale housing estates. One of the most prominent and divisive of these estates of course is Sheffield’s own Park Hill, and as such the city provides a perfect setting for this new work. 17 June-3 July, S1 Artspace, The Scottish Queen, 21-24 South Street, Sheffield , S2 5QX

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