The Art of Human Movement


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The Grand Departs

How many cyclists does it take to pull a grand piano up a hill?


Imove and Hebden Bridge Piano Festival has answered that question in The Grand Departs, an epic musical and physical feat of strength and endurance staged for Yorkshire Festival 2014 to celebrate the Tour de France’s visit to Yorkshire.


On 5 April, some of Calderdale & beyond’s most resilient cyclists pulled a grand piano by bicycle up Cragg Vale, the longest continuous ascent in England, while local and international pianists including Kathryn Stott and Jez Colborne played Piano Cycle, specially composed for The Grand Departs by David Nelson.


The communities of Mytholmroyd and Cragg Vale gave us a hearty welcome all along the route and thousands of people came along to cheer us up the hill and see the PianoPorté,  the new cycle invention by sculptor Andy Plant. It was a reet grand day out!


Oh, and it takes 18 cyclists to pull a piano up a hill by the way…




The Grand Departs is an official part of Yorkshire Festival 2014, the first ever arts festival to precede the Grand Départ in its 111 year history. It is also supported by Calderdale Council and Legacy Trust UK.


Photographs © Sarah Mason


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