The Grand Departs

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

Imove and Hebden Bridge Piano Festival 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 and 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! ‘and the people on the telly thought so too!  Here’s how it was covered by ITV Yorkshire Calendar news…

And BBC Breakfast… and The One Show too!

BBC One Show The Grand Departs feature 07.04.14 from imove on Vimeo.

In November 2014, the Pianoporte had another outing as part of The Lord Mayor’s show in London, representing Yorkshire in the procession past the City’s most iconic landmarks.

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

Photographs © Sarah Mason

Photo credits: Sarah Mason

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