Yorkshire Festival: A French idyll in Huddersfield town centre
Commuters at Huddersfield train station got quite a surprise this morning when they discovered a French farm had magically appeared overnight
I have never seen so many smiling faces during an early morning commute! People were genuinely uplifted as they wandered gently through the rural farm, packed with plants, flowers and vegetables. Children and adults chatted to French farmers who came out of their rustic sheds to say ‘bonjour'.
As one commuter said, ‘I want to stay here, what a wonderful start to my day!' – isn't it amazing what a bit of greenery (or a lot in this case!) and creativity can do? People's stress levels seemed to evaporate altogether as they said hello to the farm animals and enjoyed a bit of tranquillity in an otherwise busy working day.
The project, La Vengeance des Semis or Seedling's Revenge, has been brought to Huddersfield by French company Le Phun to celebrate the climax of the Yorkshire Festival and the start of Tour de France which comes through Huddersfield and Holmfirth on Sunday 6 July.
It is also a very local project, all the flowers and vegetables have been grown locally and will be donated to Marie Curie (the official charity of the Yorkshire Festival) and the National Trust, Incredible Edible, a company campaigning for and growing local food, the Welcome Centre food bank in Huddersfield and a local hospice.
As much as I wanted to stay in rural France, I had to come back to the office for final preparations before the weekend. I did however, manage to sneak in a little trip to St Peter's Garden's first to see the outdoor gallery of work from artists in residence at Dewsbury Country Park as well as La Grande Famille, a display of thirteen willow cyclists made by artist Carole Beavis in collaboration with 13 schools and community groups across Kirklees.
On Saturday 5 July, Huddersfield will explode with activity as artists and performers fill the streets. Big screens in Huddersfield and Holmfirth will show coverage of Tour de France on Saturday and Sunday as well as showcasing a whole host of short films, animations and music videos by local artists and school children.
As the cyclists wind their way up through Holme Moss on Sunday, their route will be marked out by 100 brightly coloured flags made by artist Wendy Meadley with local community groups and schools, the oldest participant was 95 and the youngest was 5. And that's what I have found really lovely about working on Hypervelocity, the combination of community engagement and creative excellence, nature and art, old and young, Yorkshire and France. It really is a festival that has been made by and for everyone.
- Elise Rohde, Event Support Office, Kirklees Council. Follow Kirklees on Twitter.