Top festival organiser Maria Bota takes on 2014 Tour de France Yorkshire role

6:00am Tuesday 16th July 2013

By Chris Young

Next year’s Tour De France arts festival, which will bring 100 days of cultural events to the district, will be run by one of the country’s top festival organisers.

Maria Bota will be at the helm of the festival which will get under way 100 days before the Tour de France cycle race starts in Leeds next year.

The race passes through Keighley, Ilkley Haworth and numerous other towns and villages around Bradford, and these areas have been invited to host some of the festivities.

Ms Bota, who lived in Yorkshire for more than ten years and is highly regarded in the arts world, has been responsible for staging the critically acclaimed Salisbury Festival.

She takes on the role next month, and promises to bring a mix of theatre, visual arts and music to the route.

Last month Welcome To Yorkshire, the group responsible for bringing Le Tour to the county, announced the Arts Council would provide £1 million of funding for the festival, and they hoped to double this with match funding. They now want local groups and artists to come forward with ideas and apply for funding.

Ms Bota said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been given this role and relish the opportunity to put the creative spotlight on the fantastic Yorkshire landscape and artists from Yorkshire and further afield.

“We will include music of all kinds, outdoor spectacles, theatre, dance, literature, digital work, installations and visual arts.”

The festival starts in March, 100 days before the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in Leeds on July 5.

Lorna Bird, who organised Ilkley Arts Trail, said: “I’m delighted someone’s been appointed, especially someone with such good credentials. At Ilkley Arts Trail we’re looking to contribute.

“I’m sure a lot of other groups will embrace this festival. There is a hunger for good news and events to pick us up after all the cuts and job losses you hear about.”

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