Sundae specials add to festival’s sheer WOW factor!

#yourfest gets under way at Hebden Bridge Arts Festival 2014
#yourfest gets under way at Hebden Bridge Arts Festival 2014

Local acts wowed thousands of people who thronged Hebden Bridge for Street Sundae showcasing the very best street performers.

Street Sundae is a free event featuring international and local street performers across four stages put on by Hebden Bridge Arts Festival as a public thank you for the town’s year round support.

This year there was extra helpings of local talent as all female morris troupe the Hill Millies, boisterous brass street performers the Ski Band, Hebden Bridge Junior Brass band, Calder Valley Youth Theatre, The Helen Wilman school of Dance, Calder Valley Voices, Made in the Valley and Blueberry Pie all joined in the fun.

The local stars were joined by Bell and Bullocks’s nautical show Cabin Fever, the great Artizani wrestling a massive inflatable lobster in the square, and irreverent singing nun Musical Ruth trundling around on her mobile motorised piano bantering with the crowds.

The festival also contributed to Le Tour’s Yorkshire Festival as cyclists could take part in a virtual stage thanks to some digital wizardry without moving from the Town Hall, and local theatre company Stumbledance Circus premiered their new show Cart Before Horse featuring some spectacular acrobatics on the terrace.

Artistic Director Helen Meller said: “All four stages in St George’s Square, the Town Hall, the wavy duck steps and the Marina were picked with thousands of local people and tourists enjoying top class street fun in the sun.

“The local acts were brilliant and Musical Ruth was a particular favourite as people even chased her down the street.

“We even overheard one person say ‘this is better than the telly’ and he was dead right.”

It was a busy week for the festival as the day before a team of Calder High Students took over the park for the all-day #Yourfest sponsored by local employers Thomson Reuters.

The youth team are all working towards national recognised Bronze and Silver Arts Awards so their challenge was to create an event that would entertain and challenge local young people.

They put together a packed programme of events including a live set from local duo The Last Minute who are releasing their debut EP online, henna hand painting, an art workshop, T-shirt tie-dyeing and a chance to perfect basic circus skills.

Helen said: “Although #Yourfest was part of our festival the whole thing was organised by the team to a highly professional standard, and we are so proud that their hard work they put in paid off on the day.”

The festival kicked off with teams of tree decorators who spread out across town adding their own distinctive designs to local greenery as part of the festival’s promise to make the whole town a stage.

Trees have been decorated by Stubbings Infant School, Central Street, Hebden Royd C of E School, Made in the Valley, Word of Mouth, Louise Lockhart, David Moules, Elisabeth Moules, Old Town Brownies, Hebden Bridge WI, #Yourfest, Skye and Libby Barrett and Winston Plowes who is the Arts Festival Pop up Poet.

The festival draws to a conclusion this weekend with a work premiere of songs from the Leisure Society’s new album at the Trades Club on Thursday,while The Thinking Drinkers take a fun look at the history of booze in the Picture House on Friday night - with some free tipples on offer .

Then there is the award winning children’s show I Believe in Unicorns is in the Little Theatre, Holme Street, on Saturday morning.

The festival bows out on Saturday afternoon with another free street festival LeGrand D’Party from 4pm to 8pm, also sponsored by Thomson Reuters, with a cast of internally renowned street stars who will entertain local supporters and the hordes descending on Hedben Bridge for stage two of Le Tour.