A REMOTE Dales village which lies below one of the most exciting parts of the Grand Depart has dared to dream big and host a full scale music and arts festival.
Small business owners in Muker, Swaledale, decided last year to make the most of the Tour de France by hiring a large screen and putting up a tent in a field to host a beer festival with live music and children’s entertainment.
Landowner Christine Clarkson, along with Darren and Emily Abbey who run the Farmers Arms pub in the village, had felt that not enough facilities were being provided along the route of the Yorkshire Dales.
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But what started as the more modest Tour de Fleece festival has grown into the ambitious King of the Mountains festival – featuring Yorkshire bands, including Leeds-based Sky Larkin, and BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens, as well as outdoor cinema, nature talks and live art shows.
Mr Abbey said: “With the news that thousands of people would be descending on Muker and Swaledale, we were motivated to bring something new and exciting to our small village.
“King of the Mountains festival is our chance to showcase Muker and provide visitors with the best place to watch the race, alongside quality facilities and the best in Yorkshire-sourced music, arts, food, and family activities.”
The festival site lies at the foot of the infamous Buttertubs Pass – widely considered to be one of the best places to watch the action of stage one of the Grand Depart on Saturday, July 5.
Mrs Abbey added: “We are only a pub that can seat 50, and there's a tea shop next door that can seat 20.
“We thought it would be a good idea to hold a festival with additional food outlets, a big bar, toilets and security - providing three days of entrainment.
“We're in the middle of nowhere; the nearest cash machine is six miles away, so it felt quite natural to hold a festival and to provide people that are here with entertainment in the build up to the race and after because once they are here there wouldn't be much to do unless they enjoy walking.
“With more than 30,000 people in the area I think they'll want a bit of fun.”
Mrs Clarkson added: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to show off our part of the Dales and hopefully with the tickets priced at £39 for adults for the weekend, people will be happy to pay it and want to come back year after year.
“With the festival we are supporting various local charities including Swaledale Mountain Rescue.”
Gary Verity chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: "King of the Mountains looks set to be a terrific event and will really get the community and visitors into the party spirit as the Grand Départ passes through.”
For more details and to book please visit www.kingofthemountainsfestival.com.