By Graham Chalmers
The Harrogate Advertiser loves the local music scene - which is why we’ve been working with Harrogate Borough Council and event organisers Pennine Events to help talented local bands and solo acts make the most of the exciting Harrogate Big Bike Bash shortly.
Taking place on The Stray in West Park from Friday, June 19 to Sunday, June 21, this outdoors feast of food and drink, BMX demos and circus skills will also feature live music on the Saturday and Sunday in a sort of mini-recreation of last year’s hugely successful Fan Park at the Tour de France.
And we haven’t even mentioned the cycling yet wherein complete amateurs and professional cyclists alike will get the chance to ride part of the actual Tour de France course in the middle of Harrogate.
That’s produced an enthusiastic response from cyclng fans - more than 700 have now signed up for the Ride the Route on Saturday and 300 for the led rides on the Sunday.
As for the music entertainment, the Harrogate Advertiser recommended a lot of names as possible parts of the line-up, so great was the reaction to our stories asking for local musicians to express their interest and show the town there’s more to life than classical music and jazz.
So far the line-up includes two former finalists in Harrogate’s prestigious AMP Awards, Summer City and Purple Mafia, both from Ripon, and Harrogate alt funk-rock band Impyus plus solo singers Robbie Miller, Connie Grimes and Jonny Skinner of the Harrogate band Omega Era.
Keeping the crowds entertained in between will Stray FM and DJ Trev who will share the MC-ing duties.
Dan Reynard, lead singer with teenage sensations Purple Mafia, said the band was really thrilled to be playing on The Stray again.
“The experience of playing before 25,000 people in the Fan Park on The Stray at the end of a simply amazing day at the Grand Depart last year was up there for us with the buzz we got playing at the famous Whisky A Go Go nightclub in Hollywood, California.
“The Big Bike Bash will be a a great way for us to mark signing a production contract for our first album.”
The live music aspect of the ‘Event Village’ or ‘entertainment village’, as it is being known, will happen early on Saturday and Sunday afternoons plus a little on Saturday night.
The whole event kicks off on Friday, June 19 at 4pm with music from the resident MCs.
The exhibitor stands will open, too, and will continue over the course of the weekend.
The following day, Saturday is when the cycling gets going in the afternoon and evening when there will be a closed road racing circuit between a series of elite teams around the town centre.
The route for this Criterium Race will finish on exactly the same piece of road on Parliament Street that saw all the drama when Mark Cavendish crashed out last year in the opening stage of the Tour de France.
The entertainment factor also steps up a gear on Saturday when the live music stage kicks into life in the afternoon and early evening.
Other exciting events happening in the Event Village will include regular demonstrations of BMX stunts by expert riders and a Zumba dance display.
Throughout the day there will also be displays of circus skills in the Big Top Circus Tent.
Families will also be kept busy by walkabout acts on site such as face painting and balloon modelling.
On Sunday, everyone gets the chance to ride the route when there will be three organised rides offering one and all the opportunity to get out on their bike, whatever their level of experience.
The three routes offer three different levels of challenge in the form, respestively of The Stray Pedal, The Stray Beast and The Harrogate Beast - a 12-mile ride, a 30-mile ride and a 53-mile ride.
The whole Harrogate Big Bike Weekend will come to an end on Sunday at 4pm.