News: London 2012 Festival – full programme announced

Posted on April 26, 2012 by


This news story was originally written for Londonist.com.

The full line-up for the London 2012 Festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, was announced this morning. From 21 June to 9 September, London will be the focus of an unparalleled programme of music, theatre, film comedy, exhibitions, art and outdoor events.

In short, this is an arts jamboree to end all arts jamborees. All 204 Olympic nations are represented with 25,000 artists performing not just in London but throughout the UK. Much of the final programme has been previously announced, but here are some highlights from the whole festival:

  • 160,000 free tickets for outdoor concerts at half a dozen riverside locations with stages for each continent. Artists featured include Scissor Sisters and Wynton Marsalis and his Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
  • The World Shakespeare Festival: centred on the Globe of course, this is being billed as the biggest celebration of the Bard ever staged.
  • BBC Radio 1′s Hackney Weekend will star Jay-Z, Jessie J, Jack White and Tinie Tempah among many others.
  • The 2012 BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall boasts Daniel Barenboim and his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra performing a Beethoven symphony cycle.
  • The Orbit, Anish Kapoor’s 115ft-high steel sculpture in the Olympic Park, will be launched in May and Yoko Ono takes over the Serpentine Gallery.
  • Choreographer Pina Bausch will be celebrated at the Barbican Centre and Sadler’s Wells.

How much the Londoners and visitors enjoying these events will care about the London 2012 Festival brand is questionable. The whole Cultural Olympiad programme has seemed amorphous at times. But there is no doubt that, with all elements combined, the festival will make arts and culture a huge part of this Olympics summer.

As well as the National Lottery and Arts Council, the festival has been funded by a raft of sponsors, of which BT and BP are the lead partners. BP invests heavily in the arts and has been advertising its involvement in the Cultural Olympiad with massive billboards across town.

The London 2012 Festival brochure will be distributed across the capital. Get the brochure online here.

Image: Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: World Cities 2012, taken as part of the London 2012 Festival commissions. Photo credit: Angelos_Giotopoulos / London 2012.

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