The London 2012 Festival is set to begin this week, with five major events being held across the UK on 21 June. Seb Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee, said: “The opening of the London 2012 Festival marks another opportunity for millions of people across the UK to join in with the London 2012 Games. The festival will showcase the UK's world leading arts and culture sector and bring international attention to communities across the UK.”
The 12-week festival is the culmination of the four-year Cultural Olympiad and will feature a wide variety of art forms, beginning on 21 June with spectacular events taking place in Stirling, Derry-Londonderry, South Wales the Lake District, and Birmingham.
In Stirling, world-famous conductor Gustavo Dudamel will lead The Big Concert with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. The concert will also be screened live on London 2012 Live Sites in 22 towns and cities across the UK.
In Derry-Londonderry, Pixie Lott and Imelda May will lead the free Peace One Day concert, celebrating the theme of the ancient tradition of the Olympic Truce, while Lake Windermere, in the Lake District, hosts On the Nightshift – a free outdoor pyrotechnic and percussion extravaganza.
Birmingham will play host to The Voyage, which will see a gigantic ship sail into the city centre accompanied by dancers and aerialists, while Carmarthen, in Wales, will welcome artist Jeremy Deller’s life-size inflatable replica of Stonehenge, Sacrilege, which will ‘pop up’ for the first time at the National Botanical Gardens.
Running until 9 September 2012, the Festival will feature more than 25,000 artists from more than 200 competing Olympic nations.
There are more than 10 million free tickets and opportunities to take part in 12,000 events, with performances at 900 venues in villages, towns and cities all over the UK, including 137 world premieres and 85 UK premieres.
The Festival consists of commissions and invited events in all art forms, dedicated to showcasing the best of British and world culture through exceptional creative partnerships.
Ruth Mackenzie, Director, Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, said: “When the UK won the bid for the Olympic Games in 2005, we promised to return to Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s original idea of an Olympic Games based on the three pillars of sport, art and education. This summer, London 2012 Festival showcases the world’s greatest artists alongside the stars of the sports world, a once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience to match the once in a lifetime visit of the Olympic Games to the UK.”