On Saturday 21 July, the Rio-London Carnival collaboration will mix top Carnival artists from Brazil and the UK to create the most inclusive and extraordinary spectacle of music, dance, floats and costume. It will be the largest and most spectacular carnival art piece ever seen in the UK, inspired by the huge floats in Rio de Janeiro’s traditional Carnival.
A parade comprising over 2,000 Brazilian and UK performers and including 11 floats, six sound systems, walking music band members and costumed groups will take to the streets of Hackney to celebrate the arrival of the Olympic Flame in London. Starting at Pitfield Street, Shoreditch, at 10.30am, the parade will follow a 2.8-mile route, culminating in Stoke Newington.
The on-going Rio Occupation London event will also celebrate Brazilian culture, with 30 ground-breaking Rio artists working with London-based artists to ‘occupy’ the streets of the city with performances, interventions and happenings in arts and non-arts spaces.
Both events form part of the London 2012 Festival, which is currently taking part across the UK ahead of the Olympic Games. Running until 9 September 2012, the Festival features a wide variety of art forms, bring together more than 25,000 leading artists and performers from the UK and across the world.
Other recent highlights of the Festival include Turner Prize-nominated artist Richard Wilson’s new installation – Hang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea… – which recreates the final scene of the film ‘The Italian Job’ by balancing a replica of a coach over the edge of the roof of the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea. More than 10,000 people visited the installation in its opening week.
The Royal Ballet’s performance of Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 was also broadcast live from the Royal Opera House on big screens across the country on Monday 16 July, while comedian Eddie Izzard offered his individual take on sport and culture while running around the Olympic Park on Thursday 19 July, ending at Toynbee Studios where he delivered his De Coubertin Lecture in English and French.
In total, more than 12,000 events will be held before 9 September, with 10 million free tickets and opportunities to take part. The 12-week festival is the culmination of the four-year Cultural Olympiad, which plays an integral role in the Olympic Games.
Culture has traditionally been an important part of the Games and this is continued today through Olympic cultural programmes such as the Cultural Olympiad, which sees host cities organise a series of cultural events in the build-up to the Games, as well as during the Games themselves. The programme spans myriad art genres and often includes plays, concerts, ballets and exhibitions, which are held within the host city and across the nation.
These artistic and cultural experiences contribute to setting the Olympic Games apart from other sporting events as they allow everyone – sports fans and non-sports fans alike – to get involved and enjoy the magic of the Olympic experience.