London 2012 Festival programme

The full programme was announced today for the London 2012 Festival, celebrating the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which will take place from 21 June – 9 September 2012 and feature leading artists from around the world.

•    12,000 events & performances featuring over 25,000 artists from all 204 participating Olympic nations•    Stars include Damon Albarn, Alan Ayckbourn, Daniel Barenboim, Cate Blanchett, Gustavo Dudamel, Tracey Emin, Stephen Fry, Gilberto Gil, Handspring, Antony Hegarty, Damien Hirst, Zakir Hussain, Anish Kapoor, Mike Leigh, Baaba Maal, Wynton Marsalis, Tim Minchin, The Noisettes, Yoko Ono, Simon Rattle, Rihanna, Scissor Sisters, Wallace and Gromit, Dr Who, Julie Walters, Ai Wei Wei, Jay-Z

This ‘once in a lifetime’ Festival features more than 25,000 artists from all 204 competing Olympic nations. Everyone will be able to join in the celebration with over 10 million free tickets and opportunities to take part in 12,000 events and performances at 900 venues all over the UK, including 130 world premieres and 85 UK premieres.

The full London 2012 Festival brochure will be distributed around the UK and is available to download from the London 2012 Festival website

Over 160,000 free tickets are available for concerts in six Thames-side locations for BT River of Music: Scissor Sisters, Baaba Maal, The Noisettes, Matthew Herbert, Mariza and Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra featuring Wynton Marsalis are among the line-up already announced. The public can register from Tuesday 15 May and sign up to be the first to hear when tickets for each stage become available via Ticketmaster. Full details of the programme and venues can be found at

100,000 music fans are expected for BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend starring Jay-Z, Rihanna, Florence + The Machine,, Jessie J, Jack White, David Guetta and Tinie Tempah.  Peace One Day’s Global Truce Countdown concert at Ebrington Square in Derry-Londonderry for the opening night of the London 2012 Festival will feature stars including Imelda May, Newton Faulkner, Guillemots and Wonder Villains.

Also going on sale today are tickets to Traction, a one-day festival curated by Radio 1 DJ Gilles Peterson and presented by Eurostar, featuring music and performance collaborations from across Europe. Mercury prize nominee Ghostpoet is joined by London artist Plugs at this unique event at Granary Square in London, which opens to the public for the first time in June. Tickets are available for £20 via or 

Stephen Fry, Tim Minchin, Scott Mills and a host of BBC Comedy stars will celebrate the UK’s comic talent with appearances all over the country from Edinburgh’s celebrated Fringe venue The Pleasance to The Eden Project in Cornwall, Hackney Empire, the BFI and London’s West End.

Stephen Fry said: ‘The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be an astonishing event, and it’s only right that we use the opportunity to showcase our world leading arts and culture when the eyes of the world are on us. The London 2012 Festival will give everyone the chance to have an Olympic experience, and leading the way will be the Playing the Games programme taking place at the Criterion Theatre, London’s most beautiful West End theatre.’

London will celebrate its contribution to fashion with a series of collaborations between top designers and artists. Among these are Paul Smith, Giles Deacon, Hussein Chalayan, Matthew Williamson, Stephen Jones, Mary Katrantzou and artists Cerith Wyn Evans, Gavin Turk, Jeremy Deller, Mark Tichner, Charming Baker and Jess Flood-Paddocks.

Stonehenge will be transformed in a once-in-a-lifetime free fiery spectacular created by French outdoor wizards, Compagnie Carabosse, while Jeremy Deller’s full size ‘bouncy castle’ version of Stonehenge will tour the nation, giving families a unique experience of this historic landmark.

There will be more art in unusual places with artist Richard Wilson’s full-scale replica coach dangling off the roof of the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill recreating the final scene of The Italian Job; a collection of BMW cars with bodywork designed by artists including Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons goes on show in a secret London location; and more than 500 bandstands and outdoor performance spaces across the UK will simultaneously come alive with music as part of Bandstand Marathon.

Constanza Macras’ extraordinary dance theatre group will perform in the forests of North Wales with ancient Mabinogion myths interpreted through the prism of modern Cardiff nightlife; and Elizabeth Streb’s daredevil troupe interacts with London’s most iconic landmarks through her unique extreme action performance.

Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaker will present one of her great early works, Fase, reworked for Tate Modern’s brand new Tanks spaces; and Michael Clark will create a new work for Glasgow’s legendary Barrowland Ballroom.

‘See No Evil’, Europe’s biggest urban arts festival featuring world class street art, cutting edge music and 3D mapping projections will pop-up in the heart of Bristol’s Enterprise Zone. Major music acts include Adrian Utley of Portishead working with AntiVJ, while Bristol artists Inkie, China Mike, Jody Thomas and international artists bring their distinctive visuals to the streets of Bristol.

Busk on the Usk is a new free festival for Newport City in Wales, featuring live music, literature, spoken-word, and street theatre as well as art and food events at The Riverfront Theatre, University of Wales, Newport and pop-up venues across the city. The event will be produced by Wales’ award-winning independent Green Man music and arts festival, and the incredible Scritti Politti, led by Newport born Green Gartside who will be making his first ever performance there.

As part of the BBC Proms 2012, Daniel Barenboim will conduct the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in a complete Beethoven symphony cycle culminating on 27 July, the opening night of the Games, with a performance of Beethoven 9. Oscar-winners Wallace & Gromit will make their Proms debut with Wallace’s Proms commission ‘My Concerto in Ee, Lad’; and Birmingham Opera will stage the world premiere of Stockhausen’s extraordinary work Mittwoch aus Licht, a five-hour long sonic extravaganza featuring a Helicopter String Quartet, choirs and electronics, with Radio 1’s DJ Nihal as moderator.

London’s newest landmark designed by internationally acclaimed artist Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond, the 115 ft high The Orbit, will be launched in May; Yoko Ono’s Smile project, presented by the Serpentine Gallery, invites everyone to upload and send an image of their smiles, to create a global anthology of portraits, alongside a major exhibition of her work in the Gallery; Antony Gormley’s Godot Tree, a new commission for the Enniskillen Festival, will go on show in the Grand Yard at Castle Coole; and the UK’s biggest ever celebration of dance includes an anthology of works by Tanztheater Wupperthal – Pina Bausch commissioned by the cities she visited.

There are also lots of opportunities for the public to get involved in the Festival and participate directly in nationwide initiatives like Big Dance 2012, which includes a world record for the largest Bollywood dance performance at Cardiff Mela, an amazingly long Norfolk Long Dance in Norwich, and an open-air showcase of community dance skills at Big T Dance in Doncaster city centre.

Hofesh Shechter directs Youth Dance England’s U.Dance Ensemble, the first UK youth dance company, performing at the U.Dance 2012 festival at Southbank Centre 13-15 July; and on 14 July, the entire population are invited to fill streets and public spaces in Big Street Dance Day, under the Creative Direction of Wayne McGregor, just one of the hundreds of Big Dance events all over the country.

Storylab is a nationwide programme of events encouraging kids to get reading and creating stories during the holidays. Libraries will be hosting lots of special events for the Summer Reading Challenge, and there are innovative projects from Discover Centre’s Storycloud, the new Story Museum in Oxford, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the National Theatre’s Pop-Up Workshop programme and the British Library, who are hosting a festival of Children’s Literature as part of their Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands. Major writers taking part include Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, Michael Morpurgo, Richard Adams, Michael Rosen, Malorie Blackman and Andy Stanton.

London 2012 Festival will be launched on Midsummer’s Night 21 June, with a burst of celebration across the nation starting with a spectacular open-air concert set against the backdrop of Stirling Castle in Scotland, featuring superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela who are joined by The Big Noise children from Rapploch in Scotland; meanwhile in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra will present the UK premiere of Weltethos, an epic choral work by Jonathan Harvey; and on the same night the pyrotechnicians and musicians of the French street arts company, Les Commandos Percu will bring the magic of music and fire to the shores of Lake Windermere in Cumbria in a spectacular outdoor show, On the Night Shift, created especially for the Festival.

Principal Funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.

Supporters of the London 2012 Festival are BMW, Eurostar, Freshfields, Panasonic, Samsung, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales, BBC, British Council, Creative Scotland, DCAL, DCMS, Festivals Edinburgh, Mayor Of London, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Visit Britain and Visit Scotland.

The London 2012 Festival is the finale of the Cultural Olympiad. Since the Cultural Olympiad started in 2008 over 18 million people all over the UK have already participated in or attended over 9,000 performances and more than 8,000 workshops as part of Cultural Olympiad programmes inspired by London 2012 and funded by our principal funders and sponsors.

A selection of high resolution images from the programme press launch will be available for download from 11:30 GMT using the following link: 

A selection of London 2012 Festival press images are available for download using the following link:    

Ruth Mackenzie, Director, Cultural Olympiad & London 2012 Festival, said:  ‘The London 2012 Festival will be the largest cultural celebration in our lifetime. With new work from the best musicians, comics, artists, film makers and more, there will be arts events taking place in unusual places all over the UK that will showcase the best in international culture when the eyes of the world are on us this summer. I would like to thank our Premier Partners BP and BT and Principal Funders Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor for making it possible.’

Tony Hall, Chair of the Cultural Olympiad Board, said: ‘Over 18 million people have already participated in or attended over 9,000 performances and more than 8,000 workshops as part of Cultural Olympiad programmes, and the London 2012 Festival will be enjoyed by millions more this summer. The publication today of the full programme is a proud moment for all involved and I must pay tribute to the vision and creativity of the LOCOG culture team and our wonderful partners across the UK and internationally.’

Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, said: ‘The 2012 Games provides a unique chance to showcase Britain to the World. The London 2012 Festival highlights the enormous wealth of world class culture that this country has to offer, providing opportunities for everyone, everywhere to get involved and be inspired.’


Press Enquiries:
Paul Woodmansey
LOCOG Press Officer – Culture, Ceremonies & Education
Direct line: 0203 2012 461
Mobile: 07825 980 398
Press Office: 0203 2012 100
Erica Bolton
Bolton & Quinn Ltd
Mobile: 07711 698 186
Office: 020 7221 5000

Notes to editors:

London 2012 Games partners:
The Worldwide Olympic Partners who support the London 2012 Olympic Games and the National Olympic Committees around the world are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos, Dow, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter and Gamble, Samsung and Visa.

LOCOG has seven domestic Tier One Partners – adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT, EDF and Lloyds TSB. There are seven domestic Tier Two Supporters – Adecco, ArcelorMittal, Cadbury, Cisco, Deloitte, Thomas Cook and UPS. There are now twenty-eight domestic Tier Three Suppliers and Providers – Aggreko, Airwave, Atkins, Boston Consulting Group, CBS Outdoor, Crystal CG, Eurostar, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, G4S, GSK, Gymnova, Heathrow Airport, Heineken UK, Holiday Inn, John Lewis, McCann Worldgroup, Mondo, NATURE VALLEY, Next, Nielsen, Populous, Rapiscan Systems, Rio Tinto, Technogym, Thames Water, Ticketmaster, Trebor and Westfield.

There is one domestic Tier One Paralympic Games-only Partner, Sainsbury’s and one domestic Tier Three Paralympic Games-only Supplier, Otto Bock. The London 2012 Paralympic Games also acknowledges the support of the National Lottery.

London 2012 Festival partners:

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £0.85 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

Legacy Trust UK is an independent charity set up to create a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games across the UK

The Olympic Lottery Distributor is investing National Lottery money to fund the London 2012 Games. It is providing £16.6 million to support the Cultural Olympiad and is a principal funder of River of Music. It is also providing funding of £3.42 million to fund the network of Big Screens across the UK and will be providing up to £1.8 billion for the infrastructure of the Olympic Park and other Olympic facilities across the UK. More information about the Olympic Lottery Distributor can be found at 

BP’s support for arts and culture goes back more than 30 years and includes long-term partnerships with the British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Opera House and Tate Britain. As a Premier Partner of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, BP is continuing its ongoing commitment to UK arts and culture. Working with LOCOG and its arts partners, BP is helping to deliver several programmes and events that will inspire young people and provide opportunities for everyone across the UK to be part of London 2012. These include the World Shakespeare Festival with the British Museum and Royal Shakespeare Company; BP Portrait Award: Next Generation with the National Portrait Gallery; The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games with the Royal Opera House and The Olympic Museum and The Tate Movie Project with Tate, Legacy Trust UK and the BBC.

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services, operating in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to our customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services.  BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale. BT is the official communications services partner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, a Sustainability Partner and a Premier Partner of the London 2012 Festival. In the year ended 31 March 2011, BT Group’s revenue was £20,076 million with profit before taxation of £1,717 million. British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group.

BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.  For more information, visit