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Full programme announced for London 2012 Festival | reviews, news & interviews

Full programme announced for London 2012 Festival

Full programme announced for London 2012 Festival

12,000 events featuring 25,000 artists from all 204 participating Olympic nations 

Noisettes Shingai Shoniwa and Dan Smith present the London 2012 Festival brochure at the Tower of London Justin Setterfield/LOCOG

The full programme is announced today for the London 2012 Festival, from 21 June-9 September, celebrating the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Among more than 25,000 artists from all 204 participating nations, star names include theatre stars Cate Blanchett, Alan Ayckbourn, Mike Leigh and Julie Walters, musicians Damon Albarn, Daniel Barenboim, Gustavo Dudamel, Gilberto Gil, Zakir Hussain, Yoko Ono, Simon Rattle, Rihanna and Scissor Sisters, visual artists Ai Wei Wei, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and Anish Kapoor, and TV characters Stephen Fry, Wallace and Gromit and Dr Who.

More than 10 million free tickets and participation opportunities are offered in 12,000 events and performances, 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 at

Highlights include:

  • BT River of Music: 160,000 free tickets for six Thames-side concerts, with line-ups including Scissor Sisters, Baaba Maal, The Noisettes, Matthew Herbert, Mariza and Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra featuring Wynton Marsalis. Full details of the programme
BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend: 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.  
Traction, a one-day festival at Granary Square, London, curated by Radio 1 DJ Gilles Peterson, featuring music and performance collaborations from across Europe. Mercury prize nominee Ghostpoet and London artist Plugs are signed up. Full details here
Comedy: 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 most beautiful West End theatre, the Criterion.
Fashion and art collaborations: London will celebrate its contribution to fashion with a series of collaborations involving designers 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: two kinds of transformation - a free fire spectacular at the monument itself, and the nationwide touring of Jeremy Deller's life-size bouncy castle version of it.
  • Contemporary dance names Michael Clark, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and Elizabeth Streb animate unusual spaces -  a classic of De Keersmaeker's in Tate Modern, a new creation by Clark in Glasgow's Barrowland Ballroom, and Streb's acrobatic troupe interacting with London landmarks in extreme action. An anthology of the late Pina Bausch's World Cities danceworks performed by Tanztheater Wupperthal - Pina Bausch is shared between the Barbican and Sadler's Wells theatres. 

  • Car art: A collection of BMW cars with artistic bodywork by Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons will go on show, and artist RIchard Wilson will recreate the final scene of The Italian Job inside Bexhill's De La Warr Pavilion.
  • Bandstand Marathon: more than 500 bandstands and performance spaces will simultaneously come alive with music.
  • See No Evil: Europe’s biggest urban arts festival featuring street art, cutting edge music and 3D mapping projections will pop-up in Bristol, acts including Adrian Utley of Portishead working with AntiVJ, Bristol artists Inkie, China Mike and Jody Thomas.
  • Busk on the Usk: a new free festival for Newport, Wales, featuring live music, literature, spoken-word, and street theatre as well as art and food events, produced by Wales’ award-winning independent Green Man music and arts festival and Scritti Politti.

  • 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.
  • Stockhausen unveiled: Birmingham Opera will stage the world premiere of Stockhausen’s 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 115ft-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.

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."

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