London 2012 Festival

Page was last changed Jan 4th, 2012 @ 16:10:34

2012 will see London host the Olympics, with the London 2012 festival set to celebrate the global sporting event.

With celebrations ranging from dance, music, theatre, fashion, food, art and film, there is something for everybody who wants to get involved in the Olympic spirit.

Not restricted to the capital, there are many events happening Nationwide, a large percentage are free or reasonably priced, with many ideal for everyone from families to culture enthusiasts.


Encompassing the aim of the Cultural Olympiad, the project aims to inspire creativity and community through various forms of arts and culture.

For many the main Olympic event itself may be out of reach to them, but through local projects and performances surrounding the Cultural Olympiad, everyone can feel part of the Olympic celebrations.


The events are split into the following categories:

  • Art Events
  • Outdoor & Carnival Events
  • Comedy Events
  • Dance Events
  • Film Events
  • Museum & Heritage Events
  • Book Events
  • Theatre & Performance Events
  • Music Events
  • Fashion Events
  • Kids & Family Specific Events
  • Food Events

Happening all around the UK, you can search by genre and price on the main website to find an event suitable for you.

The Official Opening Ceremony: Music act confirmations and rumours.

Amongst the Parade of Athletes, Speeches, Oaths, The Torch and lighting of The Cauldron, The Olympic Anthem will be played with the entry and raising of the Olympic Flag.

No musical acts have been announced, although rumours have been circulating regarding an appearance from Ringo Starr and a reunited Pink Floyd, however both rumours have been denied.

Many predict that UK stars that have hit international fame, such as Leona Lewis, Adele and Jessie J, may perform, and there are also several campaigns petitioning for UK Heavy Metal legends Iron Maiden to perform.

One appearance that can be speculated is a performance from the Mercury Prize Winning band Elbow, who have composed the BBC's Official Olympic soundtrack.

Highlights and ones to watch

Inside London

  • Hackney Weekend: featuring Tinie Tempah, Leona Lewis and Plan B, the annual free ticket music festival run by Radio 1, will take place in London's Hackney Marshes. (23RD-24TH JUNE)
  • BT River Of Music Festival: showcasing music from around the world, various iconic locations along the River Thames will feature live music from each continent. Acts confirmed so far include Scissor Sister, Naturally 7, Baaba Maal and Angelique Kidjo (21ST-22ND JULY)
  • Dr Dee Opera: Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, English National Opera and the London 2012 Festival, theatre director Rufus Norris and musician Damon Albarn created an opera, inspired by comic book author Alan Moore and telling the tale of John Dee, the medical and scientific advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, following a succesful run in Manchester, the Opera will have it's London debut during the festival.
  • The Barbican's Bauhaus Exhibition: Featuring a performance from Cate Blanchett in Gross Und Klein, further details of the biggest Bauhaus exhibition in the UK can be found on the Barbican website.
  • The Big Dance: With the aim of five million people participating, choreographer Wayne McGregor will lead 2,000 dancers in a choreographed performance in London's Trafalgar Square. Everybody around the world will be encouraged to join, with particular attention drawn to school children, as The British Council will aim to encourage them to break the world record for the largest multi-location dance routine ever performed.

Outside London

  • CUMBRIA, ENGLAND: French Pyrotechnicians Les Commandioa Percu are to host a bold display of fire, light and sound with the beautiful scenic backdrop of Lake Windermere.

  • STIRLING CASTLE, SCOTLAND: Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Orchestra are to perform with young people from the Raploch Estate at Scotland's Stirling Castle.

  • BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND: Weltethos, a new and epic choral performance will take place in Birmingham Symphony. Described as a "a manifesto for world peace, celebrates the common values of different faiths and traditions, drawing on texts from Confucianism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity."

  • DERRY/LONDONDERRY, IRELAND: The Peace One Day concert Global Truce 2012 marks the three-month countdown to Peace Day, on Sept 21. Headline acts are yet to be confirmed but actor Jude Law is set to lead the parade.


  • Martin Creed's Work No.1197: As part of an art project conceived by artist Martin Creed, everybody nationwide will be encouraged to ring bells for three minutes at 8am on the opening day of the Olympic games.

Whether it's Church bells, school bells, last-order bells, door bells, bicycle bells, sleigh bells or cow bells, Creed wants thousands of volunteers to come together and create Work No.1197, A vision where all the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes.

He states that "“To me, the whole point of it is that whenever I’ve heard a load of bells ringing I’ve thought it was an amazing noise. I think if all the bells in Britain rang it would be a brilliant sound, you know?”.

Nationwide and global dedications to the works of Shakespeare, with big budget productions from many separate art organisations alongside hundreds of amateur productions.

All types of interpretations can be expected ranging from Hip-Hop Shakespeare to Romeo & Juliet In Baghdad. Further details can be found here

Location, travel and accommodation.

It's very dependent on what event you would like to see, but we would highly recommend using sites like Trip Advisor, Last, Ebookers and Late to help you with your flight and accommodation needs.

Festival contact and ticket information.

If there is a particular event you wish to attend it's important to do your research as events fall into these categories:

  • Free and walk in events.
  • Free events were tickets will still need to be booked.
  • Paid Events.

You can also sign up to the newsletter and select what genres you are interested in.

To browse the events by categories, price and times, visit the Official London 2012 Website and use the top search bar to select your favoured options.