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2012 London Arts Festival

Announced last week, next year's LAF will start with a bang... or should we say ring?

Written by . Published on November 14th 2011.


2012 London Arts Festival

THE London Arts Festival was announced last week, along with details of thousands of shows and events that will be performed across the UK in collaboration with the 2012 Olympics. So if woman’s volleyball or slalom kayaking doesn’t take your fancy, then maybe an eclectic mix of dance, theatre, art, film, fashion and food will. Intending to start in coordination with the Olympic Games, the event will run throughout the twelve-week period, with the final event finishing on 9 September, the last day of the Paralympics. 

If this doesn’t tickle your artistic taste buds then other enticing events include a free music festival headlined by Leona Lewis and the screening of classic Hitchcock films across a variety of London locations

The occasion will open with an almighty extravaganza, a non-stop three-minute nationwide bell ringing, headed by Turner-Award winning artist, Martin Creed. Bells across the country will be struck in unison as quickly and as loudly as possible at 8am on 21 June, with Creed urging the public to get involved in any way possible – with the use of church bells, school bells, hand bells and even bicycle bells as all welcome methods of participation.

The Games’ opening ceremony director, and renowned British filmmaker, Danny Boyle, states that he is “delighted that we will start the day with a real feeling of celebration right across the UK”.

Martin Creed - giving Quosimodo a run for his money in more ways than oneMartin Creed - giving Quosimodo a run for his money in more ways than one

Other famous figureheads also take the limelight in the festival’s artistic category, with art exhibitions including Yoko Ono at the Serpentine Gallery, Damien Hirst at The Tate Modern and the late Lucian Freud at The National Portrait Gallery. If this doesn’t tickle your artistic taste buds then other enticing events include a free music festival headlined by Leona Lewis and the screening of classic Hitchcock films across a variety of London locations.

Shows such as The World Shakespeare Festival, Poetry Parnassus and Big Dance, will also star as the festival’s main highlights – each claiming to be bigger than any previous celebration done in their field. To appreciate the scale of this undertaking, the Cultural Olympiad are intending to sell nearly a million tickets for just 70 productions, on the title of Sir William alone. 

Flushed and not amused, Shakespeare prepares himself for yet anothr world tourFlushed and not amused, Shakespeare prepares himself for yet another world tour

In contrast to the actual Games, sites for this festival are nationwide – with some locations including Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, the Giant’s Causeway, Lake Windermere and Hadrian’s Wall, where the latter is to be transformed by the New York art collective YesYesNo into an 86-mile long art installation. Even pre-historic Stonehenge will be involved in the nation’s entertainment, by turning this heritage site into ‘a glowing fairy-tale environment’.

Celebrities and designers alike, such as Cate Blanchett, Tracey Emin and Jude Law will also participate in the festivities, with names such as Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood adding influence where possible by merging with leading visual artists to create new and unique exhibitions for the arts show.

His hairline may be about to hit neck, but Jude Law remains an avid art fanHis hairline may be about to hit neck, but Jude Law remains an avid art fan

Not only will visitors be fortunate of having an array of cultural endeavors on their doorstep throughout the forthcoming summer, but organizers also state that tickets will be free of charge – nearly ten million of them. 

With £52.4m being channelled into this event, and more than 1,000 performances going on nationwide in addition to the Olympic Games, it’s no wonder London has claimed centre stage in the world;s cultural market. Despite all current economic conditions, the UK has managed yet again to lure its way onto global headlines, not necessarily for the sheer magnitude of cutting-edge culture creeping its way onto the nation’s social scene, but more likely as a result of the utter absurdity of it all.

Ever since the decision for London to host the games was announced four years ago, the city has tried to muster as much as enthusiasm as it had electing a Mayor, and though route masters and Boris bikes were pleasant products of this decision, it does not stand without reason, that the city – let alone the country – had any contribution in coming to this conclusion, despite all its frivolities. 

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