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July events in London 2012

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East End Film Festival

Rich Mix Centre

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East End Film Festival
Hard Rock Calling
London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony
The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games
BT Road to 2012
The Chap Olympiad
Kew the Music
London Literature Festival


July may culminate with the eagerly anticipated London Olympics but there's so much on in town before the official opening ceremony on 27th July: music festivals in Hyde Park, comedy and film festivals, three huge dance events, plus big names including Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Daniel Barenboim and Titian.


East End Film Festival

Festival set up in response to the creative spark in East End movie-making

Rich Mix Centre, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, London, E1 6LA

Tube: Old Street Station


Dates: 4th to 11th July 2015


The East End Film Festival brings a stunning line up of premieres, talks and summery outdoor screenings to the East End's arts venues. And in 2012 the programme features CINE-EAST, a fringe festival which includes day of free cinema and live events across 100 East End venues with a focus on Revolutionary cinema. Jellied eels, pie and mash, and Cockney rhyming slang have to be among the top reasons to visit the East End but it'll be more canapes and dinner party chat as arty types descend on this part of London for six days. But don't let that put you off - the East End Film Festival at Rich Mix and a host of other venues has its roots in poor artistes flocking east for cheap rents and the multi-cultural buzz. This gave rise to a burgeoning arts scene - bands, film-makers, artists - and the festival came about in 2001 as a response to the creative spark in East End movie-making. The expansion of the festival in the last few years has allowed a more international vibe to flourish and this year promises to be their best yet with a potent blend of contemporary British and world cinema. Highlights include a free open air screening on Saturday 7th July of Nosferatu in Spitalfields Market with a 60-person choir and projections  - bring a picnic and blanket. And there's a free open air Gromit-building class with Aardman, join them in their world Gromit building record attempt, suitable for all ages.


Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

The horticultural show includes the fragrant Festival of Roses


Henry VIII built one of the finest gardens in the world at Hampton Court Palace, so it is only fitting that the world's largest horticultural show should take place there. Hampton Court Palace Flower Show includes displays from over 150 specialist nurseries. Some are beautiful, complex works of living art, filled with rare blooms and water features. However, many are on a smaller scale, and should give you ideas for improving your own garden. The Festival of Roses is Britain's largest annual display of roses in full bloom; the sweet scent is overwhelming, as is the sight of thousands of stunning roses blooming all under one roof. During the final afternoon many of the exhibitors sell off their plants at bargain prices - you can bet the gardening gloves come off for this free-for-all. Public tickets go on sale on 1st December, for more information visit the official RHS website.


Kew the Music

Status Quo, James Morrison and Gipsy Kings take to the stage at Kew

Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AB

Tube: Kew Gardens Station


Dates: 7th to 12th Jul 2015


Kew the Music returns for summer 2012 and will be providing a stellar line-up of events this July. The six-day festival offers a series of outdoor picnic concerts set against the backdrop of the Victorian Temperate House. The line-up sees the likes of Status Quo, James Morrison and Gipsy Kings take to the stage, as well as special guests Tim Minchin and The Straits. For the ultimate picnic there is also the option to VIP your evening with picnic hampers, a BBQ at the Pavilion Restaurant and reserved seating.


Dance GB - The Olympic Project

The UK's three national dance companies join forces for first time

Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, London, SE10 9LW

Tube: New Cross Station (East London line closed. Bus service operates)


Dates: 04th - 08th July 2012


The UK's three national dance companies come to town to perform in a Big Top in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich. The English National Ballet, National Dance Company Wales and Scottish Ballet join forces for the first time to perform works specially choreographed by Martin Lawrance, Christopher Bruce and Itzik Galili. Each piece has been inspired by the Olympic ideal - 'faster, higher, stronger'. The historic and beautiful grounds of the Old Royal Naval College will be pulsating with energy throughout the day from 4 to 10 July with masterclasses, demonstrations, workshops and even a cabaret. A great day out for friends and families whether you want to join in or just watch some inspirational dance by the UK's three national dance companies.


Rhod Gilbert: The Man With The Flaming Battenberg Tattoo

The Welsh comedian shows his laid-back side

Hammersmith Apollo, 45 Queen Caroline Street, London, W6 9QH

Tube: Hammersmith Station


Dates: 05th - 07th July 2012


Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert regularly uses his stand-up shows to vent his frustrations but in The Man with the Flaming Battenberg Tattoo, we see a more laid-back attitude. He may have let someone tattoo a Battenberg on him but that's all the flaming the new, chilled-out Rhod is doing. A regular on TV and radio shows, he has his own BBC series 'Ask Rhod Gilbert' - featuring Gilbert, Greg Davies and Lloyd Langford answering random trivia questions - and in January 2012 he began filming Series 3 of Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience, which sees him taken on jobs such as a zoo keeper and a primary school teacher. His latest nationwide tour comes to London's Hammersmith Apollo for three dates in July.


London Literature Festival

World class literature and spoken word performances

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station, Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 20th May - 08th September 2013


The Southbank Centre serves up its annual dose of world class literature with a delectable array of spoken word performances, exciting new collaborations, workshops and talks from major writers and thinkers from around the world. Pairing up with literary organisation Apples and Snakes on a project named Shake the Dust, they aim to evoke the power of youth and celebrate young voices by encouraging them to have a go at spoken word performance. Young literary enthusiasts from across the UK will be offered the chance to gain inspiration from leading performance poets and to share their own stories through poetry. Slam events will take place across the country before a live finale takes place at the Southbank on July 7th. This will be the sixth year the festival celebrates all things literary and the event never fails to disappoint, previous speakers have included literary greats such as Philip Pullman, Bret Easton Ellis, Andrea Levy, Barbara Kingsolver and Jeanette Winterson.



Orbital make their comeback at London's brand new Bloc festival

London Pleasure Gardens, Royal Victoria Docks, London, E16 2BS

Tube: Canning Town Station


Dates: 06th - 07th July 2012


2012 sees the arrival of a new festival on the Bloc, set against the dramatic backdrop of London's docklands. If you like your festivals to come with a slightly apocalyptic edge and an atmospherically charged setting (and who doesn't?) then this should be right up your street. With post-industrial derelict buildings looming ominously above the 30m geodesic dome stage on the water's edge and an exciting line-up of dance and electronic acts Bloc 2012 is certainly worth a look. Veteran dance act Orbital make their comeback to the UK festival scene and headline at Bloc alongside Snoop Dogg, Gary Numan, Hudson Mohawke, Squarepusher and Detroit exports Jeff Mills and Carl Craig. Although Bloc is now in its sixth year it has previously been located in Butlin's or Pontin's holiday resorts out of town. The festival sprung from the minds of the Glastonbury party people behind Shangri-La and promises a 'rock-solid sense of community and togetherness', with this sunny attitude plus a totally unique setting and a stellar line-up, Bloc is certainly an exciting addition to the festival calendar.


Stadia: Sport and Vision in Architecture

Sir John Soane's Museum explores the origins of great sporting arenas

Sir John Soane's Museum, 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, Holborn, London, WC2A 3BP

Tube: Holborn Station, Chancery Lane Station


Dates: 06th July - 22nd September 2012


This exhibition explores the origins of the world's great sporting arenas and the momentous events that have been housed within their stadium walls. This is a unique chance for sport and architecture enthusiasts to take a close look at the relationship between history's sporting events and the iconic structures in which they took place. From the violent and bloody Roman games to the religious inspired competitions of ancient Greece, it couldn't be more relevant as London enters its Olympic year. Sir John Soane's Museum offers visitors the chance to journey through time and understand the architectural developments which have influenced the creation of the current Stratford stadium.


Wireless with Barclaycard

Rihanna, Jessie J and Labrith all appear at this year's Wireless Festival

Finsbury Park, Endymion Road, London, N4 1EE

Tube: Manor House Station


Dates: 04th - 06th July 2014


Celebrating its eighth consecutive year, Wireless with Barclaycard returns with a bang in 2012; Rihanna will be taking to the stage for one of her much anticipated UK summer performances. The sexy Barbadian has had us hook line and sinker ever since that frustratingly catchy single Umbrella back in 2007, and with her feisty attitude and chameleon appearance we've been obsessed with her ever since. Sure to put on an outrageous show, the sale of tickets for this one off live performance is bound to put mouse clicking into overdrive. It has also been announced that some of 2011's biggest stars will be joining Rihanna in the line up, including Jessie J, Labrinth and the phenomenal Calvin Harris - creating the opportune moment for a possible performance of the smash hit 'We Found Love'. Wireless has firmly established itself as one of London's major outdoor live music events, attracting crowds of over 20,000 for each of the three days. It may lack the atmosphere of a traditional camping festival such as Glastonbury - the weirdoes in costumes, stalls, tepees, organic cafes and strange entertainments have been replaced by blandly corporate fare and giant logos - but while there's definitely less of a community feel, the line-ups are consistently excellent, with Jay-Z, Pink, Kanye West and Daft Punk all featuring in recent years.


The Chap Olympiad

A celebration of buffoonery and sporting ineptitude

Bedford Square Gardens, Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 5BL

Tube: Russell Square Station, Holborn Station


Dates: Saturday 11th July 2015


Not so much a sporting occasion as a celebration of buffoonery and sporting ineptitude, orchestrated by The Chap magazine, for gentlemen (and gentlewomen) of good taste, The Chap Olympiad is a spiffing sporting event. Bedford Square Gardens, centred on one of the best preserved set pieces of Georgian architecture in London, is a fitting backdrop for such a distinguished sporting event. The ten Olympic races can all be entered by members of the public - as long as they're not wearing sportswear. Sporting events include Umbrella Jousting, using bicycles and brollies instead of horses and lances and the Tug of Hair in which a rope is substituted for a lengthy handlebar moustache. Yikes! Good old fashioned fun for tweed loving chaps and chapettes - and this year the event runs over a full two days with music and dancing and Pimms by the bucket load. Tickets are available from Bourne & Hollingsworth or Ticketweb. To find out more go to The Chap website.

(The original dates for this event were 21st and 22nd July but they have since been changed to 7th and 8th July. We apologise for any inconvenience.)


Dance Al Fresco

Dancers ditch the ballroom and head to Regent's Park

Regent's Park, Inner Circle, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4NR

Tube: Regent's Park Station


Dates: 13th - 14th July 2013


Dancers leave behind the safety of the ballroom and take their moves outdoors as Dance Al Fresco returns to London's Regent's Park in 2012. Picnickers and dog-walkers stopped and stared as dancers first strutted their al fresco moves in 1998, performing the emotionally charged Argentine Tango, a dance which originated in the back streets of Buenos Aires in the 19th Century. Come rain, shine, or good old British drizzle Dance Al Fresco is now a much loved summer highlight and has a great line up of professional dancers. Previous stars included Strictly Come Dancing's Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace. The shows are free for spectators, but if you're after a bit more excitement then get your dancing shoes on and join in with one of the ticketed dance classes, all proceeds go towards tree planting in the park.


The British 10K London Run

30,000 people expected to run 10K through the city streets from Hyde Park Corner

Hyde Park Corner Tube, Knightsbridge, Belgravia, London, SW1X 7TA

Tube: Hyde Park Corner Station


Dates: 13th July 2014


Now in its twelfth year, this huge annual fundraiser has made the second Sunday in July all its own; the 2012 British 10K London Run takes place on Sunday 8th July with nearly 30,000 runners expected to take to the streets of the capital. Starting at Hyde Park Corner the course heads down Piccadilly and Pall Mall to Trafalgar Square, along the Embankment to the City, taking in St Paul's and Tower Bridge, and finally back to Whitehall, looping past the London Eye on the way. The runners are joined by a bunch of celebrities and athletics champions; both Steve Cram and Haile Gebrselassie have participated in previous races. Last year, the event was won by Bernard Rotich logging an impressive time of 29 minutes. Ten kilometres is a fair old way for newcomers to running but by no means impossible. If you fancy the challenge of racing against fellow Londoners, then visit the official website but do it soon as history proves this will be a sell out event. If running's not your thing, then why not come along anyway and enjoy a day out in the sun (hopefully).


Metamorphosis: Titian 2012

Choreographers, composers, poets and visual artists respond to Titian with their own masterpieces

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London, WC2N 5DN

Tube: Charing Cross Station, Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Covent Garden Station


Dates: 11th July - 23rd September 2012


Bringing together contemporary artists with paintings by Renaissance master Titian, Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 will see choreographers, composers, poets and visual artists responding with inspiration to create their own masterpieces; their work will be displayed at the National Gallery and performed by the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House. One of the most versatile Italian painters and considered 'The Sun Amidst Small Stars' by his peers, Titian evoked a great influence on painters with the Italian Renaissance with works of landscapes, portraits and backgrounds all of equal quality. Three of the artist's major paintings are at the centre of the exhibition - Diana and Actaeon, The Death of Actaeon and Diana and Callisto - and these have inspired three British contemporary artists: Chris Ofili, Conrad Shawcross and Mark Wallinger to create new settings for the ballets at the Royal Opera House. On 16th July a special performance of the ballets will be broadcast live on a screen in Trafalgar Square. The event has also enabled the National Gallery to commission work by poets such as Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy who have also gained inspiration from Titian and the Diana series.


Rushes Soho Shorts Festival 2012

10 days of short but scintillating movies at cinemas throughout Soho and beyond

ICA Cinema 1, The Mall, Westminster, St James's, London, SW1Y 5AH

Tube: Charing Cross Station, Piccadilly Circus Station


Dates: 18th - 25th July 2013


Proving that great things come in small packages the Rushes Soho Shorts Festival celebrates UK and International filmmaking with 10 days of exciting visual treats. London's screens will be graced by a variety of contemporary delights ranging from live action to animation, fiction to factual, and a whole lot of experimental action to boot. The festival awards new and established filmmakers for their work and also offers viewers the chance to join in a range of discussions and debates. Plenty of familiar faces and recognisable names feature in the programme and in the films themselves. Catch some of these short but scintillating movies in July 2012 at cinemas throughout Soho and beyond. For the latest listings visit the official website.


Play Without Words

See Matthew Bourne's wickedly 1960s satirical dance drama at Sadler's Wells

Sadler's Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell, London, EC1R 4TN

Tube: Angel Station


Dates: 12th July - 05th August 2012


The sounds of the swinging sixties hit Sadler's Wells as Matthew Bourne's wickedly satirical dance drama Play Without Words returns for its first revival since it premiered at the National Theatre ten years ago. This sexy and thrilling play tells the story of domestic social order in a suave 1965 Chelsea household. Revolving around the master of the house, his beautiful fiancee and their new servant Prentice. With a jazzy score and Olivier-nominated production this play should get the summer off to a swingingly seductive start. Aged 12+


The Proms 2012

A varied but accessible programme of classical music, mixing the popular and the innovative

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London, SW7 2AP

Tube: South Kensington Station


Dates: 13th July - 08th September 2012


All eyes return to the Royal Albert Hall for the 2012 Proms as the most popular season of classical music in England continues to go from strength to strength. A varied but accessible programme regularly draws huge audiences, concluding on the last night with seas of Union Jack-waving Brits belting out their national anthem. The aim, for the past 100 years, has been to mix the popular and familiar with the surprising and innovative, so if you go to a concert to hear some favourite piece, you may leave having discovered a whole new composer. Five hundred standing tickets for each concert are available on the door for just five pounds, so top international orchestras and soloists, programmes that mix the adventurous and the accessible, and a real sense of fun can all be had for half the price of a central London cinema ticket. There are also chamber music concerts and Saturday matinees in Cadogan Hall and outdoor events throughout the country. You should turn up early for the biggest stars - and queue overnight if you want to get into the fabled Last Night of the Proms. Alternatively, join Terry Wogan and thousands of revellers in the annual Proms in the Park closing party in Hyde Park.


Hard Rock Calling

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band headline the Hyde Park music festival


Now in its seventh consecutive year, Hard Rock Calling returns to Hyde Park in July with Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band set to headline. They make their welcome return to the Hard Rock stage after an unforgettable performance back in 2009. Usually found sporting a familiar double-denim ensemble Springsteen (also known as The Boss) is known for his emotive brand of heartland rock and has sold more than 120 million albums worldwide and picked up an impressive collection of Grammys during his five-decade spanning career. Festival goers should expect some of his iconic hits including Born in the U.S.A, Dancing in the Dark and Born to Run, alongside a few new surprises at what should be an unmissable occasion under the stars in London's back garden. The three-day festival saw over 150,000 music lovers flock to one of the capital's best loved parks for three days of superb entertainment and live music in 2011. Recent performers at the festival include Bon Jovi, Stevie Nicks, Pearl Jam, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney. Keep checking the official website for the latest line-up additions.


Ealing Comedy Festival

Al Murray and Adandoman perform at the festival in Walpole Park

Walpole Park, Mattock Lane, London, W5 5BQ

Tube: Ealing Broadway Station


Dates: 11th - 18th July 2014


The annual Ealing Comedy Festival returns to Walpole Park in Ealing this July and is sure to feature another stellar line-up of comedy acts. The likes of Ed Byrne, Stephen K Amos, Alistair McGowan, Omid Djalili, Lee Mack and Sean Lock have all appeared over the last few year, making this one of the most renowned comedy festivals of the year. This year sees pub landlord Al Murray and musical comedian Rob Broderick - aka front man of Abandoman – take to the stage. Running for five nights under the big top tent, the Comedy Festival is part of the Ealing Summer Festivals programme.


Big Dance

Nine days of unusual dance events taking place across the city

Trafalgar Square, Central, Westminster, London, WC2N 5DS

Tube: Charing Cross Station, Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Piccadilly Circus Station


Dates: 14th July 2012


The biennial Big Dance festival is back, turning London into the dance capital for nine days in July, and this year they will be limbering up with a seven week countdown period as part of the London 2012 Festival. Taking place at a variety of unusual venues across the city, the scale of this frenzy of dance activities is huge with events organised through a series of 'hubs' including shopping centres, galleries, parks and lidos. The toe-tapping event is coordinated by leading dance organisations: East London Dance, English National Ballet, Greenwich Dance Agency, Sadler's Wells and Siobhan Davies Dance. There's a huge diversity of dance to be enjoyed from the traditional to the popular, as well as artistic and religious dances. Suffice to say that you should not be surprised if - when venturing into any public space in London during this period - it turns out to have a troupe of female Morris dancers, a posse of head-spinning hip-hoppers, or a whirlwind of spinning capoeiristas gyrating around. Many of the events offer participation or free classes so if you're a closet groover this is your chance to strut your stuff. For full details of all the events on offer, go to the official website.


Somerset House Summer Series

Paloma Faith, Anna Calvi and The Enemy drop into the Somerset House courtyard

Somerset House, Strand, Covent Garden, London, WC2R 1LA

Tube: Temple Station


Dates: Every day 7.30pm


Some of the best current live acts drop into the central courtyard of Somerset House for this year's Summer Series. It's an idyllic, intimate, calming, escapist location for a concert on a summer's evening and as a breeze drifts in off the Thames you'll forget the city bustle outside and tune into some great music, surrounded by one of eighteenth century London's most spectacular buildings. The fortnight kicks of with quirky Australian comedian Tim Minchin, Peckham born dubstep singer Katy B, soul diva Jill Scott, four-piece indie band Temper Trap, Mercury prize nominated Anna Calvi, British rockers The Enemy and stylish songstress Paloma Faith. The sound of sandaled feet dancing on cobbled stones encapsulates all that is great about British summertime, so be sure to pay a visit to the Somerset House website if you want to grab one of these sell-out tickets.



Madonna comes to London's Hyde Park for one of only two UK dates in 2012

Hyde Park, Rangers Lodge, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH

Tube: Knightsbridge Station


Dates: 17th July 2012


Madonna comes to London's Hyde Park on July 17th 2012, one of only two UK dates on her World Tour 2012 which takes in arenas, stadiums and outdoor sites from the Plains of Abraham in Quebec to South America and Australia where she hasn't performed in 20 years. Expect a raft of recent material from her latest album, MDNA, plus the whole back-catalogue of former classics. These will no doubt be sung by an energetic Madonna, surrounding by topless hulks and a spectacular set. Madge really needs no introduction - she's a pop phenomenon, the master of reinvention whose longstanding success is marked in Number 1 hits (a record breaking 40), and albums sold - over 300 million and counting. She also holds the record for the most successful tour by a solo artist. Showing no signs of slowing down, her last CD 'Hard Candy' debuted at Number 1 in 37 countries including US, UK, Canada, France and Australia. This latest tour is Madonna's 9th since her first Virgin Tour in 1985 and Hyde Park is a wonderful open air location to see the queen of pop play live.


The Unilever Series: Tino Sehgal

Londoner Tino Sehgal takes on the annual commission for the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall

Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG

Tube: Blackfriars Station


Dates: 24th July - 28th October 2012


Ground-breaking installation artist Tino Sehgal takes on the annual commission for the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall as part of the Cultural Olympiad finale in 2012. His work has previously explored social encounters through sound, dance and movement, whilst offering philosophical and economic debates. London born Sehgal is best known for his critically reflective creations, which often rely on live and physical interactions between artists and visitors. His 2002 This is Propaganda show included a female museum attendant who sang the titles of the work as visitors entered the room. Unrehearsed conversations, group participations and unique sets of rules always provoke emotional and intellectual responses.


Designed to Win

The Design Museum examines the role of science and technology in modern sport

Design Museum, 28 Shad Thames, Bankside, London, SE1 2YD

Tube: Tower Hill Station


Dates: 26th July - 18th November 2012


It's no longer the case that an athlete can simply pull on a pair of trainers and see who runs the fastest or jump on a bike and pedal across the line first; these days it's as much about the equipment and technology as it is about the sports itself. Designed to Win will be exploring how science, technology and athletes working together in harmony can enable competitors to push the boundaries and reach limits never met before. The show will feature the notorious Speedo LZR swimsuit, with ultrasonically welded material, and the aid of a better flow of oxygen to the muscles this suit has resulted in swimming records being well and truly beaten. A further design at the event includes the Shimano Di-2 electronic bicycle, which allows cyclists to change gear electronically. This event will look at moments where technology and design has enabled for sport to progress and move to the next level; it will celebrate these innovative creations and with work by designers, photographers and artists will look into the performance, safety and materials.


Desdemona at the Barbican

A tale of racism brings Shakespeare's character, Orthello to the Barbican stage

Barbican Hall, Silk Street, City, London, EC2Y 8DS

Tube: Barbican Station, Moorgate Station


Dates: 19th - 20th July 2012


As part of the World Shakespeare Festival, Nobel-prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison, director Peter Sellars and singer/songwriter Rokia Traoré are collaborating to bring Desdemona to the stage.The intimate performance offers an alternative and deeper view into the character from Shakespeare’s Othello. With close reading of Shakespeare, Morrison’s imagination began to roam and she initiated the idea of inventing the stories that Desdemona may have heard to inspire her yearning for a wider world. Sellars evolved this concept with the idea of using Desdemona’s maid, Barbary, asthe character these stories came from. As a result this play presents an insightful conversation between the Venetian beauty and her African nurse from beyond the grave.


BT River of Music

World class music from around the world, all for free

Trafalgar Square, Central, Westminster, London, WC2N 5DS

Tube: Charing Cross Station, Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Piccadilly Circus Station


Dates: 21st - 22nd July 2012


How about some world class music from around the world to get you warmed up for the London Olympics? BT has teamed up with the London 2012 Festival to put together a jam-packed line-up of free live music acts in the capital to celebrate the upcoming games. There will be six stages representing five continents. You will find a taste of Asia in Battersea Park, Africa in Jubilee Gardens, Europe in Trafalgar Square and Somerset House, the Americas at the Tower of London and Oceania in the Greenwich Old Royal Naval College. Artists confirmed are Scissor Sisters, Wynton Marsalis, Naturally 7 and Baaba Maal. Plus lots of regional work will represent the eclectic and eccentric musical tastes of the UK, projects including Coastal Voices - which will bring together vocal groups from Devon and Dorset's coastline to sing Nick Cave songs. Or Saxophone Massive - which will feature a staggering 200 saxophonists all blasting out a tune at Somerset House. With lots of international collaborations and plenty of opportunities for new musicians to play alongside more established artists the BT River of Music looks set to represent the diversity and spirit of the Olympic games. Tickets are free but some sites will require ticketed entry.


Camp in London

Pitch up just ten minutes away from the Olympic Village

Walthamstow Low Hall Sports Ground, Low Hall Sports Ground, South Access Road, London, E17 8AX



Dates: 26th July - 13th August 2012


London is the place to be in the summer of 2012 but the question is where to stay during all the fun and games? There's no doubt that London has an array of hotels, hostels and apartments all available, but how about camping. 'Tents in London?' we hear you cry - and, yes, Camp in London is offering exactly that. Located at Walthamstow Low Hall Sports Ground, just a ten minute commute from the Olympic Village lays this community of tents, pitched especially to celebrate the Olympics 2012. However, this isn't just any old camp site; with the sports ground specifically in use for Camp in London there will be a choice of pitch your own, ready pitched or luxury bell tents as well as camper vans, a bar, a stage, kid's area, toilets, showers and even Wi-Fi! There will also be an entertainment zone with live music, cultural displays and sports tournaments, plus two five day feature festivals making this a camping multi-festival. The Eat Festival will run from 1-5 August and will be a tantalising feast of food samples from local organic farmers; including cheese and cider makers, bakers, and curers, plus there will be live jazz and big bands. From 8-12 August will be the second festival; the See Hear Do Festival. A collection of unique arts and crafts will be showcased and available to buy, plus both emerging and established musicians, cultural groups and art workshops will all feature as further entertainment. Then finally, not forgetting the main event of London 2012; the Olympic Games, Camp in London will be adhering to the theme with a number of mini sports tournaments and try-a-sport opportunities, including Rugby, Netball, Ultimate Frisbee and Cricket. However if spectating is more your thing, simply sit back and watch the Olympic Games unfold on either the giant screen in the entertainment area, or the multiple other screens dotted around the site. Visit the official website for further information and to book tents of all varieties.


London Live Hyde Park

Head to Hyde Park for sporting action on big screens and live music in the evenings

Hyde Park, Rangers Lodge, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH

Tube: Knightsbridge Station


Dates: 27th July - 12th August 2012


London Live Hyde Park will provide unparalleled coverage of the London Olympic Games via six giant screens, including the UK's largest at 144m sq. Then, each evening, the main screen will transform into an exceptional live music stage bringing headline performances to the masses. Every Olympic medal competed for at the Games will be broadcast on the large screens, giving Londoners the opportunity to come together and enjoy the once in a lifetime event in a festival-like atmosphere. In addition to the evening headline music performances from 5.30pm onwards, there will also be live music throughout the day in smaller, more intimate performance spaces as well as outdoor arts performances with performers from the London Outdoor Arts Festival. There will also be six specially created 'have a go' areas where those of all ages and abilities will be able to try out a range of sporting activities from handball and hockey to athletics and equestrian simulators. There will be two large-scale concerts on the 27th July and 12th August to mark the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games. There are full details at, including how to register for tickets and information regarding the two other London Live events in Victoria Park and Trafalgar Square.


Martin Creed's Work No 1197: All the Bells

Start the Olympics by ringing a bell As Quickly and As Loudly As Possible for Three Minutes

St Mary-Le-Bow Church, Cheapside, City, London, EC2V 6AU

Tube: Mansion House Station, St. Paul's Station, Bank Station, Cannon Street Station


Dates: 27th July 2012


Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed invites everyone to join in the celebration of the start of the Olympics by ringing a bell As Quickly and As Loudly As Possible for Three Minutes. For his Work No. 1197 everyone will be invited to ring a bell, any bell - hand bell, door bell, school bell, tower bell, or last orders bell in a pub - between 8.00am and 8.03am BST on Friday 27th July 2012. Events, big and small, will be taking place on that day including ringing of church bells in prominent London locations at St Paul's Cathedral, St Mary-le-Bow (probably the most famous bells in the world), St Martin-in-the-Fields and St George the Martyr in Southwark. If you want to take part go to the website and see the interactive map to find a planned bell ringing event near you. The map also allows you to add your own event and let others know about it. Tune into BBC Radio 4 on the day and start ringing your bell on the final 8am 'beep' to be part of a unique nationwide event.


Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra: Beethoven's Symphonies

Young Arab and Israeli players perform contemporary music at The Proms

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London, SW7 2AP

Tube: South Kensington Station


Dates: 27th July 2012


Daniel Barenboim will bring the West Eastern Divan Orchestra - the group, largely made up of young Arab and Israeli players, he founded with the late Edward Said over 10 years ago - to the BBC Proms in 2012, performing all nine of Beethoven's symphonies and culminating with a performance of Beethoven 9 on the opening day of the Olympics on 27th July. The concerts will also feature works by living French composer Pierre Boulez, one of the most influential figures in contemporary music for the past 60 years. The Proms, a highlight of the London classical music calendar held annually at the Royal Opera House, run from 13th July to 8th September in 2012.


The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games

The history of the Games told through items on loan from The Olympic Museum

Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD

Tube: Covent Garden Station, Leicester Square Station


Dates: 27th July - 12th August 2012


To help London embrace the 2012 Olympics even further, The Royal Opera House will be collaborating with BP and The Olympic Museum to host The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games simultaneously to the Games themselves. With the aid of graphics, film and audio this two week exhibition will be looking back at the history of the Games and telling the Olympic story right back from ancient Greece; the home of the Games, then through the vision of Baron Pierre de Coubertin who was responsible for bringing them back to life centuries later. It will then explore all the moments that the Olympics have experienced over the years, covering stories and memorable moments from iconic Olympians. "Behind the great spectacle of the Olympic Games lie powerful human stories. The purpose of this exhibition is to inspire visitors by highlighting some of the remarkable athletes' tales from the rich history of the Games." Peter Mather, BP's Regional Vice President for Europe. The exhibition will showcase all the Olympic Medals since 1896 as well as all the Olympic Torches since 1936. The Hall of Champions will present stories and memorable achievements from athletes throughout the modern Olympics. "Exhibits from The Olympic Museum have been displayed in different Olympic host cities before, but this exhibition is particularly exciting; it is much more ambitious and will truly bring the Olympic spirit to London." Francis Gabet, Director of The Olympic Museum. Registration to attend the exhibition can be done through the Royal Opera House website.


Camden Fringe 2012

Four-week festival that brings together comedy, theatre, poetry and dance

Camden People's Theatre, 58-60 Hampstead Road, London, NW1 2PY

Tube: Warren Street Station, Euston Square Station, Euston Station, Great Portland Street Station


Dates: 28th July - 24th August 2014


Bringing together comedy, theatre, poetry, dance and much more, the Camden Fringe boasts 400 performances of 100-odd (and some very odd) shows across five venues in north London throughout August. (And there we were thinking a Camden Fringe was some sort of trendy hair coup to rival the Hoxton Mullet...) Whether you want to catch some of the edgiest stand-up around or witness a new twist on Shakespeare or watch a group of OAPs rap, the Camden Fringe has become the metaphorical David, ready "to challenge the Edinburgh Goliath" (The Guardian). Now in its seventh year, this rapidly growing four-week festival is offering fresh opportunity for both new and established acts to get themselves noticed in a creative environment outside Edinburgh. It also gives Londoners the chance to see a huge variety of shows - at £7.50 a pop - without having to trek all the way up to Scotland on a crowded train. Having started out in the Etcetera Theatre, the festival has shed its humble beginnings and now venues also include the Roundhouse and The Camden Head. Stand-out comedy shows in the past include the loveable Simon Amstell, the topical Shazia Mirza and the downright filthy Scott Capurro. The 2012 programme of events will not be announced until the spring so keep an eye on the official website for the latest. The organisers are always on the look out for exciting new performers so get your application forms in early.


Another London

20th-century photographs and iconic images which capture the spirit of London

Tate Britain, Millbank, Westminster, London, SW1P 4RG

Tube: Pimlico Station


Dates: 27th July - 16th September 2012


Tate Britain presents the work of around 150 20th-century photographs that focus on London as its key subject, featuring images by leading international photographers, including Bill Brandt, Henri-Cartier Bresson, Bruce Davidson and Elliot Erwitt. Many aspiring photographers came to London between 1930 and 1960 to take inspiration from the capital's communities and culture, the result was a unique collection of iconic images which capture the distinct spirit of London. This is a fascinating opportunity to see how the city was viewed from a foreign perspective, through the eyes (and lens) of visiting tourists, newly arrived residents and curious spectators.


Shakespeare: Staging the World

The British Museum gives an insight into Shakespeare's London

British Museum, Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 3DG

Tube: Tottenham Court Road Station, Russell Square Station, Holborn Station


Dates: 19th July - 25th November 2012


The British Museum has teamed up with the Royal Shakespeare Company this year to gain some insight into the nation's favourite playwright. There's no doubt that his work has dramatically shaped Britain's identity, and the British Museum now go about bringing Shakespeare's London back to life through a series of contemporary performances and a selection of objects from the Museum's impressive collection. Items will include maps, prints, drawings, paintings, armour, coins and medals and they will all be displayed to offer visitors a deeper understanding of the great man, his iconic stories and their continuing context. From Shylock and early modern Jewish culture, to Othello, Africa and the New World. The exhibition arrives as part of the World Shakespeare Festival which runs throughout 2012 and includes a tremendous line-up of events at various venues across the capital.


BT Road to 2012

Behind-the-scenes photographs of sporting, cultural and political figures in the build up to the Olympics

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

Tube: Leicester Square Station, Charing Cross Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Embankment Underground Station, Covent Garden Station


Dates: 19th July - 23rd September 2012


Share the story of the games so far with the National Portrait Gallery's exhibition of portraits. Featuring sporting, cultural and political figures in behind-the-scenes shots of the build up to the London Olympics. The show includes portraits of Sebastian Coe, Phillips Idowu and Danny Boyle, as well as local residents from the five Olympic Host Boroughs. Photographers include Brian Griffin, Emma Hardy and Finlay MacKay.


The Tanks Go Live

Arts festival marks opening of Tate Modern's new permanent gallery space from 18 July

Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, 25 Sumner Street, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG

Tube: Blackfriars Station


Dates: 18th July - 28th October 2012


The opening of Tate Modern's permanent Oil Tanks extension ("some of the most exciting new spaces for art in the world," Tate Modern director Nicholas Serota) is marked by a 15-week arts festival from 18 July to 28 October 2012, as part of the London 2012 Festival. The inaugural festival inside the Tanks will be the first chance the public will have to see the first phase of a £215 million extension project that will increase Tate Modern's size by 60 per cent. Afterwards, the Tanks which will host contemporary and performance art, will be closed at times to allow building work on the new galleries above.  Artists involved include Japan's Ei Arakawa, Jelili Atiku from Nigeria, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker from Belgium, and Britain's Tina Keane, Eddie Peake and Lis Rhodes. Families are invited to take part in Undercurrent, a 10-day film-making project for young people with the end results projected onto the Tanks' walls. Be warned: the Oil Tanks "could radically alter the way people experience art" - if the Tate Modern director fulfils his ambition.


Olympic Torch Relay Finale Hyde Park

Dizzee Rascal headlines a celebratory concert on the eve of the Olympics

Hyde Park, Rangers Lodge, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH

Tube: Knightsbridge Station


Dates: 26th July 2012


Dizzee Rascal headlines this celebratory concert which marks the end of London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay with an 80,000-capacity show in Hyde Park on the eve of the London Olympics. The open-air gig also features a performance of the Olympic single, Anywhere In The World, by Katy B, who hails from Peckham, and international superstar producer Mark Ronson. Ronson has touted the 'Broken Record' singer, who took home the Dancefloor Anthem gong at this year's NME Awards in February, as the "most authentic singer to come out of London since Lily Allen". The Wanted, Eliza Doolittle, Rizzle Kicks and Wretch 32 also perform in this one-off concert which rounds off 66 nights of fun along the Olympic Torch Relay route.


Olympic Torch Relay

The Olympic Torch arrives in London in Waltham Forest on 21st July

Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST

Tube: Hackney Wick Overground Station


Dates: 21st - 27th July 2012


Travelling all over the UK on a 70-day journey, the Olympic Torch Relay will be carried by 8,000 people in a bid to spread a message of peace, unity and friendship in the lead up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. As is the tradition, the Flame is lit from the sun's rays at the Temple of Hera in Olympia in a ceremony in the ruins of the home of the Ancient Games in Greece before making its journey to the host nation. The Torch will arrive at Lands End in the most south-westerly tip of UK on Friday 18 May before starting its long journey. Covering 110 miles a day, the Torch Relay will visit a different town or city in the UK every evening, from Plymouth on 19 May to Westminster on 26 July, the eve of the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium. The vast majority - around 95 per cent - of the population will be within a one-hour journey of the Flame, which will call in all over the UK as well as the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey. Torchbearers are made up of a list of 8,000 "inspirational" people who will have been nominated by the public and then picked from a ballot at random. A few days after visiting the fictional Albert Square from the TV soap EastEnders (23 July), the relay will finish at the Opening Ceremony hosted in the Olympic Stadium on 29 July where an as-yet-unknown athlete or sporting personality will be entrusted with lighting the Olympic Flame to mark the start of the Games. To check when the Torch Relay is closest to your home, please look on the official website. London legs of the Olympic Torch Relay: 21 July - Waltham Forest; 22 July - Bexley; 23 July - Wandsworth; 24 July - Ealing; 25 July - Haringey; 26 July - Westminster; 27 July - Olympic Stadium.


London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

Danny Boyle is the man behind the grand opening of the London Olympics

Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST

Tube: Hackney Wick Overground Station


Dates: 27th July 2012


An estimated worldwide audience of one billion should tune in to watch the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony from the new state-of-the-art Olympic Stadium in the Olympic Park on 27 July 2012 - that's 15 per cent of the world's population. To kick off the XXXth Olympiad, the London Organising City of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) have called on the artistic expression of Danny Boyle, the Oscar-winning director of Slumdog Millionaire, who will have Stephen Daldry of Billy Elliot fame as his trusty sidekick. Given the vast scale of Beijing's opening ceremony in 2008, you pity Boyle the sheer size of his task - although the Scot has promised "a thrilling, enthralling, captivating evening". The latest rumour is that a 27-tonne bell inscribed with a line from Shakespeare's The Tempest - "Be not afeard: the isle is full of noises" - will form the centrepiece of the £81m ceremony. In 2008, China reminded the world of its growing clout - not to mention controversially computer-simulated fireworks and that lip-synching young singer - with a four-hour spellbinding spectacle that was dubbed "the greatest ever" by many press outlets, although was delivered at vast cost: a cool £100m. In a world still reeling from the global financial crisis, there's little chance of London even coming close to Beijing in terms of sheer size and exuberance - but that's not to say it won't be a memorable event all the same. Opening ceremonies are a chance for host city and nation to wow the world with their own culture and values - and London, with its double-decker buses, bowler hats, umbrellas, royal heritage, Union Jacks, black cabs, bobbies on the beat and bearskins, has a whole raft of inspirations to draw from. There's even been talk of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performing together in a demi-reformation of The Beatles. As well as the camp theatrics, the Opening Ceremony must also include the staples, such as: the receiving the Head of State of the host nation, the parade of nations, the speeches (from LOCOG chairman, Lord Coe and President of the IOC, Jacques Rogge), the playing of the Olympic anthem, the entry and raising of the Olympic flag, the oaths, the arrival of the Olympic Torch and, or course, the lighting of the Olympic Flame. All in all, don't expect anything as long or as overtly expensive (or political) as Beijing 2008 - but do still expect a jolly good show.

Sophie Wallace


Sophie Wallace

7th July 2015

London in July
Launch Map




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