Cultural Olympiad Celebrates Success With 20 Million Visitors

Cultural Olympiad

The London 2012 Festival have released audience figures to the end of August 2012. Figures for the remaining period of the Festival will be announced later this autumn.19.5 million people join in UK wide London 2012 Festival 16.5 million free opportunities draw new audience  9 out of 10 people attending events agree London was right to make culture a key pillar of the Games.

This summer, London 2012 Festival, a 12-week UK-wide celebration that brought together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK, saw more than 19.5 million people take part in its series of cultural events programmed to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Seven million people attended the Top 10 most popular free exhibitions in museums and galleries. More than three million paid for tickets to events up to the end of August. They include the more than 1,450,000 people who attended paid exhibitions in museums and galleries, such as art exhibitions by Damien Hirst and David Hockney.

The figures showed that more than 3 million people took part in paid for events up to the end of August, including more than 1,450,000 who attended paid exhibitions in museums and galleries, and over 600,000 people who attended paid for events, performances and exhibitions as part of the World Shakespeare Festival. Up to the end of August, 16.5 million people had taken advantage of free London 2012 Festival events including 2.9 million who joined in with Martin Creed’s All The Bells artwork. The ten most popular free events excluding All the Bells accounted for 11.5 million attendances, and 7 million attendanceswere made to the top ten most popular free exhibitions in museums and galleries.

Polling by London 2012 research partner Neilson has shown that 9 out of 10 people who attended the London 2012 Festival said that it was a positive addition to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and 84% of people enjoyed the Festival. The Festival has been successful in attracting new audiences to cultural events – of those who attended London 2012 Festival events two thirds said they would like to attend more cultural events like the London 2012 Festival in the future. Placing culture back as a key pillar of the Games has made a positive impact with a third of people surveyed saying they will take part in arts, culture and entertainment events as a result of the London 2012 Olympic andParalympic Games.

The final week of the London 2012 Festival saw the opening of major new commissions, including the Scottish dancer, choreographer and artist Michael Clark’s Barrowlands Project which invited local people in Glasgow to perform alongside professional dancers; Branches: The Nature of Crisis, Argentine choreographer and director Constanza Macras’s new site-specific show in the forests of North Wales, bringing art to unusual places; and legendary European director Calixto Bieito presented the world premiere of Forests, inspired by Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, at Birmingham’s Old Rep Theatre.

There were also a number of major musical celebrations and free participatory events that reflected many of the core values of the programme. Africa Express went on its musical journey on board a train across the UK, with its collective of musicians from Africa, Europe and USA playing pop-up gigs and shows; in London, Thames Festival: Homage to Rio celebrated Rio de Janeiro’s music and culture, with a Rio-style carnival float; Mandala lit up the facades of Birmingham Town Hall and Nottingham Council House with a bold fusion of South Asian dance, music and ground-breaking 3D projection; in the UK’s biggest night of classical music, The Last Night of the Proms 2012 brought the end of the eight-week season of concert and events to a close; and an estimated 6,000 performers participated in more than 220 bandstands across the UK as part of Bandstand Marathon – Communities in Tune, in the final participatory event of the London 2012 Festival.

The focus now turns to Derry-Londonderry, UK City of Culture 2013; Glasgow 2014 and Rio 2016.  The London 2012 Festival has established key partnerships with each city to programme new commissions, events and performances that continue into 2013 and beyond. 

Ruth Mackenzie, Director of London 2012 Festival, said: “We are delighted by the overwhelming response to the Festival programme, which showcased the world’s leading artists alongside the stars of the sports world, and would like to thank the artists and audiences for creating so many inspiring and lasting memories of the London 2012 Festival.”


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