UK celebrates games as audiences flock to London 2012 Festival events

Monday, August 06, 2012
London: Over 12 million people have attended the London 2012 Festival across the UK, which is now over halfway through its run.

The numbers calculated up to the end of July, announced today, show that 9.6 million people have taken part in free events and exhibitions as part of the London 2012 Festival so far. This includes 2.9 million participants in Martin Creed’s London 2012 Festival commission Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes to herald the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The overall figures for the period are expected to grow as more data is collected.

Among the millions of people and organisations taking part in Creed’s mass participation artwork were HMS Belfast, Big Ben, The National Assembly for Wales, The Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, as well as 68,000 people who activated the artist’s free and exclusive ringtone, Work No. 1372, from the official London 2012 App. 

The event was broadcast live by the BBC on television, radio and online to an estimated audience of over 12 million people, and #allthebells was the top trend on Twitter in the UK throughout the morning of 27 July.

Ruth Mackenzie, Director of London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad said: “We are delighted that so many people across the UK have taken part and have enjoyed London 2012 Festival events in such huge numbers. So far, over 9 million free opportunities have been taken up to get involved and we are really happy to have a further 5 million free opportunities still to come, and many more exciting events to attract audiences”. 

The 12 week UK-wide London 2012 Festival started on 21 June and features more than 25,000 artists featuring in more than 12,000 events and performances. The party continues in full swing across the UK beyond the London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony, with many more spectacular London 2012 Festival events taking place right up until the final day of the London 2012 Paralympic Games on 9 September.

This week sees the opening of the most ambitious Edinburgh Festivals season ever presented.

With a starring role in the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, Edinburgh’s Festivals have increased their programming ambitions this year and have created a number of large scale, one-off, signature events as part of the London 2012 Festival. Already world-class cultural brands with a truly international appeal, the 2012 programmes will place the Festivals at the heart of the UK cultural offer. 

The London 2012 Festival events illuminate the ambition and vision of the world’s leading Festival City. Prominently featured are showcases of the most exciting contemporary culture and ambitious collaborations between Scottish and international artists - asserting the true internationalism of Edinburgh’s Festivals and making them an even more vital part of the cultural offer during the Year of Creative Scotland.
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