Two-day music festival to be 'highlight' of London 2012 celebrations

A free, two-day music event featuring acts from across the Olympic and Paralympic nations will be held in central London next summer as part the countdown to the 2012 Games.

Two-day music festival to be 'highlight' of London 2012 celebrations
Two-day music festival to be 'highlight' of London 2012 celebrations

BT River of Music will take place on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 July 2012, the weekend before the Opening Ceremony.

Six stages representing the continents will be erected in iconic sites along the River Thames: 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.

The line-up will include well-known names, emerging British talent and a few unexpected collaborations.

Artists confirmed so far include Scissor Sisters, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Naturally 7, Baaba Maal, Angelique Kidjo, Zakir Hussain and Andy Sheppard.

The Lottery-funded event is being organised by Clerkenwell-based production company Serious and will form part of the London 2012 Festival; a 12-week UK-wide cultural celebration counting down to the Games.

Around half a million people are expected to attend over the two days. Information about ticketing will be announced in May.

Serious director Claire Whitaker said: "BT River of Music will be an incredible celebration of world-class live music the weekend before the start of the Games. We will be working with the most exciting artists from across the world, the very best of emerging British talent and staging some unique collaborations during the weekend. This will be once in a lifetime experience not to be missed and a fabulous occasion for the whole family to enjoy."

BT group marketing and brand director Suzi Williams added: "As a premier partner of the London 2012 Festival, we understand that London 2012 is about more than sport – it’s about people experiencing the amazing atmosphere the Games will bring to the capital and creating their personal Olympic and Paralympic memories. Through BT River of Music we’ll be giving people a fantastic and free London 2012 experience next year."

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