October 2011

The London 2012 Festival, Serious and BT today announced BT River of Music – two days of music events that will take place on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 July 2012, the weekend before the Olympic Games open, with BT confirmed as title sponsor. BT River of Music will offer music lovers of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to take part in celebrating the build up to the London 2012 Games, with free access to events over the weekend.

BT River of Music will be one of the highlights of the London 2012 Festival, a 12 week UK-wide celebration featuring leading artists from around the world. The spectacular weekend of free music from the 205 Olympic & Paralympic nations will take place at iconic sites along the river Thames, welcoming the world to London. The event is created and produced by Serious for the London 2012 Festival with significant funding support from the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor, Arts Council England and British Council.

BT River of Music is an international event featuring outstanding music from all over the world plus emerging British talent. Six stages represent the continents – Asia in Battersea Park, Africa in Jubilee Gardens, Europe in Trafalgar Square and Somerset House, the Americas at the Tower of London, and Oceania at the Old Royal Naval College. The rich variety of music over the weekend will include well-known names and 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.

Claire Whitaker, Director, Serious 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.”

Ruth Mackenzie, Director, Cultural Olympiad & London 2012 Festival, said: “Thanks to the support of our partners BT, the Olympic Lottery Distributor, Arts Council England and the British Council, BT River of Music will be a fantastic celebration of world-class live music for the London 2012 Festival.”

Suzi Williams, director, BT Group Marketing and Brand, said: “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.”

Rt Hon Dame Janet Paraskeva, Chair of the Olympic Lottery Distributor said: “I am delighted that National Lottery funding is supporting this diverse and exciting event which is bringing together such a wide range of artists and musical styles. Our support for the London 2012 Festival aims to bring cultural events to as wide an audience as possible.”

Alan Davey, Chief Executive of Arts Council England said: “This fantastic project is set to reach thousands of people in the Olympic year, introducing musical talent from around the world alongside more familiar names. We think it will leave a fantastic legacy for music and musicians in the UK through the international collaborations being formed, and are really excited and proud to be involved with it.”

BT River of Music in 2012 will mark the culmination of a range of regional work across the UK – projects such as Coastal Voices, bringing together vocal groups along the Jurassic Coast of Devon and Dorset to sing Nick Cave songs and Saxophone Massive, featuring 200
massed at Somerset House. Additional support for participatory projects has been received from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and City Bridge Trust.

An audience of half a million people is expected over the two-day festival weekend. Tickets are free but some sites will require ticketed entry. Ticketing information will be announced in May 2012 and people can sign up now at www.london2012.com/festival for information and news.

For BT River of Music media enquiries, please contact Sally Reeves +44 (0)1223 864710 / +44 (0)7790 518756 / sallyreeves@btinternet.com

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