Saturday 24th September

Advertise | Login  RSS  |  Twitter  |  Facebook

Festival of the World 2012 at London’s Southbank

| Festivals | 10/05/2012

Enjoy events from across the world all in one place at the Festival of the World at the Southbank Centre.

In association with Mastercard, the Festival of the World makes it’s way to the heart of London this summer. Running alongside the London 2012 olympic games, the festival will be home to some of the best international art and culture. The festival is set to include a range of new exhibitions, demonstrating the way art plays a role in our daily lives.

The festival (which was inspired by Olympic literature gold medalist Baron Pierre de Coubertin,) will showcase a variety of cultures.  The showcase will include foods from all over the globe and teachings from some of the world’s leading artists at the Southbank Centre. The festival will run until the end of the London 2012 Paralympic Games – giving you all enough time to get yourself down there and enjoy some of the activities that will be on show.

From the largest poetry event in the UK, to music and spoken word, there will be more than enough to get involved in. To help you just in case you get lost, we have a few details of what you can expect below:

Africa Utopia

Set to be on show for three weeks at the Southbank Centre is the Africa Utopia series. The cultural summit will explore the continent in detail, uncovering the roles of world music, theatre and innovation to where they can lead the world in the future.

The summit will be led by Senegalese singer and human rights activist Baaba Maal. The event will include international artists, musicians, writers and activists who will take part in the series of talks, debates, films and performances.

The Africa Utopia series will include events such as African Writers’ Evening with Jose Eduardo Agualusa and Dinaw Mengestu, a solo show from singer Funmi Olawumi the Yoruba Women’s Choir and an African catwalk show, showcasing some of the African inspired designs from top designers including Gucci and Burberry.

Baaba Maal will also perform on stage July 28th at his Baaba Maal and Friends show at The Royal Festival Hall. The summit will run from 1st – 29th July.

E4 Udderbelly & Poetry Parnassus Festival

Held at the Southbank every summer is channel E4’s Udderbelly. Packed to the brim with fun events and activities, the upside down purple cow tent will take over it’s usual summer spot once again this year. The perfect place to get a few laughs, watch some musicals or enjoy a bit of cabaret, over 50 events are set to take place this year. Running until late September you can enjoy the likes of Tim Minchin, Greg Davies, Milton Jones and more.

Inviting poets from the 204 olympic nations, the Southbank Centre will host Poetry Parnassus – the largest ever poetry event staged in the UK. At the event you will be able to join in on workshops, listen to readings by some of the poets and enjoy a special gala event including all 204 contestants. Poets will recite poems both in the English language and in their native tongues with translations projected onto a screen as well as printouts. Interpreters will also be on hand during the workshops to translate. Poetry Parnassus will run from 26th June – 1st July.


All different kinds of music will be played from all over throughout the entire festival. Making an appearance for four days in June (22nd – 26th) will be Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra. Music will also come from resident orchestras The London Philharmonia Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and The London Sinfonietta.

World renowned Bass baritone Bryn Terfel and Karl Jenkins will be joined by 500 other voices from across the world in Wales – Choir of The World at The Royal Festival 7th July. As part of his four day Byrnfest series, he will be joined by the London Welsh voice choir for a one off concert.

Live music from commercial acts such as the Scissors Sisters will also be on hand as part of the BT River of Music weekend in July – the weekend before the opening ceremony for the Olympics (July 21-22 July). The weekend will see a host performers on one of the many stages placed in the heart of the capital city including Somerset House, Battersea Park and London Pleasure Gardens.

Unlimited Arts

In conjunction with the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Unlimited will celebrate arts created by disabled and deaf artists. Featuring art, dance, music, theatre and a circus exploring bipolar disorder, the unlimited programme of 29 new commissions will explore the work of some of the best disabled artists and groups that can be found in the UK.

Most of the events mentioned here will also be a part of the London 2012 festival. Find the address for the Southbank Centre below.


Address – Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX
Nearest Underground Station – Waterloo
Contact No. – 0207 960 4200

Seen this? What did you think? Add your comments below...

You must be logged in to post a comment.