Max Baillie and Leafcutter John Entertain the Crowd!
Every summer the City of London Festival brings to life unique buildings and outdoor spaces with an extensive artistic program of music, visual arts, film, walks and talks with much of it free to the public. Inaugurated in 1962 to revitalize the cultural life of “the City” – London’s square mile financial district – the festival is to considered to be one of the UK’s leading annual arts events.
Following an acclaimed and record breaking 50th anniversary season, the festival returns this summer (from the 23rd of June until the 26th of July) with another customary extravaganza of music, dance, art, film, poetry, family fun and participatory events, transforming some of the city’s most iconic venues and outdoor spaces into a wealth of creative activity for everyone to enjoy.
2013 is to be the final year with Ian Ritchie at the helm after eight years as the festival’s director. As his exit, Ritchie offers an innovative and thought provoking program rooted in three connected themes: city walls, conflict and resolution and trees. With these themes as its platform, the festival will reflect on significant historical landmark anniversaries, including the 400-year relationship between the City of London and the Northern Irish city of Londonderry, the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht and the 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten – one of Britain’s most important composers.
The highlights announced for this year’s festival will be many. A pop-up mobile orchard made of real and manufactured trees will “take root’ at a various city locations during the festival serving as a shady area where people will be invited to enjoy a host of events as well as learn about trees in London and native British orchards. Another take on the festival’s trees theme will see electronic musician, Leafcutter John, and violist, Max Baillie, (both pictured above) will intriguingly “recreate the sounds of a tree in all its forms” through the use extremely sensitive microphones.
Festival-goers will also have a chance to experience a stimulating program of walks, talks and debate that compliment this year’s themes. A highlight includes Worlds in Collision, a two-day conference exploring important and timely questions on the healing power of music in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorders resulting from conflict.
For a full listing of numerous events along with more information about the 2013 City of London Festival, visit colf.org.
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photo: Chris Osburn