Wednesday 22 November 2017

Stars join new Festival of Britain

Ray Davies will take part in the new Festival of Britain
Ray Davies will take part in the new Festival of Britain

Ray Davies, Heston Blumenthal and Tracey Emin are among the celebrities getting involved as London's Southbank is transformed with a modern restaging of the Festival of Britain to mark the event's 60th anniversary.

Among the events will be Billy Bragg's alternative royal wedding weekend celebrations, featuring four days of performances.

The site - which takes in venues such as the Royal Festival Hall (RFH), Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Hayward Gallery - will be transformed for four months.

Beach huts, pop-up structures and fairground rides will be among the features which will add to the celebrations, as well as exhibitions and performances.

Former Kinks star Davies will be the curator of a Festival of Britain-themed Meltdown festival at the RFH, while classical draws will include pianist Lang Lang and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment led by Sir Simon Rattle.

The original 1951 exhibition was attended by eight million people and was designed to be a post-war celebration of the nation, and saw the construction of the Festival Hall as well as the long-dismantled Skylon tower. It was described at the time as "a tonic to the nation", and also marked the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851.

The new celebration, from April 22 to September 4, will see the Southbank transformed into four "lands" taking inspiration from themes of the 1951 exhibition. They are "people of Britain", "land of Britain", "sea and ships" and "power and production".

Highlights will include a temporary museum designed by Wayne and Geraldine Hemingway dedicated to artworks, models, memories and photographs of 1951.

Press Association

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