Artistic Director Kim Gavin brought together Britain’s biggest international stars and emerging talent to perform in a Closing Ceremony that provided the soundtrack for the whole world to celebrate the achievements of the world’s greatest athletes during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The London 2012 Olympic Games welcomed the finest athletes from more than 200 nations, a historic third time the capital has hosted the world’s biggest and most important sporting event and the catalyst for Team GB’s best performance at Games since 1908.
The Ceremony at the London 2012 Olympic Stadium in the heart of east London paid tribute to UK music, fashion and culture, capturing the spirit that has inspired so much global creativity over the past 50 years.
Seb Coe, Chair, London Organising Committee of the Olympic & Paralympic Games (LOCOG), said: ‘Kim Gavin has delivered a fitting celebration of the athletes, the volunteers, this City and the whole country, who have helped us stage a great Olympic Games. We have shown the best of us throughout these Games and provided the platform for the world’s greatest athletes to shine. I would like to pay tribute to the volunteers, the performers and the country for making Games so memorable for the athletes and sports fans of the world.’
Kim Gavin, London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony Artistic Director said: ‘I was lucky because Seb Coe basically just asked me to put on a party, a celebration of London and the UK. To me the sport was always the main event, and I wanted to create a great after show party for the athletes, the volunteers, the spectators and people watching around the world. My approach, just like any party, was to start with the music. We wanted the Ceremony to reflect on UK music and how good and global British music is.’
Kim Gavin led the spectacular show with a team of talented creatives including Music Director David Arnold and Designer Es Devlin. A volunteer cast of 3,500 on average rehearsed for 60 hours each in a total of 135 rehearsals during evenings and weekends at two east London rehearsal sites. 350 children volunteers were drawn from 10 schools in the six east London Host Boroughs.
The Ceremony opened with a journey through the day in the life of London called ‘Rush Hour’. During a chaotic London rush hour scene featuring physical theatre group Stomp, Emeli Sandé performed ‘Read All About It’, Julian Lloyd Webber and the London Symphony Orchestra performed Edward Elgar’s ‘Salut D’Amour’, London gospel choir Urban Voices Collective performed the Beatles ‘Because’. Winston Churchill, played by British actor Timothy Spall, then brought the cacophony to a stop and the London Symphony Orchestra, Urban Voices Collective and The Massed Bands of the Household Division performed ‘God Save the Queen’ whilst the Union Flag was raised by representatives of the Royal Navy, Arm and Royal Air Force. Rain clouds on the floor cloth were then pulled away to reveal an artwork by one of the world’s most famous living artists, Damian Hirst.
A street party reminiscent of the scenes across the UK for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee featured Madness performing ‘Our House’, the Household Division Ceremonial State Band performing Blur’s ‘Parklife’ joined by the Hackney Colliery Band, the Pet Shop Boys performing ‘West End Girls’ and global superstars One Direction performed ‘ What makes You Beautiful’. As the day in the life of London drew to a close Ray Davies performed ‘Waterloo Sunset’ whilst Britain’s Got Talent winners Spelbound performed on iconic London landmarks before Emeli Sandé returned with a reprise of ‘Read All About It’.
The 10,000 athletes entered the stadium together as a group rather than in their separate teams, reflecting the global solidarity and universality of the Olympic movement, free from geographic and national boundaries. The arrival of the athletes was accompanied by a performance by Elbow backed by the London Symphony Orchestra and was followed by a highlights film made by the BBC of the London 2012 Olympic Games being projected onto a pyramid made of 3030 white boxes representing the 3030 Olympic events. Once the athletes of the world were gathered in ‘mosh pits’ around the stage the Men’s Marathon Victory Ceremony and a tribute to the 70,000 Games Maker volunteers who have been central to the Games’ success took place.
Then the party really began with an extended symphony featuring some of the finest moments in British popular music with songs performed by their original recording artists, classic British songs performed by new and emerging artists, and a soundtrack of original recordings providing the soundtrack to spectacular moments. Jessie J, Tinie Tempah and Taio Cruz emerged from three Rolls Royce Phantom Series II Drophead Coupés to perform hits ‘Price Tag’, ‘Written in the Stars’, ‘Dynamite’ and Bee Gee’s classic ‘You Should Be Dancing’.
The British supermodels appeared from behind stunning photos shot by legendary British photographer Nick Knight for the September issue of UK Vogue to a soundtrack of David Bowie songs culminating in the 1980 hit ‘Fashion’, and wearing bespoke creations by iconic British fashion designers Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Christopher Kane, Burberry, Erdem, Victoria Beckham, Jonathan Saunders, Stephen Jones and Paul Smith.
There were appearances by members of Queen, George Michael, the Kaiser Chiefs, Annie Lennox, Ed Sheeran, Russell Brand, Bond, Fatboy Slim, Beady Eye with lead vocalist Liam Gallagher and Muse singing their official London 2012 song ‘Survival’.
In a homage to Monty Python, Eric Idle performed ‘Always Look On The Bright Side of Life’ with a surreal selection of characters including Morris Dancers, rugby players, Bhangra dancers, a battalion of the Roman Army, Scottish pipers, skating nuns, angels and an opera singer . The section culminated in Chachi Calencia, alias ‘The Rocket Man’, being fired across the stadium from a cannon.
Julian Lloyd Webber said: “It continued where the Opening Ceremony left off. It was kind of surreal and bizarre and crazy. It’s got humour – all the things the British are good at.”
Timothy Spall said: “It’s not every day you are asked to get into Big Ben and come out of the top of it as Churchill reciting Shakespeare. My heart stopped about halfway through the speech but luckily my legs were shaking so much it kept me going.”
Suggs (Madness) said: “It was a blur, it went so fast. Obviously, we have been hanging around a lot today. It’s been like Stella Street with more famous people that I’ve ever seen in my life.
Liam Payne (One Direction) said: “It’s been absolutely amazing. We would have been at school when they announced the Olympics would be in London. Now we’ve managed to perform at the Closing Ceremony.”
Harry Styles (One Direction) said: “It’s definitely the highlight of my career so far. There are so many big names walking around, so many legends in one room.”
Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs) said: “I want to do it again and again and again. You can’t buy drugs like that, so I’m told. We are a pop band, is it all subjective, if you win an Olympic gold is finite. You can’t argue with that.”
Annie Lennox said: “That mixture of street culture, music, fashion and sport – these are the ways working class kids have come through and become something in the world.”
Eric Idle said: ‘I'm delighted to be an Olympian, and proud to have been chosen to represent my country at Show Business. I'm hoping for a Brass Medal.’
The Olympic Flag was lowered to the Olympic Anthem sung by the London Welsh Male Voice Choir and the London Welsh Rugby Club Choir before being handed over from Mayor of London Boris Johnson to IOC President Jacques Rogge and then was presented to Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes. This marked the start of the Rio 2016 artistic segment ‘Embrace’ from creative directors Cao Hamburger & Daniela Thomas, featuring street cleaner Renato Sorriso, singer Marisa Monte, rapper BNegão, actor-singer Seu Jorge and model Alessandra Ambrósio.
Following speeches by LOCOG Chair Seb Coe and President of the international Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge the Olympic Flame, held in Thomas Heatherwick’s spectacular Cauldron, was extinguished.
As the final flame flickered in the Olympic Cauldron and its stems opened outwards, a new flame came to life above to dramatically form the outline of a flaming 20m-wide phoenix, suspended high above the audience. To the performance of Take That singing ‘Rule the World’, celebrated prima ballerina Darcey Bussell flew down from the roof of the stadium to be met by four male principal dancers from The Royal Ballet and over 200 ballerinas, to then dance en pointe to ‘Spirit of the Flame’, composed by David Arnold. This marked the finale of the Ceremony where everyone who performed in the show took to the stage for a performance by The Who culminating in the final song of the Ceremony, ‘My Generation’, as a nod to the London 2012 Games motto ‘Inspire a Generation’.
The music that provided the soundtrack to the London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony is available now, just moments after the Ceremony ended tonight. This release follows the massive global success of ‘Isles of Wonder – Music for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games’ which, within seconds of release after the ceremony, had registered in the top 10 download chart in 42 countries. ‘A Symphony of British Music - Music For The Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games’ is released by Universal Music labels Decca / UMC (Universal is music licensee for the London 2012 Olympic Games) with the support of LOCOG and the album will celebrate the global appeal of British music with spectacular performances from some of the most iconic British performers and contemporary artists.
The Ceremony showcased and celebrated 21st century technology and once again used the ‘audience pixels’ made up of 70,799 small panels mounted between the seats in the Olympic Stadium. The pixel screens displayed complex and beautiful images that flood the Stadium via the 317km of cable that connects to the central control. It took a team of 40 almost two months to install the system. Three people have spent 40 hours lining up the images to the irregular shape of the seating bowl.
The Ceremony was screened on the London 2012 Live Sites in 22 towns and cities across the UK where communities have come together to cheer on the athletes throughout the summer. Up to 500,000 people per day have celebrated the Games across the Live Sites throughout the UK, and watched the sporting action on the big screens. The sites, run in partnership between London 2012, the BBC and local authorities, and supported by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor, partners BT and Lloyds TSB, and supporters Cadbury and Cisco are fully branded, there will be seating provided so crowds can watch the action in style. For more details visit www.london2012.com/live-sites.
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Notes to editors:
The full media guide to the London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony is available to download on the London 2012 Media Centre at the end of the Ceremony. A song list with a breakdown of sections of the ceremony follows:
Emeli Sande – Read All About It
The Beatles – Because (sung by London gospel choir Urban Voices)
Elgar – Salut d’Amour (performed by cellist Julian Lloyd Webber and LSO)
Madness – Our House
Blur – Park Life (instrumental by Household Division Ceremonial State Band)
Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls
One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (soundtrack)
The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset (performed by The Kinks frontman Ray Davies)
Emeli Sande – Read All About It
Parade of Athletes
David Arnold – Parade of Athletes (performed by the LSO)
Elbow – Open Arms (accompanied by Urban Voices and the LSO)
Elbow – One Day Like This (accompanied by Urban Voices and the LSO)
Here Comes the Sun
Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill (soundtrack)
George Harrison – Here Comes the Sun (performed by Urban Voices and drummers from the Dhol Foundation)
A Symphony of British Music
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (soundtrack)
John Lennon – Imagine (performed by London Philharmonic Youth Choir and Liverpool Signing Choir)
George Michael – Freedom ‘90’
George Michael – White Light
The Who – Pinball Wizard (performed by the Kaiser Chiefs)
David Bowie - compilation of Space Oddity, Changes, Ziggy Stardust, The Jean Genie, Rebel Rebel, Diamond Dogs, Young Americans, Let’s Dance and Fashion (soundtrack)
Annie Lennox – Little Bird
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (sung by Ed Sheeran accompanied by Pink Floyd Drummer Nick Mason, Richard Jones of The Feeling and Mike Genesis member of Genesis)
Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory – Imagine (performed by Russell Brand)
The Beatles – I am the Walrus (performed by Russell Brand and accompanied by Bond)
Fatboy Slim – Right Here, Right Now
Fatboy Slim – The Rockafeller Skank
Jessie J – Price Tag
Tinie Tempah – Written in the Stars
Taio Cruz – Dynamite
Bee Gees – You Should Be Dancing (soundtrack) featuring Jessie J, Tinie Tempah and Taio Cruz
The Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life
The Spice Girls – Wannabe
Oasis – Wonderwall (performed by Beady Eye and lead vocalist Liam Gallagher)
Electric Light Orchestra – Mr Blue Sky (soundtrack)
Monty Python – Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (performed by Eric Idle)
Muse – Survival
Queen – Brighton Rock (performed by Brian May and Roger Taylor)
Queen – We Will Rock You (performed by Brian May, Roger Taylor and Jessie J)
Spirit of the Flame
Take That – Rule the World
David Arnold – Spirit of the flame (performed by LSO and Metro Voices Singing group)
The Who – Baba O’Riley
The Who – See Me, Feel Me
The Who – Listening to You
The Who – My Generation
London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony key facts and stats:
• The load in of the Closing Ceremony required 93 trucks to be moved from the rehearsal venue in Dagenham into the Stadium.
• A crew of 743 will work with trucks and 18 forklifts to install the 3,048 square meter main stage, 8,800 square meters of scenic floor covering and associated scenery.
• The load in started at 23:00 on Sat 11th August ready for a final rehearsal at 13:00 on the day of the Ceremony on Sun 12th August – only 14 hours later.
• 12 Arctic trucks
• 10 wedding cars
• 10 sports cars
• 10 vintage cars
• 10 cars with trailers
• 10 modern cars
• 10 taxis
• 5 taxis covered in LED
• 10 mopeds
• 4 white vans
• 2 rubbish collecting trucks
• 8 tractors
• 50 scooters
• 3 drop head phantoms
• 4 tipper trucks
• 1 morris minor
• 1 octobus
• 18m in diameter
• 8 tons in weight
• 30m flown height above stage
• 3,048 sqm main stage
• 8,800 sqm scenic floor covering
• A total crew of 743 which included;
o Local crew - 183
o Contractor crew - 260
o Staff/specialist crew – 150
o Volunteer crew - 150
Schools performing in the London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony
• Little Ilford School
Barking and Dagenham
• Dagenham Park Church of England School
• Jo Richardson Community School
• Barking Abbey - Specialist Sports and Humanities College
• William Ford Church of England Junior School
• Roding Primary School
• Leytonstone School
• George Greens School
• Stoke Newington School
More information on the audience pixels:
The Audience Pixels were a key part of Danny Boyle’s unique vision for the London 2012 Opening Ceremony. The breakthrough technology allowed visuals displayed across the 70,500 paddles accompanying key sections of the show to expand the field of play out into the audience. The Closing Ceremony took the potential of this huge digital canvas to a different level, using it consistently throughout the show and creating an immersive audio-visual experience that will look and sound spectacular for the audiences both in the stadium and at home. The following notes offer background to the development of the Audience Pixel technology.
• All 70,500 seats have an Audience Pixels tablet including VIP and Royal Box.
• Each tablet has nine 3 colour LED’s spaced 50mm apart.
• The system was designed and built for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic ceremonies.
• Crystal CG made 27 video sequences for the Closing Ceremony, totalling 75 minutes in length (the equivalent of a feature length film).
• Each sequence saw teams of up to 6 animators collaborating with their different areas of expertise.
• There are 634,500 individual LED pixels that together create what is believed to be the largest ever video screen.
• A team of 17 at Crystal CG have worked for over 3 months to create the digital spectacular for 30 of Britain’s greatest music acts featuring in the Closing Ceremony.
• The size/ resolution of the animation sequences required huge amounts of computer rendering with 24-hour IT support. On some occasions a single sequence could take more than 7 days to render.
• Because of the busy Olympics Schedule, the team had to test the footage on the unique screen during the early hours of the morning before sunrise.
• The psychedelic 1960’s animation sequence took over 500 Hours to animate.
• For some acts the Audience Pixels have been designed as large animated backdrops, whereas for others they turn the entire stadium into a 360° immersive digital environment.
• The unconventional size and shape of the screen has meant that an enormous amount of research and development was needed to create visuals that looked right in the stadium.
• From stop-motion and CGI animation to live action filming, a huge variety of techniques have been utilised to create content for the audience pixels.
• A separate team of 8 were responsible for putting together the Pixel content during the Rio flag handover ceremony. They needed their own separate render farm made up of 8 super-powerful machines.
• The Audience Pixels had to be tested every night after the spectators went home to ensure they were working for the Closing Ceremony.
• Each Pixels tablet is connected to a central control system in order that content can be played back over the entire system.
• Each tablet weighs 0.5kg.
• Each LED can be individually controlled.
• The viewing angle is 180 degrees both vertically and horizontally.
• The tablets can be held by the each individual member of the audience.
• Each tablet is inserted in a holder when not in use.
• There is 370km of cabling in the system.
• Sustainability is a primary concern for the organisers of London 2012 Ceremonies so the system has been designed so that it can be used on future events both indoors and outdoors.
• In addition to the Audience Pixels, the Closing Ceremony features a number of special London taxis which are covered with more than 2 million LED’s to create a set of 3dimensional moving screens, each with its own individual content.
For further information please contact the London 2012 Press Office on +44 (0)203 2012 100 or visit the website at www.london2012.com.
The Official London 2012 Join In app is a free mobile guide to help you plan, enjoy and share your Games experience. From the Olympic Torch Relay to the Olympics and Paralympics, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, plus all the cultural, city and community celebrations happening across the UK, the Official London 2012 Join In App is your essential companion. It is available now at app stores and at http://www.london2012.com/mobileapps/
London 2012 Games partners:
The Worldwide Olympic Partners who support the London 2012 Olympic Games and the National Olympic Committees around the world are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos, Dow, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter and Gamble, Samsung and Visa.
LOCOG has seven domestic Tier One Partners - adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT, EDF and Lloyds TSB. There are seven domestic Tier Two Supporters – Adecco, ArcelorMittal, Cadbury, Cisco, Deloitte, Thomas Cook and UPS. There are now twenty-eight domestic Tier Three Suppliers and Providers – Aggreko, Airwave, Atkins, Boston Consulting Group, CBS Outdoor, Crystal CG, Eurostar, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, G4S, GSK, Gymnova, Heathrow Airport, Heineken UK, Holiday Inn, John Lewis, McCann Worldgroup, Mondo, NATURE VALLEY, Next, Nielsen, Populous, Rapiscan Systems, Rio Tinto, Technogym, Thames Water, Ticketmaster, Trebor and Westfield.
There is one domestic Tier One Paralympic Games-only Partner, Sainsbury’s and one domestic Tier Three Paralympic Games-only Supplier, Otto Bock. The London 2012 Paralympic Games also acknowledges the support of the National Lottery.