City of London Festival breaks records and reveals 2013 programme

The 50th edition of the City of London Festival attracted a record 163,000 people, and broke box office records, ringing in sales more than 21 per cent above target, as audiences flocked to the capital to experience the cultural event.

The news comes as Ian Ritchie, the City of London Festival’s director, has announced his retirement, after eight years heading up the month-long event, and will step down after the festival’s 2013 run.

The City of London Festival 2013 has revealed three themes: the organising team will connect the City of London with Derry-Londonderry, as it celebrates City of Culture status, and it will also focus on trees and the environment and conflict and resolution. The event will take place from June 23 until July 26, animating the capital’s square mile. More than 100 free events have been programmed, incorporating dance, music and the arts.

Outdoor events planned include Irish Roots, a family day on Hampstead Heath which will comprise live music and Gaelic games, and the Festival Children’s Parade through the city A mobile orchard will also take root in various city locations – commuters will be transported to the trees to enjoy street theatre, dance and interaction.

In 2012, the festival, with its theme of City of London – Trading Places with the World, transformed the Square Mile with over 100 performances over 34 days in 55 London venues.

Audience research shows that the festival is highly valued for the vibrancy it brings to the area throughout its duration: 91 per cent of those surveyed agreed (or strongly agreed) that the festival provided enrichment to the London area due to the buzz it creates, while 84 per cent of those who neither live nor work in the City reported that the Festival improved their perception of the area. A majority of 92 per cent of audiences felt that they had experienced artists and performances they would not otherwise get to see as a result of the festival.

Photo credit: City of London Festival/Robert Piwko