Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage Huw Lewis was joined by a host of dignitaries and sports stars as well as the cream of Welsh cultural talent there to launch the full London 2012 Festival programme for Wales.
Mr Lewis said,
“With the Olympic Games now so close, interest in and enthusiasm for the Games is hotting up, especially here in Wales where we will be hosting football matches and where so many Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be preparing for the Games. Both the Olympic Rings in Cardiff and the London 2012 Festival for Wales, with its events around the nation, will bring a taste of the Games to Wales and help to involve the whole nation in London 2012”
Seb Coe, LOCOG Chairman, said,
“The Olympic Rings are an iconic symbol, inspiring athletes and uniting people around the world. To athletes they represent the culmination of thousands of hours of training and reaching the highest level in sport. These Rings will excite and inspire residents and visitors to Wales about the Olympic Games taking place in the UK and will provide a spectacular backdrop for Cardiff’s celebrations when it hosts eleven Olympic Football matches this summer. Being launched exactly three months before the Millennium Stadium hosts the very first sporting event of London 2012, they show that Wales is ready to welcome the world.”
Launching the Rings with the Minister was the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Cllr Delme Bowen, the Olympic Mascot Wenlock and Olympic silver medallist Jamie Baulch.
Jamie, who won his medal at the Atlanta games as part of the Team GB 4x400m relay team, said,
“Coming from Newport and having experienced the atmosphere of an Olympic Games, I am so excited that the Olympics and the London 2012 Festival are coming to Wales. The Games are now only three months away. Seeing the Olympic Rings today and hearing about all these great cultural events taking place has made it feel even closer. I can’t wait!”
The London 2012 Festival is the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration running from 21 June until 9 September 2012 bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK. It will feature 19 different events taking place in 12 towns and villages across Wales over 79 days of the 12-week long festival.
Ruth Mackenzie, London 2012 Festival Director, said,
“Gwyneth Lewis, Kaite O’Reilly, Marc Rees, Scritti Politti – these are just some of the great home-grown artists taking part in the London 2012 Festival in Wales. They will join world-class talent from across the UK and around the world in delighting and inspiring the nation, its people and its visitors. Wales will also join in many UK-wide events during the spectacular twelve-week celebration that runs from 21 June until 9 September. Best of all, many of these opportunities will be free. I would like to thank our Premier Partners BP and BT, Principal Funders Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor, and of course the Arts Council of Wales for making it possible”
Nick Capaldi, Arts Council of Wales Chief Executive, said,
“Arts Council of Wales is proud to be a key partner in the delivery of the London 2012 Festival in Wales. The aim of this ambitious programme of events and activities is to inspire and engage with the nation to deliver a lasting legacy beyond the Olympic Games themselves. The diverse range of activities happening in Wales promises to excite the whole of the Wales and bring the values of the Olympics to our diverse linguistic and cultural communities.”
There are hundreds of other exciting London 2012 Festival opportunities across the UK. The full programme is being launched in London tomorrow, Thursday 26 April. The official London 2012 Festival brochure will be available from the London 2012 Festival website.