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Time: 16:21 23 May 2011

Olympics cultural festival will be 'once in a lifetime' event

13th March 2012

There are now just 99 days to go until the opening of the London 2012 Festival on June 21st.

The festival is the showpiece of the Cultural Olympiad - a series of cultural events and art projects being held to celebrate the Olympics - and is set to provide a wealth of extra entertainment for those staying in top hotels in London for the Games this summer.

A full brochure detailing all the events taking place as part of the festival will not be made public until the end of April.

But a number of highlights have already been unveiled, including a Pina Bausch retrospective at Sadlers' Wells and the Barbican, Cate Blanchett on stage in Botho Strauss's Big and Small, Radio 1's Hackney Weekend concert with Leona Lewis, Plan B and more and exhibitions of works by Damien Hirst at the Tate Modern and Tracey Emin at Margate.

Speaking to the Guardian, the festival's organiser Ruth Mackenzie explained that the "fundamental criteria" for putting the programme together was selecting events that "will only happen once in a lifetime".

Ms Mackenzie and her team have been working flat out in recent weeks to put the final brochure together, which when ready will be bigger than the Edinburgh Festival guide.

"This is the point where we hit the wall. This is our maddest time," she said.

"You go into overdrive trying to cram in the last 56 brilliant ideas that you have in time for the deadline and it is always the time when any problem that's ever going to happen to the project emerges - one second before you're putting it in the brochure."

Mayor of London Boris Johnson recently announced a number of new additions to the London 2012 Festival programme, including the Owl and the Pussycat - a floating opera  brought to life on London’s canals by Monty Python star Terry Jones, Oscar winning composer Anne Dudley and the Royal Opera House.


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