A giant set of aluminium rings has been unveiled in Cardiff as Wales’ Olympic celebrations gather momentum.
The launch of the famous interlocking hoops marked exactly three months to the day that the city hosts the very first event of London 2012 when Great Britain’s women’s football team take on New Zealand in the Millennium Stadium on July 25.
The revealing of the rings – which stand eight metres tall and 18 metres wide – coincided with the announcement of the full programme of London 2012 Festival events taking place in Wales.
Among the events announced was ‘Busk on the Usk’ – a free music, literature, street-theatre and food festival in Newport and the ‘Africa Express’ – a musical collective founded by former Blur frontman Damon Albarn which will perform guerilla concerts across Cardiff.
London 2012 Festival organisers also announced the Welsh capital will be part of record-breaking attempt to have the largest Bollywood dance performance ever, while the city has also been chosen as one of four hosts of the Paralympic Flame Festival – celebrating the lighting of the Paralympic Flame.
Other events being held throughout Wales include ‘Peace Camp’ a major art installation in Anglesey by Deborah Warner which will see visitors explore a glowing encampment of softly illuminated tents murmuring love poetry from within and ‘A Hansel of Film’ – a unique cinematic relay project curated by Linda Ruth Williams and Mark Kermode which will visit both Prestatyn and Anglesey.
A host of dignitaries including Heritage Minister Huw Lewis, London Festival Director Ruth Mackenzie and the Lord Mayor of Cardiff Delme Bowen, attended the event at Cardiff’s City Hall along with local festival participants and former Olympic silver medallist Jamie Baulch.
The London 2012 Festival is a 12-week nationwide celebration running from June 21 until September 9 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.
Ms Mackenzie said: “The festival means that anyone, anywhere in Wales can be involved with the celebrations and experience first class art and cultural events absolutely free.”
“I hope that what we create this summer will leave a legacy not just in terms of those involved with the projects but also in that it will encourage tourism to Wales which we all know has a great passion for the arts.”
Nick Capaldi, chief executive of the Arts Council of Wales, added: “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.”