News story

The UK set to unite in nationwide musical celebration to mark the end of the London 2012 Festival and the Games

Coldplay anthem Viva La Vida will play out the last day of the Games at hundreds of bandstands across the UK as part of Bandstand Marathon.

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Coldplay, one of the world’s best-selling music acts and stars of the London 2012 Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony, have endorsed bands and musicians across the UK to play the anthemic hit ‘Viva La Vida’ at 2pm, Sunday 9 September, the final day of the Paralympic Games, as part of the official finale event to the London 2012 Festival - Bandstand Marathon.

Bandstands nationwide, including the Olympic Park Bandstand, will see musicians of all kinds perform their own unique renditions of this epic song at the same time - a collective moment to mark the end of the London 2012 Games and a fantastic summer of sport and culture.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin said:

“It’s a great honour for us to be part of the celebrations for the Paralympic Games and it should be a great moment when the bandstands of Great Britain strike up in unison.”

This exciting preview to the Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony later in the evening is part of the nationwide Bandstand Marathon, an event that will see hundreds of outdoor community concerts taking place simultaneously throughout the UK from 1pm - 5pm.

From Inverness in the Scottish Highlands to Penzance on the tip of Cornwall, and from the historic town of Armagh, Northern Ireland to Llandudno on the Welsh coast, Bandstand Marathon will present a unique portrait of the UK’s diverse musical tastes and styles in 2012.

Indian drummers

Eric Pickles watching Dhol2Dhol, a traditional Indian drum troupe.

Bandstand Marathon’s oldest singer, at 91, will take to the stage in Bellfield Park, Inverness, whilst Regent’s Park, London will celebrate traditional and contemporary Jewish music. Stourbridge will play host to a near 100-piece Ukulele band, whilst in Chester a sign-language choir will entertain the crowds. An Elvis impersonator will bring rock n’ roll to Victoria Park, Barry, and visitors to Broomfield Park, Palmer’s Green, London can expect the Afro-Caribbean beats of The Harambe Drummers.

Three acts have won the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform at the Olympic Park Bandstand:

  • the 130 year old ‘Abergavenny Borough Brass Band’
  • London’s ‘Dhol2Dhol’ traditional Indian drum troupe
  • female Barbershop chorus ‘The Belles of Three Spires’

The last bandstanding competition was judged by award-winning conductor Charles Hazlewood, who will also be participating in the Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony, together with Bellowhead member, Paul Sartin.

Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles said:

“The spectacular summer has shown off the strengths of our country in style and it hasn’t ended yet. It continues with the Bandstand Marathon and everyone should come out to enjoy the musical events at their local bandstand.

“2012 has been the year for all our communities to come together, from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic Torch Relay and of course the Games themselves, reinforcing our shared identity and celebrating our great country. We have seen how these big national events can have a positive impact on local communities, bringing people out into our parks and onto the streets in their thousands, bringing a sense of joy and championing all those things we share together rather than keep us apart.”

Ruth Mackenzie, Director, London 2012 Festival said:

“The Bandstand Marathon is encouraging local music groups to showcase their talents and be part of the London 2012 Festival. I am proud that we are delivering our vision to use the power of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to boost participation in creating a cultural legacy post-London 2012.”

Katharine Lane, Associate Director, Superact said:

“London 2012 has been an incredible success and the UK public has played a huge part in this, embracing London 2012 and taking part in the wealth of fantastic events across the country in the run up to and throughout the Games. We’re delighted to present Bandstand Marathon, the official finale event to the London 2012 Festival - bringing families, friends and communities together in a nationwide musical celebration of what has been an unforgettable summer.”

Further information

Bandstand Marathon is produced by not-for-profit arts organisation Superact and Making Music, the UK’s number one organisation for voluntary music. Support from the Department for Communities and Local Government is enabling Bandstand Marathon to expand and enhance its existing annual programme, doubling the length of the local events to four hours this year, and providing opportunities for training, community networking and audience participation, and linking musicians together across the country.

For more details about Bandstand Marathon 2012, including the full list of participating locations, visit the website

For more information on the London 2012 Festival, and to find out what’s going on near you, visit the London 2012 Festival website

More photos of the Bandstand Marathon can be found on the DCLG Flickr channel

Published 28 August 2012