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The City of London Festival

The City of London can be seen as the historic and cultural nucleus of Greater London. Alternatively known as The Square Mile, it has its own administrative trust formed with support from the local business community and denizens of that area. The City of London Corporation Trust aims to invigorate and revive the cultural vibrancy of The City. The event was first held in 1962 and has since then contributed significantly to promoting not only the City of London but the whole of Greater London. The cultural extravaganza is spread over three weeks and takes place usually in July.

DateMonday 21st June 2010 to Friday 6th August 2010
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A festive environment is created by utilising impressive buildings and spaces throughout the London area. The ringing of the bell at St Mary-le-Bow announces the start of the event. Visitors include history enthusiasts, architecture buffs and people who want to devour a unique visual feast. Music was the core theme at the original event but with a view to giving it a more modern and contemporary outlook and to cover broader areas of interest, instillation arts and performances were later added to the festival. About 100 events during the festival are absolutely free, while around 50 performances have an entrance fee. The festival's international character is further accentuated by the newly incorporated 'Trading Places' theme, wherein cultural and financial exchanges take place between The City of London and its historical sister cities.

Performances are organised in lesser known but no less interesting places such as the guildhalls or the livery halls. Some performances are also held in buildings with an ultra-modern touch like the Gherkin - officially known as the Swiss Re Building. In 2005 contemporary music veterans Singcircle performed Karlheinz Stockhausen's Stimmung on the top floor of Sir Norman Foster's curved glass creation against the backdrop of a 360 degree panoramic view of the City basking in a marvellous sunset. Visitors get to enjoy performances from well-known artistes and also get a taste of works from more emerging talent. In the same year, well known percussionist Evelyn Glennie enthralled the audience alongside up and coming singer Anna Dennis.

Primary and secondary schools from in and around the City are at their creative and imaginative best and get a free rein to adorn the beautiful interiors and outdoor spaces during the festival. Various communities, which add vibrancy to the ethos of London, showcase their cultural arts and dance at workshops held at venues such as Hampstead Heath, Finsbury Circus or the Bartholomew Hospital. Thus, the Festival succeeds in its goal to entertain and invigorate the City's workers and visitors with amazing events featuring world-class as well as rising artists performing in beautiful surroundings.