Closing ceremony


The closing ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympics, also known as A Symphony of British Music,[1] was held on 12 August in the Olympic Stadium. The event was created by Kim Gavin, Es Devlin, Stephen Daldry, David Arnold and Mark Fisher. The worldwide broadcast began at 21:00 BST (UTC+1) and finished at 00:11, lasting three hours and eleven minutes. The stadium had been turned into a giant representation of the Union Flag, designed by Damian Hirst. Around 4,100 people partook in the ceremony; which reportedly cost ?20 million. The 2012 Summer Olympics were officially closed by Jacques Rogge, who called London's games "happy and glorious." The ceremony included a handover to the next host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro and saw the Olympic flame extinguished and the flag lowered. The main part of the evening featured a one hour symphony of British Music as a number of British Pop acts appeared. Tributes to John Lennon and Freddie Mercury and the fashion industry were included in the section. Rio marked the handover with an eight minute section known as Embrace created by Cao Hamburger and Daniela Thomas featuring Pele. Sebastian Coe gave a speech and the volunteers of London 2012 were thanked. An average of 23.2 million viewers in the United Kingdom watched the event, with an estimated 750 million worldwide. Critics were generally positive but noted that it wasn't as good as the opening ceremony. Some of the foreign reviews questioned whether everyone would have understood the nods to British film and television. George Michael was roundly critisied for his song choice while Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Russell Brand were critsised for not demonstrating the Olympic ethos. Gary Barlow was roundly praised for his appearance just a week after the death of his daughter. Some performers were initially reluctant to appear other high profile acts refused to perform at the ceremony. NBC in America and Prime TV in New Zealand were critisied by viewers for their broadcast of the ceremony. There was also a concert in Hyde Park to close the Olympics, headlined by Blur. The creative director and choreographer was Kim Gavin,[2][3][4] with Es Devlin resonsible for designing the set.[5] Stephen Daldry was the executive producer, with David Arnold as musical director and Mark Fisher in charge of production design. The ceremony cost ?20 million, with the artists paid just ?1 for contractual purposes.[6] Around 4,100 performers took part, comprising 3,500 adult volunteers, 380 schoolchildren from the six original host boroughs, and 250 professionals. There had been around 15 reh arsals for the volunteers at the Three Mills Studio and at a full scale site in Dagenham, East London.[3] The representation of the Union Flag used as an arena centrepiece was designed by Damien Hirst[7] to celebrate the "anarchy and diversity of British pop art, and by extension the energy and multiplicity of contemporary British culture". Hirst had been approached in November 2011 and agreed to do the design; he called his artwork Beautiful Union Jack Celebratory Patriotic Olympic Explosion in an Electric Storm Painting. 176 photographs made up one centimetre of the stadium artwork with graphic designers having spent three months creating super-high-resolution images before printing.[8] Gavin said that the show we are putting on is very shiny, it's very colourful. We dont want to bang on about our culture. We just want to have fun. Es Devlin added that it "has to make sense in Bognor and Bogota."[9] She said that the creators had happily indulged in the chance to "visually draw on everything" that British imagination can offer.[3] David Arnold said Its going to be beautiful, cheeky, cheesy, camp, silly and thrilling",[10] and added that "we could have done this 15 times over, and not had the same show, and it would still have been full of amazing British music". He thought that it should be the "greatest after party" and was really a celebration of Britishness in terms of [all] the arts". Arnold himself had devoted two years working on the ceremony and had turned down all other work including Skyfall, but said that it was the "most fun" he had "ever had in music".[11] In the handover section Rio aimed to express "multicultural embrace." Daniela Thomas stated that Rio "want to show you how sophisticated we mix things, what we do with the things you believe we are, how we mix with pop culture."[12] The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were not scheduled to attend as there is no formal role for the Head of State during the ceremony. The royal family was represented by Prince Harry, the Princess Royal and the Duchess of Cambridge.[13] Some performers had declined to perform, including The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Sex Pistols, Kate Bush and The Libertines.[14] According to industry insiders the Who apparently refused twice, and only agreed once they had announced a US tour. The Spice Girls were said to be reluctant to appear, feeling that the event was being staged at minimal cost, before their manager Simon Fuller persuaded them to perform.[15] Noel Gallagher turned down the chance to perform after first being asked to play acoustically and then to mime to "Wonderwall".[16]