You don’t need to be inside the Olympic Stadium to enjoy the Games. Two of London’s best parks will be screening all the action and serving up some fantastic music and activities on the side – for free
Missed out on getting tickets for the Olympics? Don’t have a tantrum, there’s still a chance to catch all the action and atmosphere, alongside a medal-worthy programme of music and entertainment.
As part of the BT London Live initiative, big screens showing all the sporting events will be placed in Victoria Park and Hyde Park during the Olympics, and in Trafalgar Square during the Paralympics.
And that’s not all. Accompanying every nail- biting contest will be live music from a range of British stars – from hot new urban acts to veteran pop royalty – as well as enough games and activities to rival the Olympics themselves.
The best news of all is that it’s free – you can just turn up and walk in (this does’t include the Opening and Closing Ceremony events). Space is limited, so you might need to queue (or be organised enough to book a ‘guaranteed entry’ ticket), but that’s as difficult as it gets.
None other than Tom Jones will be among the stars taking to the Hyde Park main stage between July 28 and August 11. Other acts include Newton Faulkner, The Feeling, McFly, Feeder, The Temper Trap, Saint Etienne, Alexandra Burke, Amy Macdonald, The Levellers, The Beat and the cast of We Will Rock You.
Proceedings are a little more eclectic and generally booty-shaking over at Victoria Park, with the likes of Norman Jay, Soul II Soul, Brand New Heavies, Alejandro And The Magic Tombolinos and Trans Siberian Marching Band among the acts scheduled to perform, plus DJ sets from Horse Meat Disco, Club de Fromage and Sean Rowley’s Guilty Pleasures.
If you like your kicks a little closer to the cutting edge, the BT Vision Stage at Hyde Park is the place to be. Here you’ll find Conor Maynard, The Noisettes, Tinchy Stryder, Aiden Grimshaw, Dot Rotten, Roots Manuva, Dry the River, Josh Osho, Lucy Rose and more.
The Trafalgar Square line-up is yet to be announced. But it’s not just about the music – these events are as Olympic as Steve Redgrave’s mantelpiece.
There will be the chance to try out some of the sports being shown on the screens. From badminton to boxing, hockey to handball, and even wheelchair basketball and rugby, many of the Games’ most exciting and intense disciplines will be laid on for the sweaty investigation of anyone who finds that spectating just isn’t enough.
Hyde Park visitors also have the chance to meet some sporting greats of the past. Dame Kelly Holmes, decathlete Daley Thompson and rower Greg Searle are among those who will be getting up close and personal with their fans at meet-and-greet sessions in the park’s BT House.
And then there’s everything else: an explosion of acrobatics, dance, drumming, comedy, magic and so much more.
There’ll be bungee trampolines, a zipline and a water-zorbing pool (where you navigate your way across the water inside a giant plastic ball) at Victoria Park, as well as the 55 metre BT Observation Wheel, which has views out over the Olympic Stadium.
And, most importantly of all, what all three places will have in abundance is the singular sense of excitement that accompanies a once-in-a-generation event. London might not experience anything like this again within all of our lifetimes. So, though you might not have front row seats for the men’s 100m final, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying the atmosphere. That much, at least, is all of ours for the taking.