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Over 12 million enjoy the arts as part of London 2012 Festival

  • Date: 7 August 2012
  • Area: National
Man standing in front of bell tower

Almost three million people rang bells for Martin Creed's All The Bells commission. Credit: Chris Watt

The London 2012 Festival, a nationwide celebration of the arts running alongside the Olympic and Paralympic Games, has been hailed by organisers as a huge success. 

It is estimated that the 12 week festival, of which Arts Council England is a principal funder, has so far attracted an audience in excess of 12 million people.

This comprises 9.6 million people taking part in free events and a further 2.5 million enjoying paid-for events.

The biggest attraction in terms of numbers so far has been All The Bells, artist Martin Creed's mass call to action which saw nearly three million people ring bells to mark the start of the London 2012 Games.

Featuring more than 25,000 artists and 12,000 events and performances, the festival will continue in full swing across the UK right up until the final day of the London 2012 Paralympic Games on 9 September.

Highlights include Unlimited, the Arts Council's flagship programme of 29 commissions celebrating the work of Deaf and disabled artists, which culminates in an 11-day celebration on 30 August - 9 September at London's Southbank Centre.

Moira Sinclair, Executive Director, London, Arts Council England, said: 'We are proud to be part of what is becoming a very special year for arts and culture. Our investment has enabled artists to push boundaries and deliver fantastic new work across the whole country - and there are still some incredible events to come. This is a national celebration and we hope everyone can get involved in this once in a lifetime opportunity and see something new, exciting and, perhaps, life-changing.'

The London 2012 Festival is the finale of the wider Cultural Olympiad. To find out more about our involvement, visit the London 2012 pages on our website.