Open East festival marks opening of Olympic North Park

PUBLISHED: 12:57 02 August 2013 | UPDATED: 12:57 02 August 2013

The Open East festival

The Open East festival


The north of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park opened to the public at the weekend as thousands of people flocked to the Open East Festival.

The Open East festivalThe Open East festival

The section of the park, which is about the half the size of St James Park in central London, opened on July 27 to coincide with the start of last year’s London Games.

The North Park, which partly lies in Hackney borough, has a new cafe and community space with a £1million playground featuring trees with huts and water areas.

The Copper Box, where handball was played during the games has now been converted into a multi-use arena.

Visitors made themselves heard by screaming themselves hoarse at the sports screen as Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Usain Bolt returned to the nearby Olympic Stadium for the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, and younger visitors took part in their own races along a mini-track.

The Open East festivalThe Open East festival

Live music acts from all around the world including Malian couple Amadou and Mariam and Nigerian Seun Kuti, and young festival goers got to stroke Joey, the National Theatre’s War Horse, brought to life by puppeteering experts.

The queue for Sacrilege – a life-size inflatable Stonehenge by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller – was up to 40 minutes long and Mayor of London Boris Johnson could be seen enjoying the spectacle nearby.

Entertainment came from acts like the Pandemonium drummers who also performed at the Olympic Opening Ceremony, and BMX riders’ stunts on a ramp against the backdrop of the Velodrome.

The festival was a joint collaboration between City Hall, arts organisation Create London, the London Legacy Development Corporation, the Barbican arts centre.

The South Park is due to open next summer.

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