The City of London Festival was founded in 1962 as an independent trust supported equally by the business community, the City of London Corporation, and the general public, with the aim of revitalising the cultural life of the City. Since then it has become established as one of the UK’s leading arts events, widely broadcast by the BBC and much written about in the press.
The Festival animates the unique buildings and outdoor spaces of the City with an extensive artistic programme ranging across many kinds of music, visual arts, film, walks and talks: more than 50 ticketed performances and over 100 free events outdoors. In recent years its international character has been reinforced in its ongoing ‘Trading Places’ theme, linking the City culturally and commercially with its historic partners overseas.
The Festival also delivers a year-round programme of arts projects in schools and community groups in the City of London and its surrounding boroughs. The creative energies of the education programme’s participants generate a unique element of the Festival season: projects culminate in public performances and exhibitions during the Festival each summer.
Festival performances range from large-scale orchestral concerts in St Paul’s Cathedral to intimate chamber recitals in the City’s beautiful but hidden livery halls, and from innovative aerial acrobatics to jazz bands in the Guildhall Yard. The Festival is proud of its commitment to commissioning and programming new work alongside more well-known repertoire; and of promoting new and emerging artists as well as renowned international performers.