"Biggest cultural event" in British history poised to begin

From tomorrow (June 21), Britain’s biggest ever cultural event will begin in the form of the Cultural Olympiad.

Event venues across the UK are set to host thousands of musicians, theatre and arts performances, while local communities are gearing up to celebrate the start of the Olympic countdown in their own special ways.

In the Lake District for example, Olympiad supporters plan to light up the skies with a pyrotechnic display above Windermere, bbc.co.uk reports. In Wales meanwhile, artist Jeremy Deller, plans to bring an inflatable replica of Stonehenge to the National Botanical Gardens in Carmarthen.

In total, around 25,000 artists and 12,000 performers are set to put on shows in more than 900 venues to show their support for the Olympiad. Around 137 performances of which will be world premières.

It is a scale which Tony Hall, the chair of the £55 million cultural wing of the Olympics festival, says the public is yet to realise.

Speaking to guardian.co.uk, he said: “I don’t think that the penny has quite dropped yet with the public. There are 38 days to the Games, but just two days until the start of the biggest cultural event in our history.”

London, as host city for the Olympic Games, is understandably a major focal point for some of the greatest action. Yesterday, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed that around a fifth of free tickets for the London 2012 festivities have been snapped up, while half of the event’s four million paid-for tickets have been sold.