London's New Summer Of Love

James Drury
By James Drury Last edited 43 months ago
London's New Summer Of Love


There's going to be a whole lotta hugs and smooching in London this summer as the Southbank Centre's Festival of Love celebrates the L-word with a Cupid's quiver-full of the arts.

This year's event is inspired by Nelson Mandela's humanitarian work and will see the site taken over by works on themes of all types of love — that between family and friends, love of colleagues or team-mates, romantic love and the wider love of humanity.

One of the most eye-catching events is the Big Wedding Weekend which sees up to 100 couples get hitched in mass marital ceremonies at the centre. The mega ceremonies will be followed by an option for all couples and their parties to eat together at a large wedding breakfast, before the celebratory evening entertainment on The Clore Ballroom.

Elsewhere, there'll be chance to fall in love with exhibitions by the likes of the late neon artist Chris Bracey (whose work you can otherwise see at Walthamstow's God's Own Junkyard), and an installation exploring the chemistry of playful love within mirrored walls, a maze and a tower, based on diagrams for the hormones serotonin and dopamine.

A multicoloured translucent plastic pavilion will be built on Festival Riverside, aiming to be a "sanctuary for peace, love and contemplation". Photos of it will no doubt be filling up your social media timeline when it opens on 6 June.

Love Flags by Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner uses the seven colours of the rainbow — signifying the peace and gay pride movements — and will fly from the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall roofs.

There will also be theatre, themed weekends, Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet sung by 200-voice indy choir Some Voices, loved-up gigs and loads more. You can find out what we thought of it on a visit to last year's festival.

The Festival Of Love runs from 6 June-31 August at the Southbank Centre. Many elements are free, and some are ticketed — for the full programme and tickets, visit the website.

Last Updated 23 May 2015