Although strongly geared towards classical music, the event also offers jazz, world music, opera, lectures, guided tours and film screenings.
2013 - To Be Annouced
The ethos of the festival is to "entertain and inspire the City's workers, residents and visitors with special events and world-class artists in beautiful surroundings, whilst providing unique opportunities for targeted business dialogue, community involvement, learning and participation."
Much of the event is free, allowing and encouraging people from all ages and backgrounds to enjoy the programme.
Reviews have described the event as "diverse" and the kind of event where there is "something to fit every mood".
Comments from the media
- "One of the joys of the City of London Festival is its ability to uncover such more or less hidden gems, and then fill them with music." Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard
- "No festival in the country has a greater wealth of outstanding venues at its disposal than the City of London, with all the churches, guild halls and open spaces of the Square Mile available for concerts, lectures and outdoor events." Andrew Clements, the Guardian
History and facts
Originating in 1962, The then Lord Mayor Sir Fredick Hoare introduced the first souvenir programme with the following statement, one that encapsulates the aims and initiatives of the festival.
"Despite the fact the City of London is better known today mainly for its material efforts, in so many ways there is still a strong recognition of the things that have inspiration. This can be seen in the multitude of beautiful churches and the magnificence of St Paul's Cathedral. Within the Livery Companies there are many treasures of utmost beauty....this Festival is trying to show many things that are beautiful and inspired by the arts - music by the masters, played by the masters, the song, the play, the opera, verse, tragedy and comedy - in the setting of this our most historic capital, and perhaps by doing so release man for a while and remind him that there are other things than those entirely material."
Since then the festival has expanded year on year, widely broadcast by the BBC and established as one of the leading arts events in the UK.
Promoting emerging artist amongst renowned international performers, the festival also reinforces its ongoing 'Trading Places' theme which links the City "culturally and commercially with its historic partners overseas.".
Every midsummer for three weeks the event provides more than 50 ticketed performances and over 100 free events outdoors.
Venues and other non-programme entertainment
50+ outdoor and indoor venues participate in City Of London festival, from the culture hotspot the Barbican to historic buildings such as St Paul's Cathedral. A full list of venues taking part can be found here.
For many, the sheer variety of locations that the festival takes part is fun novelty itself. Many see the festival as a chance to appreciate the city they have come to love, and for those who do not live in London see it as a great introduction to the area.
The festival is also lucky enough to gain access to buildings and areas which are often closed to the public.
Outside of the main programmed event, the festival also participates in a year-round programme, which consists of arts projects in schools and community groups in London and surrounding areas.
On Site Information
For specific venue and running times, it's best to check the details of your chosen performance and it's designated venues.
In regards to disabled access the festival prides itself on being committed to providing a festival open and accessible for all.
For queries regarding access you can contact 020 7383 3585, alternatively if you are a wheelchair user and you have booked for a ticketed event, contact the box office on 0845 120 7502.
Location, travel and accommodation
Situated in London, all festival venues are best travelled to by public transport, as driving in London can be tricky.
The main website details which tube stations are closest to which areas, and the Transport For London website can advise you how to get there if you are based in London.
If you are travelling from outside London, it's is advised to get a National Rail train to London Mainland train stations, such as Kings Cross, Victoria and Waterloo, then get the tube or bus, using TFL for additional advice.
If you are visiting from outside the country, it's advised to land at London Heathrow and get the tube or bus from there.
In regards to accommodation, there are plenty of hotels, hostels and B&B in London, with the help of Lastminute.com you can find one to suit your needs and budget.
Tickets and contacts
The events fall into the following categories:
- Free but places still need to be booked.
- Free but venue operates on a first come first serve basis.
- Free with no need to book in advance.
- Paid events.
For bookings, you can purchase tickets by researching the individual event you want on the official website, then follow the relevant links.
Tickets for paid events can vary, with some venues offering different prices bands depending on where you wish to sit
For more information find out here.