Brand new music and a brand new festival head up this weekend’s activities in London. There’s also the chance to sample top tapas and wear a French wig (not at the same time).
New Music 20×12 Weekend at the Southbank Centre
Beat boxing, fire artists and even giant wasps are promised in this weekend of musical premieres and activities at the South Bank Centre. Twenty new pieces have been commissioned for 2012 as part of the London 2012 Festival. They’re all 12 minutes long and are inspired by the dynamism of the Games. You can fit rather a lot into 12 minutes – take the short opera Our Day, which tells the story of Olympic gold medallist Mary Peters against the backdrop of the troubles in Northern Ireland in 1972. Most events are free but some workshops are ticketed.
Bastille Day celebration at Canada Square Park
This not-so-British celebration is part of the City of London Festival which runs in June and July. Bring your own wine and cheese to commemorate the turning point in the French revolution when the Bastille prison in Paris was stormed in 1789. The anniversary is France’s national day, and so it’s fitting that French acts will perform in Canada Square Park in Canary Wharf in the afternoon and early evening. Entertainment starts with euro ska jazz from Santa Macairo Orkestar, followed by young musician L whose songs are twists on French music, and finally the KKC Orchestra which fuses hip-hop and electro swing.
Vietnam Summer Festival at Spitalfields Market
Vietnam is proudly waving its flag at this brand new festival at the renowned Spitalfields food market, where food stalls from different regions will offer tasters of dishes like the classic Pho noodle soup - often eaten for breakfast in the country. If you’re feeling energetic, try out traditional Vietnamese games like jute-bag jumping (much like sack races in the UK) or the intriguingly named “dragon-snake”, a complex group game involving a script, a doctor and a very angry dragon.
Rioja Tapas Fantasticas at Potters Fields Park
It will be fiesta time on the South Bank for this celebration of top Spanish cuisine. Raise a glass of red, white or rosé Rioja wine in Potters Fields Park, overlooking Tower Bridge. Tapas – the perfect walk-and-eat cuisine – will be on sale from London’s Spanish restaurants and live Spanish music and cookery demonstrations are also on offer. You might return as a wine buff after some workshops and wine walks with experts Olly Smith and Susy Atkins.
What are you up to this weekend? Post your tips below.