Shangri-La comes to London's Pleasure Gardens

an exclusive peak inside the waterside festival site for London 2012

published: Wed 7th Dec 2011

Badlands Shangri-La

Thursday 21st June to Friday 21st September 2012
various locations across London, and the UK, England
varies depending upon event main events free
daily capacity: 100000
last updated: Tue 10th Jul 2012

There will be a chance to step inside another world at London's Pleasure Gardens next year, as the team behind Glastonbury Festival's favourite late night entertainment area Shangri-La create a waterside festival site featuring events, live music and cross-cultural collaborations for the London 2012 Olympics. eFestivals brings you the lowdown for this ephemeral city.

Badlands Shangri-La
The team won the mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, and mayor of London, Boris Johnson's competition to find 'meanwhile' uses for prominent brownfield sites in the Olympic borough of Newham.

As winners they will be creating a waterside festival site called London Pleasure Gardens which will feature events, live music and cross-cultural collaborations until 2014.

During the Olympic period, between 27th July and 9th September they will be creating a festive atmosphere at The London Pleasure Gardens which will be a walk-through experience for people to enjoy walkabout characters, low-profile bands, outdoor acrobats, artwork and sculpture gardens.

The team includes Debs Armstrong, who is the creative Director and co-producer of the Shangri-La area at Glastonbury Festival, and was also the co-Founder and Producer of the Lost Vagueness area which preceded it, as well as the designer of bespoke events and live music tours by the likes of Groove Armada, and Ed Harcourt.

Also involved are Robin Collings who organised Stoke Newington Festival and Bassline Circus at Glastonbury, and Garfield Hackett who did Mutate Britain, and Cordy House.

Their areas and events blur the boundaries between art and entertainment and will kick start the regeneration of The Royal Docks. Their plan involves bringing East London Culture to The Olympics, whilst supporting the cultural legacy of the games through the provision of a multi-functional cultural destination.

The Pontoon Dock will be transformed from its current state of dereliction into the 60,000 sq.m waterside leisure park that's an amazing cultural hub for Londoners and tourists that is both avant-garde and inclusive to celebrate art and culture featuring both year-round attractions and seasonal spectaculars.

The 40,000 capacity space will be opening on the Queen's Jubilee Weekend, and during the Olympics, and Debs Armstrong explained exclusively to eFestivals more about it, saying, "The idea is to create a shimmering, twinkling ephemeral city more akin to the legendary city, rather than the one at Glastonbury. A mythical place that appears temporarily and then vanishes.

"It's about bringing an otherworldly experience to London for a couple of years, one that will disappear again. A contrast to the grot, grime, and depression of everyday life, which was what the original Pleasure Gardens did.

"It will bring a total contrast to anything London has at present. We will be creating a 'real festival' feeling in London. A lovely space where you're contained, where you can move around and explore, meet people, and be entertained. It will be completely designed for an immersive audience experience, that isn't available in london at the moment. From the lights to the sofas, to the venues, to the gardens, it's all tranpsorting the audience to another world."

The park will feature 'The Hub' from Glastonbury Festival, with the outside built like a "shrunken and distorted Canary wharf" and will be a dance venue, a Geodesic Dome venue that will host theatre, circus and comedy, concert stage, a floating restaurant & cocktail bar, landscaped walkways, cafes and bars, pop up hotel, riverside terrace, water-attractions including floating cinema, and host open-air summer shows with some 'amazing acts' planned to perform.

There will also be the wild meadows, that have been left for fifty years and covered in wild flowers, sweat peas, and blackberries. Debs Armstrong explains, "What that site gives you is a real journey from being inside a stark industrial city, to suddenly being in the country. There's a real sense of travelling to different landscapes."

The project will feature many of the areas and people who are involved in the "Naughty Corner" of Glastonbury Festival.

The ShangriLa Hub

Thursday 21st June to Friday 21st September 2012
various locations across London, and the UK, England
varies depending upon event main events free
daily capacity: 100000
last updated: Tue 10th Jul 2012


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