Feature: The Olympic Torch
By Hannah D'Arcy on June 13, 2012 in Society
In case you’ve been trapped in a hole for the past four years, London is hosting the Olympics this July. As part of the on-going celebrations being thrust upon us, the Olympic Torch is having a 70-day tour of the United Kingdom, arriving in the North East on Friday.
The incandescent conical sieve is scheduled to land in Newcastle at 4:30pm. It will make its way through the city centre to the quayside where it will be carried across the Tyne, not by safely walking it over one of the river’s seven bridges, but by flying off the Tyne Bridge on a ZIPWIRE attatched to celebrity wizz-drinker Bear Grylls.
Prime locations to see the torch on its journey around Newcastle are Northumberland Street; Times Square; Old Eldon Square; Civic Centre and Greys Monument.
Newcastle City Council have organised an afternoon of celebrations on St Ann’s Quay, starting at 4:30pm. Entertainment includes dance performances from local youngsters, acrobatics, a set from local band Little Comets and appearances from Got To Dance winners Chris & Wes and Britain’s Got Talent finalists Twist & Pulse.
The staged area is ticketed, but big screens set up around the quayside will display all of the action. If it tickles your fancy, you can have your photograph taken with the Naked Flame of Sport (but I wouldn’t wear too much hairspray) and engage in “other Olympic-related activities”. It’s worth sticking around when the celebrations end at 8:00pm though, as the Sweden vs. England game will be broadcast on the big screens around the quayside.
At around nine o’clock the following morning, the torch arrives in Roker, Sunderland, travelling through Fulwell, over the Wearmouth Bridge and through Mowbray Park before heading down Chester Road towards Durham at 10:00am.
Sunderland Council has joined forces with the organisers of the hugely popular Split Festival to create a three-day celebration in Herrington Park, coinciding the arrival of the torch with Sunderland Live. The proceedings get underway on Friday evening, with a funfair and an open-air screening of Mamma Mia! at 5:00pm. Saturday sees the inclusion of Split Feastival (which means there’s a FOOD VILLAGE – mmm) and Sunderland goes all Grace Jones at 11:40am with a world record Hula Hoop attempt.
At midday the festival kicks off fully, with the amphitheatre being the epicentre of the daytime musical entertainment, featuring acts such as The Real Davina, The Lake Poets and The Generals. Elsewhere onsite, there will be family-friendly craft and sports activities until 6:00pm, an open-air screening of The Lion King at 3:00pm (just to remind all the children that their parents will one day die) and The Italian Job at 6:30pm.
Further heartbreak will come in the returning form of the beautiful melodies of local favourites The Lake Poets at 8:20pm, before the evening’s music is brought to a climax by Radio One darlings Frankie & The Heartstrings, who’s 45-minute set will be followed by a firework display. Sunday sees the return of the food village (geddup) and the fun fair, as well as a brass band playing from 10:30am – 4:00pm. Fans of local music should head along to the EDF marquee, where The Bunker will be presenting a crop of local musical talent from midday until 4:00pm. There will also be two more TBC open-air screenings at 4:00pm and 6:00pm.
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