Sunday, 20 May 2012

Escaping the summer of sport in 2012

Theatre seats
(Photo courtesy of DeaPeaJay on Flickr)
A summer of sport that includes the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and European Football Championships is now only a few weeks away.
While this is great news for sports fans, plenty of people will be looking at ways to avoid the mass hysteria that these events will cause.
For anybody keen to get out and about rather than spending day after day sat on the sofa or down the local pub, we’ve compiled an events guide to give you a flavour of what’s on in the UK from June through to September.
How to escape…
Euro 2012 (June 8-July 1)
The Udderbelly Festival returns to the Southbank Centre in London once more and the temporary theatre venue is set to play host to the likes of Andrew Maxwell and Sean Hughes, while Simon Amstell has a trio of stand-up gigs pencilled in at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
June and July are stellar months for music fans hoping to catch a glimpse of some truly iconic performers.  Fresh from the release of his latest critically-acclaimed album Sonik Kicks, Paul Weller will roll out a hit-laden set in the unusual surroundings of Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire. The Coldplay lads and Bruce Springsteen play Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium and Pearl Jam also head to Manchester for two dates at the MEN Arena.
Veteran crooner Tony Bennett and Elton John are still going strong and are set to appear throughout the UK, proving the old adage that age is just a number. Anticipation is building ahead of the first solo gig for former White Stripes star Jack White and summer 2012 also marks a return for Hot Chip. Operating at the opposite end of the music spectrum are Plan B and Russell Watson, who are both poised to wow the crowds this year.
A special performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream  is due to take place outdoors inRegent’s Park, offering William Shakespeare aficionados the chance to watch this masterpiece away from a traditional theatre. What’s more, the usual array of West End shows will also run through the summer.
The Olympics (July 27-August 12)
Two comedy heavyweights will have audiences in stitches when Jimmy Carr and Jason Byrne hit the road for their latest tours.
The much-anticipated Steps reunion happens this summer as Claire, Faye, H, Lee and Lisa prepare to come together to perform smash-hit songs like 5, 6, 7, 8, Tragedy, Deeper Shade of Blue and One for Sorrow for the first time since the band went their separate ways in 2001.
Tom Jones is also back with fresh material as well as a back catalogue of memorable tunes, while Olly Murs continues to go from strength to strength after shooting to stardom during the 2009 X-Factor. Meanwhile, thousands of dance fans will descend on Long Marston Airfield for Global Gathering.
The Paralympics (August 29-September 9)
The gags will come thick and fast when Frankie Boyle and Michael McIntyre take to the stage later this year.
Pulled Apart By Horses, Ms Dynamite and Alex Winston are among the acts set to play Underage Festival in Shoreditch Park. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds also commence a series of arena dates and the former Oasis star’s new project is bound to be given a rapturous welcome when it rocks up in Cardiff, Liverpool and Nottingham.
If you’re planning a trip to London to coincide with August bank holiday then why not take a ‘flight’ on the London Eye or marvel at the architectural brilliance of St Paul’s Cathedral. Alternatively, head to the British Music Experience at the O2 Arena for a fascinating collection of memorabilia charting the rise of iconic bans such as The Beatles, Spice Girls and Oasis.
What are you off to watch this summer? We’d love to hear from you!

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