The Volunteer Drummers from the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

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The Pandemonium Drummers Are Legacy in Goverment Report

The second annual report on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by the UK Goverment and the Mayor of London features the Pandemonium Drummers!

The Pandemonium Drummers Are Officially Epic

We are the national winners of the Epic Awards 2014 for England, an award celebrating voluntary arts groups across the UK and the Republic of Ireland!

Special Achievement Award for Exemplary Volunteering

Our volunteering work was recognised at the Team London 2013 Awards Ceremony with an award presented by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, and Darwin Bernardo, previous winner. Photo: Kois Miah

Pandemonium Drummers Online Shop

T-shirts, magic mugs, badges, outerwear and more, with a variety of motives related to the London 2012 Opening and Closing Ceremonies -

The London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

The Pandemonium Drummers were the 965 volunteer drummers who supported a dramatic soundtrack to the Pandemonium segment that saw one of the biggest live stage set changes in history.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Two Years Ago: The London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

On 27th July 2012, the world watched a revolutionary storytelling concept for an Olympic Opening Ceremony, masterminded by Danny Boyle, unfold in the bowl of the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, London.

The Industrial Revolution segment was the moment the Pandemonium Drummers appeared for the first time.

None of us expected to be drumming the same buckets two years later.

Last year, we reminisced about the big day in three blog posts:

Last year, we also returned to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for a performance close to the Olympic Stadium:
This year, we again return to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for a performance even closer to the Olympic Stadium - we are performing at the Great British Carnival!

The Great British Carnival in the Olympic Park

Join us at 12.30 in the Drum Circle area for a demonstration of our sound and how our rhythms are built up.

At 14.15, we will be in the Music Room area, where we will relive the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony with a rendition of the Industrial Revolution sound track And I Will Kiss.

As this is a carnival event, we will also play the Panda Samba!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Second UK Government Legacy Report features the Pandemonium Drummers

The UK Government and the Mayor of London published the second annual report on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games, in which the Pandemonium Drummers feature as a case study.

While main headlines picked up by the media focus on the announcement of surpassing the economic four-year target in less than two years, the report lists a number of achievements in other areas, such as the impact on communities with a mention of the Pandemonium Drummers on page 63 and 64.

The Second Annual Legacy Report

Overall, the 84-page document Inspired by 2012: The legacy from the Olympic and Paralympic Games - second annual report describes the activities which took place in the second year since the Games to build a lasting legacy across a number of commitments, namely sport and healthy living, the regeneration of east London, bringing communities together, the Paralympic legacy and economic growth.

The report includes a foreword by the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London, and an assessment of progress by Lord Sebastian Coe, the Prime Minister’s Olympic & Paralympic Legacy Ambassador.

The Pandemonium Drummers feature in Chapter 5: Bringing Communities Together as a case study including a picture taken by our photographer Vilma Laryea at the Open East Festival in 2013.

The Legacy Role of the Pandemonium Drummers

The Communities chapter lists a number of activities with links to the Pandemonium Drummers, such as:
Somewhat surprising is the report's omission of the Special Olympics, for which the Pandemonium Drummers performed in Bath 2013, which although recognised by the International Olympic Committee does not seem to have any links to the Government's legacy activities.

The Pandemonium Drummers' Second Year

Like the Government and the Mayor of London, the Pandemonium Drummers have been and continue to be very busy building a legacy of the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games.

The Pandemonium Drummers have been so busy that event reporting on this website was falling behind - after all, we are still reliant on the goodwill of members as a 100% non-profit volunteer organisation, and the most precious resource, time, is occasionally high in demand.

We will take the upcoming second anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, the official birthday of the Pandemonium Drummers, as an opportunity to report on our second year, which was full of remarkable highlights none of our drummers would ever have expected.

Check back over the next few days to read summaries of our past twelve months:

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Pandemonium Drummers at the Girl Summit 2014

The Pandemonium Drummers drummed at the Girl Summit in support of putting an end to female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

The Girl Summit 2014, held in London at Walworth Academy, was a high profile conference organised by the UK Department for International Development and UNICEF, and it rightly attracted a worldwide media echo.

The day before the actual conference, the Pandemonium Drummers performed at the evening reception for delegates in the wonderful surroundings of Lancaster House.

At the conference itself, the Pandemonium Drummers provided a solemn soundtrack to a presentation of quotes from and photos of affected girls as a strong statement why this summit is necessary.

The Pandemonium Drummers also performed at lunchtime.

In addition to our usual plastic and metal bucket drums, some Pandemonium Drummers brought djembes and other percussion instruments for sequences of African-inspired drumming.

We are proud to support such an important event.

Further information:

Photo credits:
(1) @DFID_Duncan via Twitter
(2) @gbooth87 via Twitter

Some reactions on Twitter:

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Thumbs Up for Stephen: Celebrating his Life in Lichfield - 3pm, 30th May

We will join the celebrations of the life of Stephen Sutton, Honorary Pandemonium Drummer, on Friday 30th May at 3pm in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

As the two-day vigil comes to a close, we will assemble in front of Lichfield Cathedral for the public farewell ceremony, wearing yellow ribbons.

At approximately 3.45pm, we will lead the cortège procession while drumming, and the family has asked for a joyous and celebratory mood to remember Stephen's relentlessly positive attitude.

We will be joined by Mike Dolbear, drum co-ordinator for the UEFA Champions League Final 2013 Opening Ceremony, the event that saw Stephen drumming to a crowd of 90,000 people.

Mike will carry and drum on an original Bayern München shield from the UEFA Champions League Final, as this was the instrument Stephen used in the performance.

We feel incredibly honoured to have been asked by the family and the Teenage Cancer Trust to partake in Stephen's farewell ceremony, and we are painting our website yellow to show our support.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Pandemonium May Madness: Stadium Events, TV Coverage and Festivals

The FA Cup Final, Heineken Cup Final, Football Conference Playoff Final, Paul O'Grady Show, TEDx, Beltain Wicker Man Festival, and Stephen Sutton's vigil - May 2014 is not short of highlights for the Pandemonium Drummers.

We are busy - so busy that the reporting on this site is outpaced by the sheer scale of our current gigs and lags behind, and we are still doing 100% of all tasks as volunteers, with none of us taking any salary, instead investing large amounts of their personal time and resources.

This investment paid off in May 2014 significantly:

  • We played at Wembley Stadium twice - matching our biggest live gig today at The FA Cup Final, and returning just a day later for the Football Conference Playoff Final.
  • Millennium Stadium was our first gig venue outside of England, and the very last ever Heineken Cup Final saw a 24-strong well-choreographed group of drummers in the opening ceremony before the rugby match Toulon vs Saracens.
  • Earlier this month, gigs at a TEDx event and at Butser Ancient Farm for the Beltain Wicker Man Festival showed that we are still supporting smaller events - it's just that 'small' has a different meaning for us now.
  • Our first appearance in a national TV show was a gig opening the Paul O'Grady Show on ITV!
  • And on Friday 30 May, we will celebrate the life of honorary PD Stephen's story (✝ 14/05/2014) at Lichfield Cathedral.

So, what will be next?

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Stephen Sutton: Honorary Pandemonium Drummer - ✝ 14/05/2014

Stephen Sutton passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Wednesday, 14th May 2014.

We drummed with him in the UEFA Champions League Final 2013 pre-show at Wembley Stadium in front of 90,000 people, fulfilling an item from Stephen's bucket list, and we made him the first Honorary Pandemonium Drummer.

Stephen was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 15 and found out that his disease was incurable in 2013.

He was dubbed a 'fundraising phenomenon' by the media; his unbeatable positive outlook on life touched and motivated people across the globe and drew in support from a wide range of celebrities.

This is a message from the Chair of the Pandemonium Drummers, Neil Goulder:
Stephen's endless cheery optimism lifted everyone who met him. He made extraordinary things happen and will never be forgotten by those of us fortunate to have met him. 

Rest now, Stephen. You taught us a great deal about life, and have inspired thousands to carry on your work. 

Stephen Sutton. Honorary Drummer 1001 of the Pandemonium Drummers 
When we return to Wembley Stadium this weekend, we will drum in memory of Stephen.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Return to Wembley Stadium: FA Cup Final 2014

The Pandemonium Drummers will perform in the Opening Ceremony for the FA Cup Final 2014 at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, 17th May, alongside the Band of the Welsh Guards and Leona Lewis!

- Wembley Stadium -
Just before the kick-off at 5pm, the fourth biggest ever contingent of Pandemonium Drummers will inject rhythmic energy into a dynamic Opening Ceremony to build atmosphere and expectation for a definite highlight in the English football calendar, the FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Hull City.

We will join a large cast of dancers and other performers to introduce the two teams, providing a suitable welcome for the 22 players.

Watch The FA Cup Final on ITV1 from 3pm and BT Sport 1 from 4.15pm. Kick-off is at 5pm, and the ceremony with the Pandemonium Drummers starts at ca 4.45pm.

Photo credit: CC Jack Davison via Wikimedia Commons