The Volunteer Drummers from the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

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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

Triumphant Return to the Olympic Park

Over 30,000 people enthusiastically celebrated our first fully volunteer-run big stage show involving 150 performers at the Go Local festival.

UEFA Champions League Final 2013

Over 300 Pandemonium Drummers opened the UEFA Champions League Final with a spectacular performance as pawns in a giant real-life chess game at Wembley Stadium.

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, 9 March 2014

Rumbling for the World's Badminton Elite in Birmingham

The Pandemonium Drummers opened the finals of the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships 2014 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham on Sunday, 9th March 2014.

Departing very early on a Sunday morning, a crew of 40 volunteers traveled to Birmingham with plastic buckets, blue lightbulb bowler hats and blue jackets from the London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony, which perfectly matched the colour of the event's volunteer outfit.

The day of the tournament finals started with the Championships Show at 11.30am, with the Pandemonium Drummers as the first act of the local Opening Ceremony, followed by elaborate LED hoop juggling by Helen Orford and her team.

In a newly developed sequence by our own drum captain Steve Ball, three drummers with glowing drum sticks had a rhythmic conversation with themselves and the audience before the full group entered the stage area to energise spectators with stomping beats.

After our performance, we took the opportunity to watch similarly powerful Badminton finals in the Arena.

About the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships at The NIA

Badminton has a massive following in Southeast Asia, and the finals were dominated by teams from that region.

The All England Open is one of the oldest and most prestigious events in this discipline and attracts the world's best players.

The National Indoor Arena in Birmingham is one of the busiest large-scale indoor sporting and entertainment venues in Europe and has a maximum capacity of about 14,000 people.

The Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships have run at The NIA since 1994.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Pandemonium Drummers Win Epic Award 2014

The Pandemonium Drummers have been announced as the national winners of the Epic Award 2014 for England!

Making the shortlist was already a great recognition of our work, and winning the Epic Award is another amazing stage on our exciting, unexpected and life-changing journey since we were brought together as volunteer performers by Danny Boyle for the London 2012 Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

Our original bucket drums and three styles of costumes have proved surprisingly versatile and made an audible impact at a wide range of large and small fundraising events including community festivals, charity balls, arts festivals, parades, theatre concerts and volunteer events.

The award announcement caught us just after a three-night theatre residency and during our preparations for a series of major gigs later this year, including sports-related arena performances with large audiences and shows developed by ourselves.

We are very proud of another epic award win!

About the Epic Awards

The Epic Awards were set up by Voluntary Arts in 2010 to celebrate voluntary arts groups across the UK and Republic of Ireland and to recognise the skill, innovation and hard work of the volunteers.

A panel of expert judges assessed 24 shortlisted groups and selected a winner and runner up for each of the four categories: England, Northern Ireland / Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The awards were presented by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Fiona Hyslop MSP at a special ceremony in Glasgow on the 26 February 2014, and a delegation of Pandemonium Drummers enjoyed a trip to the 2014 Commonwealth Games city for the ceremony as well as the Voluntary Arts conference Culture, Creativity and You: Why Making Matters.

More information:

Monday, 10 February 2014

UEFA features Stephen's Story

UEFA released a video featuring Stephen's Story with lots of backstage coverage from our 2013 UEFA Champion's League Final gig.

Stephen Sutton was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and one of the items on his bucket list was to drum in front of a huge audience.

Thanks to London 2012 drum co-ordinator Mike Dolbear, he joined us for the gig with our biggest live audience to date: the UEFA Champion's League Final Opening Ceremony at Wembley Stadium!

Watch this video to learn more about Stephen's Story and how he experienced the massive Opening Ceremony at Wembley among a 400-strong group of Pandemonium Drummers and other volunteer performers.

Just after the gig, Stephen was made a Honorary Pandemonium Drummer and received an original bucket drum from the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Please support Stephen's fundraising campaign for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Wet but colourful: Swinging Sixties at London's New Year's Day Parade 2014

We were so happy to be invited back to the London New Year's Day Parade that we forgot the rain and created a colourful pandemonium with all new costumes that reflected the 2014 parade motto Swinging Sixties.

The World's Biggest New Year Parade

The prestigious parade, the biggest of its kind in the world, runs every year from Green Park via Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall to Westminster Palace, passing a number of iconic London landmarks for a world-wide TV audience.

Traditionally, several highly skilled international marching bands are invited to the parade, and the London boroughs are staging a competition for the best entry among their ranks, so being in the parade for the second time after 2013 is a great honour.

Despite the weather, hundreds of thousands lined the streets for the full three hours of the parade to cheer on the participants.

New Rhythms, New Costumes, New Performers

For the 2014 parade, we rehearsed new rhythms, culminating in a two-minute showcase at the end of the route in front of a VIP grandstand, multiple TV cameras, and a horde of press photographers.

This year we were supported by dancers from the 2012 Legacy Project, who added visual impact, setting the self-designed costumes brilliantly in scene.

The Legacy by the 2012 Legacy Project will be performed on 25 January at The Place and also features several Pandemonium Drummers as dancers.

Press Echo

Our contribution to the parade featured on BBC London News, and a photographer from the Press Association managed to capture a great shot, which was distributed to news outlets world-wide, which you might have seen on ITV, Huffington Post, Mirror, Evening Standard and elsewhere.

The journalists could not quite decide whether our drum captain represented John Lennon (ITV) or Jethro Tull (Evening Standard).

Just before the start of the parade, a TV interview featured a small group of drummers including Pandemonium Drummers Secretary, who reminded the audience of our role in the London 2012 Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

Our photographer Vilma Laryea captured us on multiple points along the parade route:
2014 London New Year's Day Parade Photo Gallery

Photos by Vilma Laryea

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Pandemonium Drummers Shortlisted For 2014 Epic Awards

2013 ends with a bosh: We are shortlisted for the 2014 Epic Awards, a national award for voluntary and amateur arts!

About the Epic Awards

The Epic Awards were set up by Voluntary Arts to recognise and celebrate the achievements of voluntary arts groups across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

A panel of experts will now select a winner and runner up for England, Northern Ireland / Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales respectively, to be announced on 26th February 2014 at an awards ceremony in Glasgow, the host city of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

People's Choice Award - it's your choice!

An additional award is decided by the public: Anyone can register and vote for their favourite of 24 highly inspiring shortlisted groups to receive the People's Choice Award - make sure to read through the entries, which might inspire you to start or deepen your engagement in voluntary arts!

We would, of course, be chuffed if you voted for us: View our entry here.

Recognition of an amazing year

This nomination for a national award showcases how far we have come by our own doing, an achievement that nobody would have expected after the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

With about 100 performances under our belt and several remarkable gigs already lined up for 2014, we have established ourselves as a performance group that is strictly run on a non-profit basis by enthusiastic volunteers, carrying forward the volunteering spirit of London 2012.


Press info:

  • The Pandemonium Drummers™ are a non-profit drumming group of volunteer performers.
  • All aspects of the group's activities are run by its members, and a voluntary committee supports administration and organisation since 2013.
  • The Pandemonium Drummers first appeared in the Pandemonium segment of the iconic London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, which ended in a display of the Olympic Rings.
  • The Pandemonium Drummers can be heard on the song And I Will Kiss with percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie as a part of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony soundtrack Isles of Wonder.
  • The Pandemonium Drummers use normal plastic and metal buckets as well as compost bins as instruments.
  • Many drummers have not had played an instrument before London 2012.
  • The drummers appeared in the Opening Ceremony of the 2013 Champions League Final at Wembley Stadium.
  • The Pandemonium Drummers performed about 100 times at major festivals and parades as well as local community and fundraising events in London and surrounding areas.

  • The Epic Awards were set up in 2010 by Voluntary Arts and celebrate the achievement of voluntary arts groups across the UK and Republic of Ireland, by recognising the skill, innovation and hard work that goes into their activities.
  • Voluntary Arts promotes, supports and champions the voluntary cultural sector by working with policy makers, funders and politicians to improve the environment for everyone participating in the arts.


Email: info (at)

Monday, 25 November 2013

Pandemonium Drummers Win Special Achievement Award

At the Team London 2013 Awards, the Pandemonium Drummers were presented with the Special Achievement Award by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and 2012 Special Achievement Award winner Darwin Bernardo.

The 2013 Mayor’s Special Achievement award acknowledges the journey of volunteers who began their volunteering during the 2012 Games and have continued to volunteer, making a significant impact in their community, overcoming barriers or have given exceptional commitment to one of the Mayoral priority areas.

Lightbulb Bowler Hats conquer City Hall

The Award Ceremony was held on Monday 25th November 2013 in The Chamber of London's iconic City Hall - only four months ago, we were still on the outside.

While we were not allowed to bring our drums, a group of six drummers in the 2012 Closing Ceremony costume placed themselves prominently in the middle of the hall and switched their lightbulbs on when the nominees for the Special Achievement category were read out.

Photo by
But that was towards the end of the ceremony - before, Veronica Wadley, Senior Advisor to the Mayor for Volunteering, introduced the event, and Martine Wright, Team GB sitting volleyball 2012 Paralympian and survivor of the 7/7 London bombings gave a particularly moving keynote speech, culminating in a standing ovation.

20 awards in various categories for under 25s, over 25s and teams provided an inspirational whirlwind tour of diverse volunteering successes in London and turned the ceremony in a worthy and humbling celebration - while six drummers were getting increasingly nervous.

The final 21st award was the Mayor's Special Achievement Award with five nominees, and when Darwin Bernardo opened the golden envelope to read out our name, our six drummers were instantly excited, proud and honoured.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson was given no choice and gently coerced to wear a spare blue bowler lightbulb hat when he handed over the award trophy to us.

The ceremony ended with a musical performance by Mayor of London's Gigs Competition finalist Charlotte Campbell, who sang her own interpretation of Waterloo Sunset, a song we knew well from the London 2012 Closing Ceremony, where we marshalled the athletes.

A Huge Recognition

Pandemonium Drummers in City Hall
on the giant satellite photo of London
This award represents our first big recognition of our own work in our own name, demonstrating our successful transition from the volunteers who drummed in the 2012 Opening Ceremony to The Pandemonium Drummers as a standalone group.

In a room full of highly remarkable volunteers we felt humbled as we were just having fun all the time, but the award actually acknowledges the wide range of contributions we were able to make since the end of the London 2012 Olympics.

It is therefore time to look back and reflect on our own activities and achievements, some of which include:

This non-exhaustive list might be the reason why Hamish Jenkinson nominated us for the Team London Volunteer Award, and why we were selected as winners - and our now established catchphrase perfectly summarises the list:
This is why we do it!

The Pandemonium Drummers with the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and previous winner Darwin Bernardo.
Photo credit: Kois Miah

Thanks to all our supporters, friends and members!

Full list of Team London 2013 Award Winners

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Lord Mayor's Pandemonium Show

Our drummers will support multiple floats in the 2013 Lord Mayor's Show on 9th November 11am from Mansion House to the Royal Courts of Justice and back.

But you will have to look and listen closely, as we will feature new costumes, new instruments, and new rhythms!

In new costumes but with our original Olympic plastic and metal bins & buckets, the biggest group of Pandemonium Drummers will be marching with the City of London Recycling Team - a good match, as our buckets have been recycled into unique musical instruments.

For the Beating Bowel Cancer float, we joined forces with fellow London 2012 Ceremonies Performers and will feature new, very unique instruments; four Pandemonium Drummers will even be performing on the float itself!

Other individual drummers are supporting additional charities in the parade, such as Age UK London.

We are very proud to support the important work of these groups at London's most traditional and prestigious parade!

Look out for these floats:
#50: Beating Bowel Cancer - unmissable, as you will discover.
#59: Recycling in the City - look out for our original bucket drums.
#70: Age UK

The parade starts at 11am and finishes at 2.30pm; it will be broadcast live on BBC One!