The Volunteer Drummers from the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

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Feel the Passion: a video documentary

The Pandemonium Drumming Workshops are our new initiative to keep the London 2012 legacy alive. Watch our short video documentary.

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.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Ambush at the Pearly Harvest Festival

The Pearly Harvest Festival in the beautiful Guildhall Courtyard has become a fixture in our annual calendar, and we were invited again by the Pearly Kings and Queens of London for a re-enactment of the Pandemonium sequence of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, with the help of the Working Men and Women.

This time, other London 2012 Ceremonies Volunteers and Games Makers decided to join in and flashmobbed our performance, and the result was a happy dance in weird and wonderful costumes, before they let us resume our performance.

Thanks to all participating London 2012 Volunteers, who simply cannot get enough (neither can we)!

See below for a video of the performance, the flash mob starts around 8:50.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Three Years Ago: The London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

On 27th July 2012, we entered the world stage to create the sound of 965 bucket drums in Danny Boyle's breathtaking masterpiece: The London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

The Ceremony was hailed internationally as a glorious success, won several awards, and burned itself into the memories of a generation.

For us, it was the culmination of one of the most intense periods in our lives, and none of us would have imagined to be drumming on the original Olympic buckets and bins three years later.

The Pandemonium Drummers today

Our group's members are still the original Olympic Opening Ceremony Drummers, drumming on the original buckets and bins, and wearing the original costumes, although we have added instruments, costumes, and rhythms since.

We appeared in several other Opening Ceremonies for local, national and international events, we played at a number of festivals, functions and cultural events, and we supported several charities as well as sport events, including some related to the Olympic Games, such as the Special Olympics and the London Youth Games.

We won two awards, were mentioned in the Cabinet Office's London 2012 Legacy Report, and lately, we tested the water for new activity streams by offering drumming workshops.

Have a look yourself, the two photo-slide videos below compile impressions from our gigs:

Happy Anniversaries


Two years ago, we reminisced about the big day in three blog posts:
We also returned to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for a performance close to the Olympic Stadium:


Last year, we returned to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park again for a performance even closer to the Olympic Stadium - we were performing at the Great British Carnival!


This year, the obvious location to go to was of course the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: we drummed for the runners of the Great Newham Run on their way to the finish line inside the Olympic Stadium, and we took this opportunity to revisit 'our birthplace', the now revamped Olympic Stadium on the first day of its temporary opening!

Happy anniversary to us, our drummers, and all of our fellow Ceremonies Volunteer Performers, Games Makers, and Olympic & post-Olympic friends & supporters!

Celebrate by watching this five-minute sequence of our segment, Pandemonium:
The IOC's official Pandemonium summary video
Or better still, watch the whole ceremony!
The Complete London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Vote for the Pandemonium Drummers

Please vote for us!

The Rugby Football Union has asked fans to record a rendition of the English rugby classic Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

Of course, we responded to this call - many of our drummers will be volunteering at next year's Rugby World Cup, and last year, we performed at the Opening Ceremony of the last ever Heineken Cup Final in Cardiff.

Watch our contribution below, and don't forget to vote to help us to rise up the leaderboards to increase our chances to feature in an official RFU video!

View our submission and look out for the 'Vote' button on the right hand side
(Facebook account required)

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Pandemonium Drumming Workshops

As a new initiative to keep the London 2012 legacy alive, we trialled Pandemonium Drumming Workshops between February and April 2015, and a video documentary has now been released.

Initially open only to London 2012 volunteers such as Games Makers and Ceremonies Volunteers, our three workshops sold out quickly and were a great success!

A new milestone: our own workshop

A dedicated team of 13 Pandemonium Drummers developed and implemented the concept for a full day workshop to give participants a taster of how we were trained to perform in the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Participants were introduced to the basics of rhythm keeping through a series of exercises and drills involving clapping, stepping, moving, and actual drumming on our famous plastic and metal buckets - our maintenance shop master Dan created additional bucket drums specially for these workshops.

The day ended with a performance to a shortened version of the actual London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony soundtrack And I Will Kiss.

The feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive, and people had the impression that the workshops were run very professionally and with plenty of passion.

Feel the Passion: a video documentary

A spontaneous 12-minute video documentary has been produced to give people an insight into the workshop day, and to display the ongoing transformational enthusiasm of the London 2012 volunteers - an impressive legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Future

The Pandemonium Drummers Workshop Team is currently busy planning the future of the workshops; these are resource-intensive to run and rely wholly on the volunteering spirit of the team.

While no further dates have been released yet, keep an eye on this website for further announcements.

Feel free to contact us if you are interested in a workshop for your organisation, or in a performance for your event.

Friday, 5 June 2015

One Gig Per Week: Our Past Year

In May each year we run our Annual General Meeting and review our achievements.

In our third year after the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, we are still going strong:
Three Wembley Stadium performances, trips to iconic venues in Cardiff and Gateshead, TV appearances, theatrical spectacles, and plenty of other small and big events across the country, though mostly in and around London.

On average, we performed almost once per week last year at international, national, regional and local events - no gig is too big, no gig is too small, the only constraint is our availability.

We will report on highlights of the past year over the coming weeks, so for now, we proudly present the list of our gigs from May 2014 until May 2015.

No signs of slowing down, we have got a legacy to continue:
London 2012.
  1. Saturday, 3 May 2014:
    Beltain Wicker Man Festival
    Butser Hill, Hampshire
  2. Friday, 9 May 2014:
    Goodenough College, London
  3. Saturday, 17 May 2014:
    FA Cup Final Opening Ceremony
    Wembley Stadium, London
  4. Sunday, 18 May 2014:
    Football Conference Promotion Playoff Final
    Wembley Stadium, London
  5. Friday, 23 May 2014:
    Last ever Heineken Cup Final Opening Ceremony
    Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
  6. Tuesday, 27 May 2014:
    Paul O'Grady Show Opening Act
    ITV Studios, London
  7. Thursday, 29 May 2014:
    Stephen Sutton Funeral Procession
    Lichfield Cathedral
  8. Saturday, 7 June 2014:
    Pandemonium at Hackney1000
    Hackney, London
  9. Sunday, 15 June 2014:
    Run 10 for Mo
    Wimbledon, London
  10. Sunday, 22 June 2014:
    Bushey Lions
    Bushey, Hertfordshire
  11. Saturday, 28 June 2014:
    Thumbs Up for Stephen Summer Ball
    Drayton Manor, Tamworth
  12. Thursday, 3 July 2014:
    London Youth Games Summer Finals Opening Ceremony
    Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, London
  13. Sunday, 6 July 2014:
    Independence and Beyond: Drumming for Fire
    Vauxhall, London
  14. Monday, 7 July 2014:
    Tour de France Race Day
    Green Park, London
  15. Saturday, 12 July 2014:
    Our Big Gig
    Ruskin Park, London
  16. Monday, 21 July 2014:
    International FGM Conference Reception
    Lancaster House, London
  17. Tuesday, 22 July 2014:
    International Girl Summit
    Walworth Academy, London
  18. Sunday, 27 July 2014:
    Great British Carnival
    QE Olympic Park
  19. Saturday, 2 August 2014:
    Standon Calling Festival
    Standon, Hertfordshire
  20. Saturday, 9 August 2014:
    Festival of Love
    Royal Festival Hall, London
  21. Wednesday, 20 August 2014:
    Holiday Workshop
    Earls Barton, Northamptonshire
  22. Thursday, 28 August 2014:
    Mo Farah Charity Ball
    Hurlingham Club, London
  23. Saturday, 6 September 2014:
    Call 999 for NHS
    Westminster, London
  24. Saturday, 20 September 2014:
    London City Dash Festival
    City of London
  25. Sunday, 21 September 2014:
    Peace One Day
    Trafalgar Square, London
  26. Sunday, 28 September 2014:
    Pearlies Costermongers Harvest Gathering
    Guildhall, London
  27. Saturday, 4 October 2014:
    Eastbourne Bonfire Parade
  28. Saturday, 11 October 2014:
    ASA - Disability that knows NO limits Launch Party
  29. Sunday, 12 October 2014:
    Half Marathon Cheer Drumming for Barnardos
    Hyde Park, London
  30. Thursday, 16 October 2014:
    Join In Trust Reception
    Admiralty House, London
  31. Wednesday, 5 November 2014:
    Lewes Bonfire Procession and Fireworks
  32. Saturday, 29 November 2014:
    Street Child Ebola Benefit Ball
    Honourable Artillery Company, London
  33. Sunday, 30 November 2014:
    Victorian Festival of Christmas
    Portsmouth Dockyards
  34. Sunday, 7 December 2014:
    Barnet Christmas Parade
    High Barnet, London
  35. Thursday, 1 January 2015:
    London New Year's Day Parade 2015
    Westminster, London
  36. Friday, 6 February 2015:
    Special Olympics Polar Plunge VIP Friday
    QE Olympic Park
  37. Saturday, 7 February 2015:
    Special Olympics Polar Plunge Saturday
    QE Olympic Park
  38. Saturday, 21 February 2015:
    Pandemonium Drumming Workshop 1
    Harrow, London
  39. Tuesday, 3 March 2015:
    Sipho's Send Off Service
    New Eltham, London
  40. Saturday, 7 March 2015:
    Pandemonium Drumming Workshop 2
    Harrow, London
  41. Sunday, 15 March 2015:
    St Patrick's Day Parade
    Westminster, London
  42. Wednesday, 25 March 2015:
    London Youth Games Spring Finals Opening Ceremony
    Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, London
  43. Saturday, 18 April 2015:
    Pandemonium Drumming Workshop 3
    Harrow, London
  44. Sunday, 26 April 2015:
    London Marathon Cheer drumming for Barnados
  45. Monday, 4 May 2015:
    Secret Cinema Star Wars Day
    Alexandra Palace, London
  46. Friday, 15 May 2015:
    The Wellbeing Games
    Copper Box, QE Olympic Park
  47. Saturday, 23 May 2015:
    Disability Dilemmas: "It's a little bit funny" Theatre Show
    SAGE Gateshead
  48. Sunday, 24 May 2015:
    Gateshead Special Olympics Fun Day
  49. Sunday, 31 May 2015:
    Great Midlands Fun Run Cheerdrumming for Teenage Cancer
    Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham

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: