The Volunteer Drummers from the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

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.

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:

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?