Mayor announces plans for first National Park City Festival

20 March 2019

 
· Sadiq launches week of free outdoor events from 20–28 July 2019 to celebrate the environment
· Drive to make London the world’s first National Park City, reduce pollution & protect green spaces
· Capital’s largest free celebration of outdoor spaces aimed at people of all ages

 The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced the next step towards making London the world’s first National Park City, with plans for a week-long National Park City Festival from 20–28 July 2019.
 
Working with the National Park City Foundation and other major partners, including the National Theatre and Open City, the free festival will celebrate London's green spaces, wildlife, green rooftops and waterways, and aims to help a wide range of Londoners discover new environmental, cultural, sporting and community activities.
 
The week of events aims to help more people get in tune with nature and the outdoors – improving health, well-being and social cohesion. The festival will take place after the Mayor hosts London Climate Action Week, between 1-8 July 2019, which will highlight London’s climate expertise, services and action, and involve over 80 events with partners from across the business, finance, culture and community sectors.


The Mayor’s ambition is to make more than half of the capital green and increase tree canopy cover by 10 per cent by 2050. Sadiq has updated the London Plan to prevent the loss of green belt and increase ‘greening’ in new developments.City Hall has also funded the planting of 170,000 trees and 200 green space improvements and developed high-tech mapping of London’s green cover to ensure his targets remain on track.


Key events taking place during the National Park City Festival include:


·       National Park City Stage: For the opening weekend of the festival, City Hall will host a spectacular free cultural programme in partnership with the National Theatre, on its outdoor River Stage on the Southbank. Performances will celebrate everything green and wild about the city. There will be a mix of dance, theatre and music, with a range of performances for all ages.


·       National Park City Rooftops: In partnership with Open City, organisers of Open House, we are offering free access to some of London’s most dynamic and beautiful rooftop gardens and natural spaces. The full programme will be announced later in the year.


·       National Park City Splash: London’s first multi-site outdoor swimming and paddle sports event will see everybody – whatever level their ability – able to try their hand at activities such as stand-up paddle boarding and open water swimming.
 
The new festival follows last December’s record 80,000 mass tree plant-a-thon, funded by the Mayor, where more than 15,000 Londoners rolled up their sleeves to help make the capital greener.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m doing everything in my power to make London one of the greenest, most sustainable, zero-carbon cities in the world. Our National Park City Festival is a fantastic way for Londoners of all ages to explore outdoor green spaces.  This initiative aims to make us really value our environment and I’m committed to protecting and improving our green spaces, wildlife and waterways to ensure generations of Londoners benefit from them. There is something for everyone in this great week of free celebrations.”

Director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris, said: “We are thrilled to be working with the Mayor of London and for our annual summer festival, River Stage, to be a part of the National Park City Festival. River Stage has become synonymous with London’s summer festival scene: a month long celebration of the arts on the banks of the River Thames that welcomes revellers, the culturally curious and families to come and experience an abundance of talented performers and artists for free.”

Trustee at the National Park City Foundation, Beth Collier, said: "This is a brilliant opportunity for people to enjoy London's great outdoors, connect with nature and get involved with making life in London greener, healthier and wilder. Being held at the launch of London National Park City, it's just the start of an exciting new future for London that we can all benefit from and contribute to."

Director of Open City, Rory Olcayto said: “Open City is delighted to be partnering with the Mayor of London on a rooftops programme during the National Park City Festival. In the spirit of Open House, it will make the best - and often-hidden – rooftops open to all – allowing the public to connect with nature in a unique way and showcase the vital role our rooftops play in providing London with green infrastructure.”
ENDS

Notes to editors

 1, We want to give all London community groups, organisations and businesses the opportunity to take part by hosting their own activity or event, from wildlife trails, to park parkour and canal paddle-boarding tours. Submit your activity or event today: www.london.gov.uk/national-park-city

2,  Having successfully campaigned to make London a National Park City, the National Park City Foundation is a registered charity that has been established to bring the idea to life in London. More information about the National Park City Foundation: nationalparkcity.london