Olympics-London wants music to rock the Games, not wreck them
LONDON, June 27
LONDON, June 27 (Reuters) - Spectators worried that a once-in-a-lifetime London Olympic experience could be ruined by canned music, intrusive presenters or deafening rock anthems should rest easy, organisers said on Wednesday.
Their aim is to 'Rock the Games', not wreck them. To educate, not irritate.
Unveiling a tailored audio-visual concept on Wednesday, including a music programme with an official track by chart-toppers Muse and new work by top artists, organisers pledged to plug in to the crowd's energy and not drown it out.
A library of 2,012 songs has been compiled with five music themes - energy, primetime, extreme, heritage and world stage - tailored to accompany specific sports and venues.
All venues will have presenters appearing on big screens to guide spectators through the action and 'interact' with the crowd.
At some venues, artists such as Scissor Sisters and Rizzle Kicks will play surprise gigs.
Ticket holders will also, in a Games first, be able to purchase in-ear wireless headsets, costing 10 pounds ($15.60), for live commentary during the action at events that might otherwise be confusing or unfamiliar.
With a month to go before the start of the Games, Debbie Jevans, the director of sport for organisers LOCOG, assured reporters at the opening of the main press centre at the Olympic Park that the programme would respect the spectators and the integrity of the sports.
"Through the presenters that we have we will use them to work with the crowd and judge the atmosphere of the crowd and build up that atmosphere," she said.
"There has to be silence, but every sport is different."
Organisers of the Euro 2012 soccer tournament in Poland and Ukraine have drawn criticism for screeching presenters and thumping music drowning out crowd chants and the natural atmosphere of some games.
Spectators at the tournament have also been assigned cheerleaders exhorting them to sing along, while the traditional roar before kickoff has been replaced by a countdown led by an announcer that has alarmed traditionalists.
In some cases rock music has been played as soon as the ball hits the net.
Some Olympic sports that thrive on a youth vibe, such as beach volleyball, BMX cycling or basketball, may like to crank up the volume but not others that demand intense concentration and silence on the part of athletes.
That would include tennis, to be held at Wimbledon where straw hats and blazers are more common than ripped T-shirts and shorts, although that tournament will be deliberately different with the all-white code jettisoned and more of a buzz around it.
On-site entertainers could also come in useful if it rains, even if Centre Court now has a roof.
"If you look at Cliff Richard singing at Wimbledon all those years ago in the rain, we'll be reacting to the situation and working with the crowd and allow them to create the atmosphere as well," said Jevans.
"We will present sport and the game at Wimbledon in our own way, but what is sacrosanct is what goes on on the field of play. You're not going to get music played in between points or when the athletes are changing ends.
"We will do some different things at Wimbledon but no way will it change the sport or the rules of that sport."
Specially-commissioned films will be shown before each session at venues, giving spectators an overview of the sport with action shots of former and current athletes and using graphics to explain the basic rules.
Athletes will be interview afterwards while the presenters will keep the crowd informed of key developments.
"A lot of this is pre, post and halftime stuff," said LOCOG chief executive Paul Deighton. "The majority of what we are talking about is book-ending.
"We are very sensitive to the sport itself... we will be really trying to identify which sports are more equivalent to Twenty20 (cricket)and which to a test match." ($1 = 0.6411 British pounds) (Editing by Alison Wildey)