Underbelly Announces London Wonderground Festival

Underbelly Announce London Wondergound Festival

Underbelly, one of the UK’s leading producers of large-scale city centre events and live entertainment, is today delighted to announce the launch of London Wonderground, a major new summer festival on the site of the former Earls Court 2 Exhibition Centre.

The festival is a unique collaboration and partnership between Underbelly and The Earls Court Development Company, the company responsible for delivering a fresh plan for the Earls Court area, formed of a partnership between developer Delancey, Transport for London and APG.

This follows the recent announcement of plans to relocate the annual Underbelly Festival to the Oxford Street area. Read more about that here.

Free to enter and running throughout the summer from 15 July to 26 September, London Wonderground at Earls Court will feature live shows, spectacular al fresco bars, a sumptuous range of street food, vintage rides, live music and DJs on the Wonderground bandstand and the magnificent Earls Court City Beach. London Wonderground will be the ultimate “staycation playground” for Londoners, offering a host of free and ticketed events, a great outdoor atmosphere and something to do for all ages.

In recent months, The Earls Court Development Company have been asking the local community what they would like to see happen on the site in the immediate term, and found that there was clear support for an initiative like this, with local polling indicating that over two thirds supported the idea of temporary theatres and food markets coming to the site. The London Wonderground is a response to what local people have asked for, designed to create a summer of fun in Earls Court, before the longer term plan for the area is consulted on and shaped with the community.

A major programme of circus, comedy and family shows will champion the spirit and quality of the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe and will bring a “Best of the Edinburgh Festival’ season of performances to Earls Court this summer. Shows will be performed in two indoor venues; Udderbelly, the iconic upside-down purple cow which returns to London for the first time in five years, and a 36m Big Top. Both venues will accommodate reduced seating capacities in the event that social distancing measures are still required. The initial programme of shows will be announced and go on sale at the end of May.

London Wonderground continues Earls Court’s rich history as a home of live events and entertainment. From the site’s inaugural use as a showground in 1887, to the Great Ferris Wheel of 1895, to the Earls Court 1 and Earls Court 2 Exhibition Halls of more recent years, this site has been at the heart of some of London’s most iconic events, concerts and attractions for over a hundred years. London Wonderground will occupy the former Earls Court 2 part of the site, with access from Empress Place off Lillie Road, to create a true, modern day showground of entertainment and fun for all Londoners this summer. There will also be a training academy run on site, with young people able to participate  in a live events skills training scheme for local residents.

The festival offers free entry to the site and affordable ticket prices for the rides and live entertainment programme, with most shows running for an hour without an interval. The whole site, including the performance venues, can be easily adapted to incorporate any necessary social distancing measures and London Wonderground will have a robust COVID-Secure operational plan for customers and staff.

Alongside the opening of London Wonderground will be the activation of a new temporary public space opposite Earl’s Court Underground Station, where the entrance to the former exhibition centre was. This space on Warwick Road will be people to enjoy, and will be curated by the Kensington + Chelsea Festival alongside Underbelly, who will bring forward local artwork to display there.

The opening of London Wonderground at Earls Court is subject to successfully securing planning and licensing permission for temporary events from the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.  

Customers are encouraged to sign up at www.londonwonderground.co.uk for further announcements, exclusive offers and to be the first to get information on the London Wonderground live programme of shows.

Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, Directors of Underbelly, said:“London Wonderground is without doubt one of our most exciting and ambitious festival creations to date, and it feels so in the spirit of the heritage of Earls Court to be launching it as we come out of the pandemic. We’re dancing on toes on hot coals in our excitement to give people that live entertainment experience again and to play our part in bringing some much-needed fun and socialising back to people’s lives this summer. London Wonderground at Earls Court will do just that, with something for everyone, free entry to the site and a jam packed programme of live shows to make you smile, laugh and gasp. Add to that, outdoor food and drink, vintage rides and even a beach, and we think London Wonderground can truly become London’s staycation destination this summer. Let’s all have some fun.”

Rob Heasman, CEO of Earls Court Development Company, said: "The Earls Court Development Company is excited to be hosting London Wonderground as part of our wider plans to bring the Earls Court site back to life this summer. Following a year of being stuck at home, we can’t wait to bring fun to the area, bringing people back to Earls Court whilst also supporting existing businesses and creating new jobs and training opportunities – all in a COVID secure way. These plans have been shaped by our conversations with the local community who have told us they want to see the site activated in time for summer, and we will continue to harness the spirit of collaboration and celebration with our neighbours”

 

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