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Berwick-upon-Tweed will "Ring the Bells" as part of Olympic Games opening day

Sat 21 Jul


Town bells and Celtic war horn taking part in nationwide performance work by Turner Prize-winner Martin Creed

On Friday July 27 at 8.12am the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed joins thousands of people across the nation to ring bells to mark the opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

The bell ringing is part of the performance work by the Turner Prize-winning artist and musician Martin Creed to celebrate the opening of the Olympic and Paralympic Games entitled “Work No.1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes”.

Led by Rosemary Ross, the Town Hall bells will ring for eight minutes from 8.12am-8.20am. In a feature unique to the Berwick event, internationally renowned musician John Kenny will play the Carnyx, a magnificent 12-foot high Celtic war horn made of bronze. Starting outside the Tweeddale Press building, John will play an especially composed piece as he walks down Marygate towards the Town Hall.

True to Martin Creed’s vision “Any bell, anyone, anywhere”, the public is enthusiastically invited to take part. Matthew Rooke, CEO & Artistic Director of The Maltings Theatre & Cinema and Berwick Visual Arts, explained, “Everyone is invited to gather on the Berwick high street and show their community spirit by bringing – and ringing – bells of every shape and size.

“If you can’t make it to the high street, then ring bells wherever you are – be it doorbells, bicycle bells, cowbells, or even a downloaded bells app on your smartphone! No matter where you are, this is a chance to be a part of the great UK celebration to mark the start of the London 2012 Games.”

John Kenny commented, "I was absolutely delighted to be asked to write an original Carnyx piece to celebrate the opening of the Olympics. As a border town, Berwick-upon-Tweed has a long history of walking the tightrope between cooperation and conflict. It will be thrilling to perform there as part of the celebration of the greatest peaceful confrontation in the modern world: the Olympics. The ancient voice of the Carnyx together with the bells of Berwick will be like the town itself is singing!"

At the conclusion of the piece, John will switch to playing the alpenhorn on the Town Hall steps. He will be joined by John Creed on the hand bells. As well as being the father of the “All the Bells…” creator Martin Creed, John Creed hand-built the beaten bronze, dragon-headed Carnyx played by John Kenny.

The event will be filmed.

The official website for the “All the Bells…” project is More information on John and the Carnyx can be found at

“All the Bells…” coincides with the opening of a new month-long Eduardo Paolozzi exhibition, “General Dynamic F.U.N.”, at the Granary Gallery in Berwick-upon-Tweed by arrangement with the Hayward Gallery. The exhibition runs from 27 July to 26 August and is free. The Granary Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11am-5pm. For more information click here.

To download this entire press release, click here.

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