This is the Royal Festival Hall – 60 years old this year, and recently refurbished, it is one of the great cultural beacons of London. Now for me, it is normally a cheapish place to grab a cup of coffee and take a look at some of the free events that occurs here. I very rarely pay to go to an event, but that is what I love about the whole of the South Bank Centre. I am not pressured to pay to enjoy culture. Instead, it is just there, readily available to both the casual passer-by and the intense culture-freak. I fall (unfortunately) into the former category, but I really appreciate the ability to just wander past ad take a look at what is going on.
The Royal Festival Hall is the prettier (and refurbished) part of the South Bank Centre which with neighbouring theatres and cinemas makes this one of the real cultural focal points of London. Close by lie the Hayward Gallery and the Queen Elizabeth Hall, with their future swinging from minor tinkering to whole scale redevelopment and everything in between
Here you can see the South Bank Centre as part of the beach exhibition. It is a lot of fun to wander here, and I do often, but not often enough. For me though, what I do like is coming here in the daytime, when it is not filled by pretentious snobs looking for their next coke filled art fix. That is wen normal people, some on their lunch break, others wandering past on their days off get to look around. Or on weekends when families get to enjoy the space.
It is not often that art is able to reach out to so many people and kudos to the people behind the SBC for making it happen. There is still a lot of snobbery that abounds. In fact, in any cultural locations, snobs will often vulture in, so edging out (by their attitude) people who just want to enjoy. But the SBC really is a great social leveller, and that is really due to the fantastic freebies that they are always putting on. Long may it continue for another 60years and beyond!