Festival of Love was a celebration of the force that makes the world go round. To explore how love can effect positive changes in the world, Southbank Centre was transformed by installations, alongside two months of love-related performances, talks and free events.
Created together with hundreds of artists, communities and partners, Festival of Love also provided many opportunities for the public to get involved.
At the heart of the festival was the exploration of different types of human love—from the love of humanity to romantic, erotic love and the breakdown of relationships, to the love for close family and friends—in a wide-ranging programme of performances, poetry, music, differently-themed weekends, exhibitions and installations across the site.
In the English language there is only one word to describe love. Festival of Love was inspired by seven of the most powerful variations of love identified by the ancient Greeks and Romans, who had around 30 words to describe love in all its shades and complexities. They are Agape – the love of humanity; Eros – romantic and erotic love; Ludus – flirting, playful affection; Storge – love of family; Philautia – self-love (not vanity, like narcissism, but our joy in being true to our own values); Philia – shared experience (the love people feel when they strive with others to achieve a shared goal such as colleagues, players in a sports team, or soldiers); and Pragma – love which endures (the love between couples, which develops over a long period of time or the love which makes someone care for a friend).
Differently-themed weekends explored these seven types of human love and the festival culminated in the Big Wedding Weekend on Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 August, celebrating the recent change in law in England and Wales enabling everyone to marry their partner of choice.