Back in March, the International Exhibition Centre in Kyiv was an empty shell. After only a few weeks of intensive work, it has been transformed to a venue far beyond the ordinary. "We were able to build up our own vision," says Christer Björkman, Contest Producer of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.
The crew behind this year's Eurovision Song Contest were given access to the venue on the 26th of March. Currently, about 800 people are working around the clock to finalise everything before the start of the rehearsals in just two weeks.
The obvious centerpiece in the venue is the new stage. This year's designers worked towards the goal of having a softer, more 'feminine' stage than last year, when it had a lot of sharp angles and corners.
"This year you can see some resemblance with the Düsseldorf stage, with blend-ins from 2003 — but this stage is very unique in itself," says Ola Melzig, Head of Production.
Contest producer Christer Björkman thinks that the most lasting memory from this year's contest will be what they call "the chandelier". It hangs in the middle of the stage and holds about seven different technical features, which together create the shape of a chandelier. "We call it the Swiss knife. It has so many options, so many techniques — and it's going to make such a big impact on the acts and the show," Björkman says.
According to Ola Melzig, the so-called followspots bring something new as well; the new system even has its world premiere during the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. The system allows the operators to stand on the ground while they are working the lights, rather than from the ceiling. This makes it much safer, controlled and also gives them the opportunity to aim the follow spots more precisely where they want. Nineteen cameras will be used during the live broadcasts, including a hidden camera filming from underneath the stage.
The 2017 shows will feature 1,000 square meters of LED screen, 258 speakers, 212 microphones, 48 flame units, 50 firing positions, 61 kilometers of cable for lighting alone, 212 tonnes of rigged gear in the ceiling and much more. In total, all gear fills up 230 trucks. To control the technology, 220 people will be running the live broadcasts.
True Eurovision atmosphere
While the stage construction is in its final stages, Kyiv also has other projects unfolding ahead of the contest. A huge EuroClub will be set up at the Parkovy Convention and Exhibition Center and Eurovision Village will be build up on Khreschatyk street. Eurovision Village is planed to be 3,000 square metres and will become the place to be for everybody who wants to get a taste of the Eurovision atmosphere as artists will perform live, special events will run throughout the show week and the three live shows will be shown on large screens.
Long story short; the production team sees their vision come to live!
The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest will take place on 9, 11 and 13 May.