The Official Opening Ceremony for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest took place last night at Stockholm's City Hall. Prior to this a Red Carpet event for press and fans was held outside EuroClub. The spectacle was broadcast live on and you can watch again on demand on Eurovision.tv
The Red Carpet and Opening Ceremony mark the official opening of the Eurovision Song Contest. After artists and delegations walked along the Red Carpet they were taken to the City Hall for the Opening Ceremony. The draw to determine which half of the Grand Final that the Big Five and Sweden will perform in also took place. France, Germany and Italy will perform in the first half whilst Spain and the United Kingdom will perform in the second half.
Press and fans with accreditation were invited to a Welcome Party at the EuroClub and were joined by several delegations afterwards. Check out our coverage on our social media platforms.Gallery: Red Carpet Event 2016
Gold Play Award
Before the Red Carpet Event began, the Eurovision Song Contest's Official YouTube account was awarded a Gold Play Button in recognition of the channel reaching 1 million subscribers. The Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Jon Ola Sand received the award on behalf of the EBU.
Opening Ceremony at the City Hall
Delegates were taken from the Red Carpet event to Stockholm's City Hall for a reception and were welcomed by the Mayor of Stockholm Karin Wanngård. The crowd were then treated to performances from previous Swedish Eurovision Song Contest winners Måns Zelmerlöw, Carola, Charlotte Perrelli, Loreen and Richard Herrey (who performed solo). ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus gave a speech in which he said that the Eurovision Song Contest is a force for good in the world before the Jon Ola Sand declared the event week of the Eurovision Song Contest officially open.Gallery: Opening Ceremony at Stockholm City Hall
Earlier that day the Official Flag Ceremony took place where the flags of the 42 participating countries were raised outside EuroClub by soldiers from the Swedish Life Guards, one of the oldest regiments in the world. Delegates and Ambassadors were treated to live music performed by the band, including a rendition of Sweden's most recent Eurovision Song Contest winners, Heroes and Euphoria.