As the world’s biggest singing contest made its way to the UK following Sam Ryder securing the nation 2nd position in 2022 – it was an honour for live event technology supplier, Creative Technology to be involved in the huge delivery of this well-loved event hosted in Liverpool on behalf of previous winners Ukraine due to the ongoing war.
With the event’s theme being ‘United by Music’, the stage design concept was created to reflect this – resembling a wide hug, the entire architecture of the set symbolises welcoming the people of Ukraine and Europe with open arms. Taking centre stage were seven ROE Black Quartz LED towers, two larger outer towers measuring 4×10 m and five slightly smaller inner towers measuring 3×10 m. The towers were attached to an automation system supplied by Belgium based company WICREATIONS. These systems not only allowed for upstage and downstage tracking of all 7 towers but also rotation up to 720-degrees of the inner towers, enabling some incredibly dynamic and versatile stage sets for each of the 31 acts representing their countries throughout the two televised semi-finals and grand final show.
The two curved LED side walls enveloped the stage with custom fabricated metalwork created by Stage One, this gave the stage a visually interesting shape for all members of the 11,000 strong audience within the M&S Bank Arena as well as the 161 million people watching across the 3 live shows from home.
“Black Quartz was chosen as it is such an impeccable looking screen and with 10-bit processing, we knew this would work well for live broadcast. Utilising 4mm products for the majority of the surfaces within the arena made for a sharp and vibrant display that could be appreciated both within the venue and watching on TV.” – Graham Miller, Head of Music/Entertainment at Creative Technology UK.
Working closely with sister company Faber, with assistance from Project Manager, Steve Ackein, a two-part LED floor made up of over 700 panels of ROE Black Marble covered the large oval, catwalk, and upstage sections of the stage. This provided a high-resolution canvas for each of the artist’s unique performances as well as intricately working as a map to assist with the rapid set changes between each act. A ‘digital spike system’ was deployed to display plans for the show crew for prop positioning and LED extras to ensure perfect placement ready for the next live act to begin. This spike system and all content playback was managed by Chris Saunders from Ogle Hog running on disguise servers. To bring everything together, 41 sqm of LED panels of ROE Vanish 8mm were supplied to create a ceiling with 6 flown elements – for the desired curved effect, facia masking was provided by Stage One.
On top of the static LED elements, Creative Technology also provided multiple extras for many of the acts including UK star, Mae Muller, who began her performance upon an 8x2m LED riser on custom dollies. The hardworking LED technical team and stage crew had the challenge of bringing the additional screens onto stage, joining them together and ensuring everything was working ahead of the live performances – all in less than 90 seconds!
For Sweden’s winning performance a 2.5×2.5m flown LED screen was built into a custom frame with automation by Unusual Rigging to create a moving ceiling. With another quick change over this was rolled onto stage and fully active within just 30 seconds!
Other additional LED elements for two interval acts included 5 custom LED risers of assorted sizes for the ‘Welcome to Our House’, performed by Ukrainian singer Alyosha – produced by Freckled Sky and 3 sections tracked LED for the ‘Be Who You Wanna Be’ performance.
For signal distribution a bespoke fibre hub was positioned on stage right, linked to 24 processors with over 2km of fibre providing full redundancy at every point. An in-house developed LED processing feedback system was used to efficiently monitor faults and system warnings which helped support the team with identifying and fixing issues simply and quickly.
“The team onsite throughout the build, rehearsals, live shows, and de-rig have been incredible. The hard work and attention to detail from every single person has made this show a pleasure to project manage and I am so proud of what has been achieved!” – Arkadiusz Wegrzyn Project Manager at Creative Technology UK.