If you like your pop music with a hefty dose of cheese, the Eurovision Song Contest is probably on your radar. Running every year since 1956, the international music event is famous for its diverse lineup, dubious music… and the UK’s terrible success in the votes.
Since we’re the experts in music event haulage, we thought we’d shine a spotlight on Eurovision’s unsung hero—the stage! We’ll be taking a closer look at this year’s stage design, as well as how the design of Eurovision stages have evolved over the last few years.
Where is this year’s show taking place?
Following the victory of Israeli singer Netta, 2019’s contest will take place in the city of Tel Aviv, with 42 different countries competing. Netta will reprise her Eurovision performance, alongside the likes of Madonna, Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot and Eurovision alumni Conchita Wurst. The final will be broadcast on BBC One, on Saturday the 18th of May.
What’s this year’s stage design?
Eurovoix, who provide in-depth Eurovision coverage, have unveiled the stage design for this year’s show. Featuring a striking geometric design and a diamond-shaped stage, it’s an intriguing setting for this year’s performances.
The heavy use of triangles in the design isn’t by chance. It takes inspiration from the Star of David, which in Judaism has come to represent the reciprocal relationship between man and God. Other parts of the stage are reportedly inspired by the 12 sons of Jacob, who are key figures in Judaism.
The stage was designed by the German production designer Florian Wieder, who has designed the Eurovision stage on five previous occasions. He’s also designed stages for MTV and Britain’s Got Talent, as well as performers like Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez & U2. The Israeli stage will have at least 7,500 seats, as well as a standing area for fans.
Wieder himself has a Jewish background, and has promised a stunning Eurovision show this year. He’s also said that the opening ceremony will be unlike anything we’ve seen before. Keep an eye out for it when you tune in next month!
What have the last few stages been like?
Of course, this year’s stage isn’t the only one with some creative flair to its design. Prior stages have drawn on a range of cultural ideas and pushed the technological envelope. We’ve explored Eurovision stage designs from the last four years below.
The singer Salvador Sobral won Eurovision 2017 for Portugal with his song Amar Pelos Dios. As such, 2018’s show took place in Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city.
Lisbon is located on Portugal’s coast, and Portugal as a whole has a rich maritime culture. As such, Florian Wieder—who also designed this stage—drew heavily from that history during the design process.
Four ideas shaped Lisbon’s Eurovision stage—the sea, ships, maps and navigation. The stage’s design mimics the organic shapes of a sweeping wave, as well as the ships Portugal is famous for building. The radial lines of a map were another source of inspiration, as was the armillary sphere; this is a man-made object that models celestial bodies. An armillary sphere appears on the Portuguese flag as well.
Capturing Portugal’s heritage, whilst also boasting a modern style, the 2018 stage is another great example of thoughtful design. See it in action below:
Thanks to Jamala’s politically-charged song 1944, 2017’s Eurovision took place in Ukraine’s capital Kiev. Another project of Florian Wieder, 2017’s stage drew from two sources of inspiration—the year’s theme of Celebrating Diversity, and Ukraine’s central location in Europe. The circular stage also allowed fans to be as close to the performers as possible, offering both practical and symbolic benefits.
What’s just as impressive is the amount of hardware needed to bring the show to life. 180 kilometres of cable were used for the show, with about a third of that being used on lighting alone. The stage was also surrounded by 1,000 square metres of LED screens, 56 projectors, 258 speakers, 212 microphones and 30 cameras. All the production materials were transported in a whopping 230 trucks, with 250 stage hands involved in loading and unloading it.
With seating for over 7,500 attendees, we can safely say this was an unmissable show. But don’t just take our word for it! See the stage in action here:
Thanks to the efforts of Måns Zelmerlöw, 2016’s Eurovision took place in Sweden’s capital Stockholm. Designed by Frida Arvidsson and Viktor Brattström, the stage pushed the boundaries of what viewers could expect.
Arvidsson and Brattström actually designed 2013’s stage as well, which featured a softer atmosphere without pixels or projections. For 2016’s stage, the pair took a very different approach; they created a multi-tier wall of LEDs which performers could actually move about inside. Once fully assembled, the wall used almost 5,400 pieces of scaffolding in its construction.
Lighting was an essential component of this stage’s visual appearance, and over 1,800 light fixtures were used in the final design. 45 people were involved with lighting during the broadcast, while 37 people handled video as well. Indeed, the stage design wasn’t lacking for spectacle; 30 flame units and 20 CO₂ units were installed around the stage itself.
With 10,500 spectators, 172 trucks and 168 stage hands, this is a show with some impressive manpower behind it. Enjoy the show yourself here:
The 60th Eurovision Song Contest took place in Austria’s capital, thanks to Conchita Wurst’s memorable performance of “Rise Like a Phoenix”. A crack team of designers was on hand to design the stage. Eurovision veteran Florian Wieder worked alongside lighting designer Al Gurdon (who’s worked on both American Idol and the Super Bowl halftime show) and Kurt Pongratz, who was responsible for conceptual design and visual staging.
The trio had their work cut out for them thanks to the stage’s ambitious design. 1,288 freestanding cylindrical LED pillars surrounded the stage, with large LED screens on both the floor and back wall. Measuring 44 metres wide and 14 metres high, there was plenty of room for each performance. 26 cameras captured every moment, while approximately 10,500 standing fans attended the show itself.
See the stage in action for yourself by watching the UK’s entry, “Still In Love With You”:
Whoever wins (or loses) this year’s Eurovision, we guarantee it’ll be a show stopping night. If you want to put on your own extravagant live event, get in touch with Stagefreight for an expert music event haulage service.
We know how important timing is for a live show, and our experienced lead driver will carefully plan trailer arrival to keep everything on schedule. We’ll plan the most cost-effective and fuel-efficient route to your event, and we’ll even help build the stage with your team upon our arrival.
For further details about our music event haulage, browse our services page or call us today on 0113 238 0805.