During the live event, Unusual had the task of operating the inner oval, the lighting pods and the on-stage lighting trusses
UK - Gary Beestone Associates made Unusual Rigging their contractor of choice to supply the rigging and automation for Eurovision 2023 in Liverpool. The event, held at Liverpool’s M&S arena, was hosted on behalf of last year’s winner’s Ukraine and featured one of the entertainment world’s most complex stages.
As well as the rigging requirements of the show itself, Unusual was also contracted to supply the aerial rescue cover. With the set design finalised and ready from the get-go, the team had approximately 10 weeks of pre-production time for this huge-scale event. “Knowing exactly what we were working towards from day one was a huge benefit given the sheer quantity of work involved,” says Paul Rhodes, senior production rigger at Unusual.
He continues: “This year’s Eurovision set had a lot of automation. The set design required nearly 600 motors, including 72 automation hoists, giving a total static load just shy of 140 tonnes! We stock a large quantity of chain hoists in our warehouse and were able to supply all of the standard motors from our in-house stock. We also have lots of Kinesys equipment, however it was decided that on this project we would use a MoveCat system.”
At the beginning of the project, Unusual recommended installing an outdoor self-climbing roof system (installed by ESG) to take some of the load out of the venue roof. “This is such a heavy show,” explained Paul, “that we had to look at ways to take some of the stress off the arena’s main roof. There were four large clad lighting arcs, each weighing 5 tonnes, three scenic ovals that hung over the stage thrust, with the inner oval on computerised hoists, not to mention the vast amount of flown LED and lights.”
Unusual helped to install the infrastructure for seven x 10m high video and lighting towers that both revolved and tracked up and down the stage. “The space above the stage was incredibly compact due to the temporary structure and as such achieving the required trim height was by far the biggest challenge of this project. Concealed above the LED ceiling there were cable management trusses, lighting trusses, track screen trusses and trussing for the LED ceiling itself. This all had to be installed systematically and all squeeze into a 3m gap,” said Paul.
During the live event itself, Unusual had the task of operating the inner oval, the lighting pods, the on-stage lighting trusses as well as the LED ceiling prop which was used for one of the acts. “We feel incredibly privileged to have worked on such a huge prestigious event, with the eyes of the world on it, and proud of our performance... not a ‘nil point’ in sight... though we’ll sleave the singing to the professionals!”
A full production report on the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will be published in the June issue of LSi.

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