The construction for the Eurovision Song Contest stage in the Hartwall Arena will begin in the coming days. News sources in Finland are revealing that the stage will be oval shaped with a 12 meters long cat walk, fog screens, led lights and on top of it all a starry sky background. The Finnish epic Kalevala – especially its mythology and the Väinämöinen character – have inspired it all, but the rest will be kept secret until May.
The oval shape stage was built in the UK and it “is the biggest we could get it through the doors”, according to YLE technical director Kaj Flood. Next week the building work inside Hartwall Arena will begin and security checks at the doors will begin as well, Flood reports. The catwalk will be used by the presenters and interval acts but not the performers.
The show in May will be the biggest ever seen in Finland. The stage has a 300 m2 led video screen and fog screens. There are over 400 moving lights and almost 500 other lights. There will be a starry sky behind the stage. The lighting and technical gear weighs nearly 100 000 kilos. “The ceiling will hold that. We have rechecked all the calculations and it is at its maximum but it will be ok. If it should snowing we must climb up there and brush it off” Flood laughs.
The theme is the mythology of Väinämöinen, but how that will be incorporated to the show itself is a secret for now. “We are doing an international show with 42 different performances. We have got rather free hands in the project and we have all semi finalists ready on computer already,” Mikki Kunttu said. Kunnttu is the man behind the lights and screen design for the show.
Except for last year's winner Lordi, YLE has kept the performing guest artists in the Eurovision Song Contest secret so far. “We have searched for Finnish but internationally known artists," Kaj Flood says. "We have a very precise script and many managers have been eagerly trying to find out if there is something their bands or artists could do.”
The number of generators needed tells something about the show's size. The six generators will use 244.000 litres of fuel a day and produce up to six megawatts of energy a day. If there should be a blackout in Helsinki the lights in the Arena’s hallways will go off, but the show on stage will go on. The same kind of generators were used in the Helsinki World Championships in athletics in 2005.