Helsinki – City of fun that works!

by Ilari Karhapää 59 views

YLE held a press conference this morning at Vanha, the venue chosen for the EuroClub in May. Journalists who made it there through the snowstorm that passed over Helsinki were first treated to a nice video medley of old Finnish Eurovision songs before being given details on postcards, hotels and delegations amongst other things.

YLE’s Heikki Seppälä, the producer of the Eurovision Song Contest 2007, first took his time to explain the organisation, maybe to calm waters after the media fuss after the first Finnish semi final last Saturday, and trying to make everybody in the hall aware what we are dealing here with: a huge production where the TV-show is only the tip of the iceberg, and YLE only the host broadcaster. He reminded all that YLE has a lot of experiencewith big TV-broadcasts, the Athens Olympics opening and closing ceremonies for example. The shows will be broadcast in over 50 countries live, including Japan, USA and Australia and will reach at least 100 million people. The budget at the moment is 12,4 million euros, YLE’s biggest production to date.


Kjell Ekholm, from EBU’s Reference Group, then proceeded to announce details on the postcards. Finland and the Finnishness will be showcased in the 52 postcards under the theme True Fantasy and in the interval acts, as well. The theme has been divided into opposites and contrasts for the semi final while in the final the focus is on reality and fantasy. YLE has already started filming the postcardssince last summer.

Press center

The press center will be built outside Hartwall Areena in a tent. The second option earlier was to use the Helsinki Fair Centre nearby (that also was running to host the Eurovision Song Contest). The dressing rooms will be located in the hall that usually houses the training ice ring inside the arena. Building the stage and other modification work will start inside Hartwall Areena on April 17 at the latest.

Camera team

Timo Suomi will be the head of the camera team. YLE will use over 20 cameras and Kari Salmi will be co-director. The team includes also Mikki Kunttu who is in charge for lightning and screens. Timo Suomi and Kari Salmi both work for YLE. Suomi has been directing and producing over 100 live programmes including the Finnish Euroviisut since 2001 and most Finnish music galas since 1996. He also directed Lordi’s Marketsquare massacre (or the welcoming concert in May 2006 that attracted nearly 90.000 people to Helsnki’s Market square). Kari Salmi has been working in YLE for 33 years and with Suomi in all Euroviisut since 2001.Mikki Kunttu is one of the most successful European light designers at the moment. In Finnish television he has done the lightning for Venla Galas (2001-2006), Telvis Galas (2002-2006) and Idols (2003-2005). More on him on

City of fun that works!

Mikki Leisti, from City of Helsinki, explained that the municipal authority of Helsinki will be in charge of the transport, security, communications and making the city lively under the theme Hauska kaupunki joka toimii! or City of fun that works!. There will be about 1.000 members of delegations, 1.500-2.000 journalists and around 10.000 tourists and fans and they must all be of course be taken care of. They need to be provided withthings to do and places to go. City of Helsinki will be holding a press conference in two weeks time to reveal more about their plans.

Additional information

There will be 250 volunteers taking care of the delegations, chosen out of 1.500 applicants. The delegations are spread out all over the city center in 12 different hotels. City of Helsinki and VR (Finnish railways) are discussing creating a special Eurovision train to take people from the central station to Hartwall Areena, that is aboutfive minutes ride anyways.

Important Dates

2nd – 4th February: Reference Group meeting in Helsinki

6th February: Presenters announced

10th- 11th March:Reference Group meeting in Helsinki

12th – 13th March: Delegations meet in Helsinki, order of presentation live from Finlandia Hall

2nd – 6thMay:Delegations arrive in Helsinki

3rd May: Euroclub opening

7th May:Opening party in Finlandia Hall

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