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Topic: Glasgow 2014

  1. #1
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    Default Glasgow 2014

    I thought some of you might be interested in hearing about my experience working on the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony last week, now that I am able to talk about it? If not then please move on to one of the Florida trip reports, or at least a holiday one.

    I was up there firing confetti, both the normal type for the Scotland team entering the stadium and also some rather special stuff. In the build-up to the games there had been a competition for Glasgow school children to write messages to the athletes. The best 300 had been printed onto thousands of sheets of extra large confetti paper and we scattered them over the assembled athletes at the end of the ceremony. When we signed up for the job we had to sign an NDA to say we would not divulge our participation online before the ceremony, nor take any photos. Thankfully the photo ban was lifted on the day, so long as nothing got published until after the ceremony.

    The 4 of us from Confetti Magic travelled up last Thursday, two in a van from Luton with all the kit and two of us by EasyJet also from Luton. The ceremony team had been on-site at Celtic Park for two months before we got there, so we found a well established site on arrival. Our accommodation for the week was the halls of residence for Glasgow Caledonian University, which was fine if a little spartan.

    Friday saw us setting everything up before a technical run-through of the show elements, not in the order you saw. I have to say I'll need to work a fair few more of these global events before I stop getting a tingle up my spine walking onto stage for the first time.

    Saturday was some more setup in very wet weather after we discovered the locations needed to change for our machines and then a run of the show in front of a small audience. For these runs, stand-ins are used for the dignitaries and some of the headline talent. These stand-ins don't speak, sing or dance, but do let everyone know where people are going to be and what roughly they are going to do. For instance, a Ford Focus drove around the stadium and a lady got out wearing a bib with HMQ on it to be given some heather.

    Sunday we were not needed at the stadium but were asked to stay local just in case. Rather than sit around our rooms we decided to go and sample some of Glasgow's culture. We walked through the city to the Kelvingrove art gallery and museum, stopping on the way for some breakfast.





    We spent a few hours exploring the gallery, which I have to say is excellent if a little eclectic in its collection. One thing it does show very well is the rich history of Glasgow as 'The Second City Of The Empire'. We had noted on the walk down the expensive architecture of the older buildings in the city, once we had had it pointed out we noticed even more on the way back just how rich this city had once been.

    Our walk back took us through Kelvingrove Park and alongside the River Kelvin. This is another example of the city's golden age in the Victorian era.



    Our walk back and search for food took us through George Square where the main ticket office for the games is located.



    We walked down Queen Street past the statue of Wellington that featured in the ceremony.



    Still seeking food we saw this understated bit of more modern architecture.



    I'm not sure what this building used to be, but I doubt it was built as a Cafe Nero.



    We found a great pub for dinner a little out of the city centre called Hootenanny before bumping into the Game's mascot 'Stereotype' on the way back.



    The walk back took us through George Square again, where we paused to take in the very impressive city hall.



    The atmosphere in the city was fantastic all day, with strangers saying hello in the streets and seemingly everyone in a great mood.

    I think you'll agree this was a very active and cultured day off?

    Monday was another early start with a full day of preparation before a full run-through of the show in the evening in front of an invited audience. From what I can gather everyone in the show or volunteering there was given a pair of tickets to give away for the dress rehearsal. This meant that the stadium was almost full, giving a fantastic atmosphere for the show. The athlete's parade was done with volunteers standing in for the teams, I spent the show sat next to the entrance and the looks on their faces as they were cheered into the stadium were wonderful to see.

    The ceremony went well for us and so Tuesday was another day of stand by. The weather being lovely we went for another walk around the city, this time heading for the river and Pacific Quay.



    This is where the BBC have their Glasgow offices and have set up a Live Site to anchor their games coverage as well as a stage, a bar and a bunch of food and drinks stalls showing off Scottish produce. Pacific Quay is also home to the Glasgow Science Centre and The Glasgow Tower, a 100m tall observation tower. After sampling some rather fine Scottish cider (who knew they made cider in Scotland) we toured HMS Bangor which is moored on the Clyde as part of the security for the games. The tower had been closed when we arrived but after a rather fine Bambi burger for lunch it was open again, so with the weather being clear we took a trip up.



    These were the graving or dry docks for the port, now looking for a new use. If you know what you are looking at you'll also spot this was where the shells for the riverside fireworks in the ceremony were fired from.

    Looking the other way you can see the city centre and again looking closely the pyro in the river for the ceremony.



    Back down the tower, it was time for some more of that rather fine cider to fortify us for the long walk back to our rooms, on the way we passed the seaplane that carried the baton in the ceremony.




    Continued Below
    Last edited by spencem; 22-09-2019 at 10:39 PM.
    5 Trips to Florida, Christmas in LA, Disneyland Paris twice and odd days here and there.

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  2. #2
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    Wednesday was the day of the actual ceremony and so another early start, there was a real sense of anticipation around the stadium all day along with some nerves. I've never done a show that an estimated Billion people will be watching before.

    Talking to the organisers we were told we were ok to take pictures now, but not to post them online until after the ceremony under pain of death.

    The Kingdom Of The Scots slowly takes shape on the field of play.







    These are two of our confetti blasters at the bottom of the picture stowed away tested and re-tested waiting for their moment of glory.



    The BBC in-stadium position where they presented from pre-and post-show. This was just behind my position.



    Just before 5pm the call went out over the radios for all of the crew to gather on the front of the stage for a photo. Unfortunately, this close to the doors opening at 5:30 many were not able to spare the time, but here are some of the hundreds of us who made the show 'work'.



    Many of these guys and girls were wearing shirts for previous ceremonies all over the world, Olympics, World Cups, Commonwealth Games, World Championships, regional championships you name it they were there. Most people don't realise, but the creative forces behind many many of the world's great shows and ceremonies are British, we truly are world leaders in this field.

    Once the show started my camera stayed in my pocket, I really didn't want to be that person in the background playing with my phone. The one exception being for something totally unrehearsed, The Red Arrows flypast. Even the totally unflappable show caller (the lady who was talking in our ears all night) was heard to utter "wow" as they went over bang on time.



    I have to say it was a real privilege to work on the event, the atmosphere around the stadium and the wider city was amazing all week. As an example, there were 4 separate and rival special effects companies working on the ceremony, but rather than compete we all worked together to get the show done. I spent a few hours putting another company's kit in place and charging it, everyone helped the main pyro guys out where they could. Another firm's staff helped us move our kit from the sides of the stadium into the centre each night. The show was far more important than any rivalry between teams.
    Last edited by spencem; 22-09-2019 at 10:52 PM.
    5 Trips to Florida, Christmas in LA, Disneyland Paris twice and odd days here and there.

    All my trip reports are now HERE.


  3. #3

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    Wow, that's so exciting, being a part of such a massive event

    Congrats to all involved!

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    A fantastic report spencem. Such a priviledge being part of something this important.
    A bonus getting to see the buildings in Glasgow too. And sampling the cider!

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    Fascinating on several levels, thanks for posting.

    Glasgow is only a couple of hours away on the train and yet I have never been.

    Love the concept of the Commonwealth Games and never fail to be amused by some of the teams that get to compete.

    A lot of Manchesters wonderful sporting facilities originated from holding the games here, I hope Glasgow sees the same benefits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DH of Dolphingirl View Post

    Glasgow is only a couple of hours away on the train and yet I have never been.

    Love the concept of the Commonwealth Games and never fail to be amused by some of the teams that get to compete.
    I think you'd enjoy a wander around Glasgow DH, there is so much history there.

    To see the looks on the athlete's faces when the walked into the stadium was great, especially the ones from places like Norfolk Island. There were around 20 times more people in the stadium than the population of their nation, it must have been incredible for them.
    5 Trips to Florida, Christmas in LA, Disneyland Paris twice and odd days here and there.

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    What a fantastic report! I REALLY enjoy reading these kinds of reports, and it was so interesting to see the city through your eyes. Never having been, I found the architecture quite fascinating (especially that building with all the decoration on the front; wow!) and I was surprised at how low-rise the city is. Somehow in my head these great cities are all like Chicago or New York.

    Most people don't realise, but the creative forces behind many many of the world's great shows and ceremonies are British, we truly are world leaders in this field.
    I didn't know that. Very interesting! I'm quite curious about your job, so it was fun to read about how things are organized. I'd like to hear more about the events you do!

    Wonderful that everyone came together to make it a special day.

    DHofDG, if you do make the trip, I would love to read more about this city.












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    Likewise. It sounds like one of those truly memorable occasions when things do come together with great community spirit. Great to see

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    I'm so pleased that you were allowed to take some photo's and eventually 'talk' about your contribution to the opening ceremony
    A great insight into the hard work and teamwork that goes into an event like this.
    We are looking forward to seeing Glasgow and the two events we have tickets for, but can I ask very nicely that you send the hot dry sunny weather back

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    The statue of the horse and rider is so famous because of the traffic cone. Its an institution to put one on the guys head and they have suggested stopping this but their has been an outcry. Great pictures and even though I am form Edinburgh, Glasgow is a great City!

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