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National Lottery’s big Eurovision welcome wows crowds

AJ ODUDU and Joel Dommett hosted the ultimate Eurovision opening ceremony, ‘The National Lottery’s Big Eurovision Welcome’, outside St. George’s Hall in Liverpool.

The audience of over 25,000 were treated to a spectacular opening show to celebrate Eurovision arriving in the city  – with the free event a unique ‘thank you’ to the public for the money raised for music and culture in Liverpool through The National Lottery.

As part of the event, St. George’s Hall, which has been restored thanks to National Lottery funding, was illuminated using ground-breaking projection mapping to open the celebrations for this year’s song contest.

Ukrainian Ambassador, Vadym Prystaik, and Liverpool Mayor, Joanne Anderson, switched on the stunning illumination of the National Lottery-funded building, which was then followed by a variety of spectacular stunts and designs.

Brit nominee Birdy and Ukraine’s Eurovision 2016 winner Jamala were joined by The Coral’s Paul Molloy for an emotive re-imagining of The Beatles’ ‘All You Need Is Love’, which included a 40-foot high illustration by BAFTA  and Oscar winning artist, illustrator and author Charlie Mackesy (author of bestselling book ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’)  taking shape on St George’s Hall depicting a couple hand-in-hand to reflect the bond between the people of the UK and Ukraine.

Charlie Mackesy said: “I’m very moved to have been asked to share something and be part of this special event. Ukraine – you are brave and magnificent.”

During the event, Liverpool’s Sunetra Sarker called out the transformative impact The National Lottery funding has had for culture in the city, with projection mapping depicting the restoration the building enjoyed thanks to £15M of lottery funding. The projections show the building fall into disrepair with cracks forming all over it, before the peeling paint blows away to reveal a gleaming refurbished building with a sparkling ballroom inside.

The projection team used a system of 32 projectors, throwing 750,000 lumens of light across around 4000 square metres of projection surface – the entire front of the iconic St George’s Hall. Using 3D models of the building, the designs followed the form and shape of the building, respecting the architecture, giving an illusion that the building has completely transformed.

Matthew Banyard, Head of Design and Innovation, Potion Pictures said: “Crafting animations for such a vast surface is an incredible challenge both technically and creatively. With 25,000 people watching live, as well as millions watching on TV, we had to create graphics that would look great up close, far away, and from almost any angle – all while adhering to the unique architecture of the building. It’s a privilege to work on The National Lottery’s Big Eurovision Welcome project, collaborating with so many talented teams. We can’t wait for visitors to enjoy the projections throughout the week.’

Tickets for the event were available for free for National Lottery players as a thank you for the £330M they have contributed to over 3,600 music and cultural projects in Liverpool alone. 


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