ESC2017 logo kyiv2017 white



April 11

Hi y'all as we say in Texas! Weather is still iffy, but surely spring will arrive with full force once the delegations show up, and we're all stuck inside the venue 14 hours a day.......... this is always the's tradition.........



The stage is almost completed and tomorrow we'll start with live programming of lighting and video.



Straight out of a Sci-fi movie. Plus the floor is clearing out.



And the Green Room is finishing up nicely too. All 26 lounges are now in place, and we'll start with dressing them, implemening video monitors and all that jazz. And I managed to pull off such a heart-warming thing together with the team at Highlight. The wine glasses we'll use in Green Room are designed by Erika Lagerbielke. No wonder if you recognize that last name! She is the sister of Pontus ¨Bullen¨ Lagerbielke. Bullen was the assistant lighting designer for no less than 5 Eurovision Song Contests, including the show here in Kyiv back in 2005. He was also deeply involved with the production in 2013 and 2014. Bullen lost the battle to cancer in the fall of 2015, and all of us who had the honor to be his friend miss him on a daily basis.



Audience screens are off the floor and hung in position. Now we'll just move them 7 times, which is another tradition that we entertain in this show..........



So the press came in to learn about all the progress. It was all in Ukrainian but I think they said we were doing a good job and everything was on track.



Christer explained how the wishes of each country were given to the production team - the feeling, the emotion, yadda yadda - and how we deliver that in the form of lighting, pyro, special effects, camera shots and props (which the countries are required to supply themselves.) He speaks fluent Ukrainian!



Even the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine made an appearance! A new friend that might come in handy.........


vpm photo op

I asked if we could take a selfie but Vyacheslav Kyrylenko Vyacheslav was more interested in the stage......



And oh boy, another birthday in da house! Happy Birthday Natasha!! Natasha is our venue manager, and I chase her daily about fridges, desks, chairs, trash bins and all other things that makes life more fun! She loves me...........



Name: Sara Svensson

Title: Executive Production Assistant

OM: So you have a birthday this week too! But you're still younger than Blomdahl - that must be nice!

SS: Yes.

OM: And you're single too - where would a nice Swedish man find you on a typical Saturday night in Stockholm?

SS: I guess at a bar in Södermalm.   OM: You hear that guys? Young, beautiful and smart.....can't get much better!

OM: Tell me something you've done that you know I've never done.

SS: Well, twice I've lived in Congo for 8 months at a time coaching football.

OM: Holy crap! Is that really a sport? Ice Hockey is for real men.........



Name: Kai Reiss

Title: Technical Manager, Sound

OM: What makes you laugh?

KR: Nothing. Nothing makes me laugh.

OM: Where's your happy place?

KR: Excuse me?

OM: Oh, I mean mental, not physical

KR: Hmm....somewhere where no one is. On a beach. On the Baltic.

OM: What does it sound like when doves cry?

KR: What?? Fuck! (LOL)

OM: Ha ha that made you laugh.



Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?

So many questions...........


Go to Next Page >>>






April 9-10

Hello people! With this update, we'll be up to speed with this diary, and we will start having the usual 24 hour delay on the updates. So, what happens on Mondays will be published on Tuesdays and so on, and what happens in Kyiv stays in Kyiv! Unless it's caught on camera of course!


1 prodoffice

Welcome to my office! Besides my party case, it's full of absolutely awesome people! We'll continue to introduce them one by one by asking weird questions to them.



The arena is also full of awesome people! Here is team Cyberhoist from Holland. The venue is acutally full of people from Holland, but for some reason, the venue is NOT full of Bitterballen. Can you guys please read the fine print of your contracts?



The Green Room platform has been completed, and we've started to put the 26 lounges for the delegations in place.



And Sven, the Swiss Army Knife named Bee Hive is coming together very nicely.



More of Sven.



I don't think ANYONE missed the fact that our schedule and loadin in / load out manager Erik Blomdahl turned 30 yesterday.



It was quite honest since he, purely on volunteer basis, equipped his hard hat with a silly paper cone! Here assisted by two loving Monchichis.



All the bits and pieces of the stage arcs are together now. We're fitting them with Schnick Schnack LED strips, covering them with a creme white fabric with good gain, and then we'll project the shit out if it. It will be amazing!



The matrix with 350 x Elation Paladin Strobes is also completed. We will strobe the living daylight out of you, if you don't behave!



The frontal structure of the stage coming into place. There will be amazing lights in the square holes! Best lights ever actually!



Stairway to heaven if you like, or Green Room. Behind it, in the far back, you'll find 50 meters of FOH!



50 meters of FOH! We'll get back to this area in detail at a later stage!



As said at a later stage!



Not sure if Jerry Appelt has realized that he hung a truss blocking his own site line from FOH. He comes tomorrow. I will ask him.



Name: Robert Roos

Title: Technical Manager for Delegations, Interval Acts and Openings

OM: Where are you most ticklish?

RR: Ummm....I guess behind the knee, what do you call that, the "kneepit"?

OM: Since we're working on producing a contest, have you ever won a contest?

RR: Actually yes, I won a casting contest as a youth. It's with fishing poles and you cast your line to determine distance and precision - but it's done on land.  OM: COOL!! You need to come fishing with me!  RR: Actually I don't like fishing.

OM: How many lights do we have in the rig?

RR: I'm sorry, I didn't get that email.

OM: Ok, well speaking of lights: Daylight Savings Time....why are they saving it and where do they keep it?

RR: I don't know....are you asking these questions for real??



Name: Anders Karlsson

Title: Operations Manager

OM: Why are you smiling?

AK: That picture was taken 2 weeks ago....

OM: What's your favorite band to hate?

AK: Red Hot Chili Peppers -- no competition.

OM: Where's the weirdest place you've ever gotten a tattoo?

AK: Los Angeles


Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?


So many questions..........


Go to Next Page >>>




April 8

Hejsan Hejsan!

My operation team is working really hard on getting our Official App up and running. Since they are also the ones making sure to take pictures of the daily development, we'll swing a different course today!

So, here are the fun facts of this year's production. 24 hours before the press gets it tomorrow!


  • 1816 fixtures
  • Consumes 854 000 watts
  • 67 000 control channels
  • 61 km of cable just for lighting
  • Takes 5 main and 5 back up lighting desks to run the show
  • 16 followspot operators
  • 40 people involved to run lighting during broadcast


  • 1000 sqm of LED Screen
  • 71 000 002 pixels resolution
  • 12 media servers to handle all video content
  • 10 people required to create all content.
  • 56 High Output Projectors
  • 4 High End MMS systems


  • 258 speakers
  • 825 600 watt output
  • 212 microphones
  • 18 IEM systems (In ear monitor)
  • 152 IEM recievers (In ear monitor)
  • 13 sound desks
  • 34 people involved to run sound during broadcast


  • 48 x flame units
  • 50 x firing positions
  • 6 x Heavy Fog Outlets


  • 212 tons of rigged gear in the roof
  • 112 Cyberhoist
  • 735 rigging points
  • 3262 meters of truss
  • 42 riggers to get everything up


  • 7 Megawatts at full capacity
  • 18 Generators
  • 20 000 Liter of fuel used every day
  • 38,5 km of high voltage cable


  • Stage weighs 30 tons
  • 350 sqm performance area
  • Height 14 meters
  • Width 70 meters
  • Depth 28 meters
  • 8 000 work hours in pre production
  • 40 stage techs to handle change overs during broadcast


  • 30 cameras in total- 19 for show broadcast
  • 50 people involved to handle broadcast
  • 2 directors
  • We are using Cuepilot
  • 1 x 2d camera and 1 x 1D camera, 3 cranes, 2 rails


  • 200 trucks of gear
  • 100 stage hands for load in, 150 for load out


  • 22 000 pcs of scaff
  • It weights 450 tons
  • 7 573 seats
  • 60 wheelchair seats


Here are a few highlights from the weekend:

7 crowdedfloor

This is from the stage left audience grandstands looking towards the stage. Hopefully soon the floor will be cleared. Seriously guys, move all this crap! My Segway is getting dusty!



And the grandstands continue to grow! Here's Henk van de Garskamp from Unbranded who just found his way out of the maze! It's hell trying to find catering!



Saturday was Hans Cromheecke's birthday so we celebrated with some cake - chocolate of course!



Name: Carsten Jäckel

Title: Cyberhoist Op/Technician

OM: So you're German. Tell me something funny.

CJ: Germans are not funny.  OM: Ha ha, that was funny!

OM: Thanks for the name tag on your helmet - but when we worked together in Baku, your helmet said "Schinderhanes". Did you change your name?

CJ: No that means like a worker guy that pushes things. The stagehands were always on a break so I was always pushing things where they needed to go and the other guys stuck that on my helmet. But like you, everyone thought it was my name saying, "Good morning Schinderhanes!"

OM: Tell me something people wouldn't guess about you.

CJ: Actually last year in Stockholm I was getting easily frustrated, you know like when you're standing in line at the store and someone in front of you is paying in coins, or you drive into the car wash and suddenly think, "I'm trapped, now what?!" So a friend who teaches yoga taught me breathing exercises and now I do that a lot.   OM: You didn't know how to breathe??  I thought that was a pretty basic skill.....




Name: John "JonnyMac" McDonough

Title: Technical Manager Grandstands

OM: So you'e the owner of the lost Nitro Circus shirt that was hanging in the office for 4 days. I was gonna take it.

JM: Beat you to it! This actually isn't mine, I just thought it looked nice, plus it was clean.

OM: What's your secret talent?

JM: I'm the King of Bad Jokes

OM: Awesome, tell me one!

JM: Why was 6 afraid of 7?

OM: Why?

JM: Cause 7 ate 9

OM: That is bad. What did 0 say to 8?

JM: What?

OM: "Nice belt."



If you're a kleptomaniac, is there something you can take for it?


So many questions..........


Go to Next Page >>>




April 7

Wazz up!?

Yet another day has gone by in the dream factory here in Kyiv! Things are going more or less according to the master schedule. There are some oops here and some crap there, but overall, it's hanky danky dory!


5 screen

I have many mantras in life. One of them is, NEVER do a production without Segways!  So, we have Segways............ Can Lighting, Sound, Video and Staging get your shit off the floor so we can use them?


5 screen

See what I mean........... Even the audience screens are on the floor.......... Skärpning as we say in Sweden! Speaking of........ we are educating our Ukrainian, American, Belgian, German, Estonian and New Zealand Production staff in words and phrases that might come very handy....... in Sweden...... It's quite amusing with them all being VERY rude, without having any idea about it.......... The locals think that we sound like pidgeons when we speak Swedish by the way............


5 screen

Sometimes I'm left clueless with what to say about some of the pictures that my wife posts in here, for me to write today's story about........ I got nothing here.......
A blue truck, with the same colour as our portable toilets stopped outside a tent to look at the church? I got nothing........

[JLM: Hey jackass -- I was in the golf cart with you and you told me to take that picture!!]


13 prestage

The entire LED wall is up now, all lighting trusses are at trim, and the stage arcs are under construction.


14 prestage2

We have a total flock of moving trusses in all sizes and shapes over the stage, using no less than 112 Cyberhoists. It will look spectacular!


2 elation1200

Our Set Designer Florian Wieder calls this piece the Bee Hive. Our Lighting Designer Jerry Appelt calls it the Swiss Army Knife. I call it Sven. I always liked the name Sven.........


2 elation1200

Here is one of our 816 active Elation fixtures in the rig! The Platinum 1200 Wash uses the Osram LED range, just like all other Elation LED fixtures, which is quite handy since Osram is Official Lighting Partner to The Eurovision Song Contest.


4 bstage

In 2013, we were building bridges. In 2016, we were making halls in walls. In 2017, we are removing walls. Because we can........ and it will improve the Segway route in the venue - AWESOME!


4 bstage

The back end of the grandstand is getting ready enough for us starting to building up the Green Room at the far end of the arena. Come on, educate yourself and click on the link!


7 crowdedfloor

It's also quite urgent to get the F section completed, which is right next to the stage on the right side. Our main dimmer city is located under this section, so hurry up boys!



Name: Fabian Bäter

Title: Art Director

OM: What are your children's names?

FB: Luk and Leya.............. but I swear, Star Wars has nothing to do with it!!    OM: Yeah, OK. If I said my dog's name was Choobakka would you call that a coincidence?

OM:  If you could die and come back as a different creature, what would you be?

FB: I'd be an ant.  OM: Why?  FB:  Oh, you know, they're small and they go unnoticed but they can lift 50 times their weight! Plus their social and good team players.  OM: You're weird.

OM: I've also learned that you have never been to the USA. What city would you visit first?

F: New York.  OM: Why?   F: I really like the architecture.  OM: AAAAAGHN! Wrong answer. You want to go to Chicago.




Name: Roman Keryk

Title: Associate Head of Production

OM:  How is it that you're super happy when you're talking with me?

RK: Oh I'm not so tired...working for you makes me not so tired. I'm sorry my English is not so good.  OM: That's OK because I don't understand English. It just seems like I speak English because I watch TV...... "How YOU doin?"


OM: "Pasta."  See? I speak Italian too.

OM: Who would you like to spend 48 hours with on a deserted island?

RK: It needs to be............... it needs to be............. a drunk sailor with lots of whiskey.

OM: (LOL) Good one. I would have a 2 kilo ribeye.




Why is the word dictionary in the dictionary? So many questions!


Go to next page >>>







April 6

Yes yes I know it's not April 6 but we're getting very close to being caught up (on the diary anyway!)

Lots of photos but no vlog today, sorry, too much going on! But I'm planning something brilliant.....l won't disappoint!


4 gen4

So on Thursday we built the generator compound......and they brought a small bit of cable.......


16 cables1

Now, in the past we've posted what could be considered porn for lighting geeks. These photos are for all you cable management horny people out there.....


18 cables3



19 cables4

Oh baby that's how I like it........


17 cablebridge

And we even use protection!


9 olacatering

Here I am enjoying a fine lunch! I have to say, for the second time in the history of this show, I am REALLY pleased with catering! Finally a match to the one we
had in Norway back in 2010. Who was the Executive Producer back then? Jon Ola Sand of course, who is now the Executive Supervisor from EBU, a great boss and my dear friend in life!


10 JMangryola

With my friends JonnyMac and Angry (the video bomber)....... We get salad to every meal, soup to most of them, real plates, real knives and forks, good food, desserts and sodas. Thanks for taking so good care of us Ukraine!


11 paint test

Since we have a standing audience we need to paint the arena floor but it was required that we did a small test first to see that we could get the paint off after the show. So next to one of our production containers we did a sample which turned into a living postcard that the crew is signing. Of course it gets dirty and needs to be cleaned every day. So even the cleaning lady signed it!


12 marcopoetter

Marco Kempen from Unbranded with the Handsome German. Love you guys!!!


21 dana

Our little container town behind the venue continues to grow......This is the start of the TV compound that we will establish next week.


21 dana

Name: Dana Cicin-Angul

Title: Lighting Technician, PRG

OM: Either that's a really big light or you're a very small girl! Which is it?

DCA: Actually it's neither -- I used to play pro basketball for the German Olympic team but I got bored so I got into lighting.  OM: And that's the PRG GroundControl Long Throw which is a small size considering what it does! And I think it's the world premiere of this fixture actually!

OM: But this is not your first time modeling with PRG lighting equipment is it?

DCA: comment.


OM off the record: These photos were taken during Eurovision 2010 in Norway when "Lego Dana" was helping repair a Bad bad girl!!




Two riggers walk into a bar.

You'd think the second one would have noticed.....


Go to next page >>>







Ola Melzig

  • Europe  +46 704 104 343
  • US +1 719 466 1785
  • ola {at}

Contact us

Joan Lyman Melzig

  • Europe  +46 708 204 767
  • US +1 719 466 1784
  • joan {at}