Eurovision Song Contest 2021: Nul points for UK, top marks for load cells!

Published On: June 10 2021


The annual spectacle that is the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Rotterdam this year, complete with innovative digital projections and epic sound system delighting the small but enthusiastic invited audience.

Eurovision is a major guilty pleasure of our social media team, who claim they watch it every year just to check our the load cells… The victory of Italian rock band Måneskin surprised even them (although sadly, the nil points for the UK from the rest of post-Brexit Europe was a little less of a surprise…)


Rigging stats and secrets

An article in Light Sound Journal interviewed Eurovision’s Head of Production Erwin Rintjema, who revealed some of the rigging stats and design secrets behind the live show.

Two years in the making, the original designs would have been finished in October 2019, and then needed to be redrawn a year later to include COVID-19 measures. From January onwards, the team worked to bring the ideas for the participants’ performances to life.

Rigging started at the Ahoy stadium on 11th April 2021, and whilst the load-in took until the 25th April, the load out was a lot less – completed in just four days! In total, 514 hoists and 74 load cells were used in the rigging. The hoists supported 2653 metres of trussing, adding up to 220 tons of static load. Check out the backstage images here – an astounding amount of kit!


Lighting the way

The rig needed to support a considerable amount of high tech lights, well over a thousand in total. In addition, the set-up included over 100 washBeam lights for the green room, the audience and other locations.

Head Lighting Designer Henk-Jan van Beek explained how:

“I was free to make my own choices in what to create, combining lighting and all other visual elements. Flexibility and cooperation between all creatives and parties, including AR, video content, set design, etc, was great! But we always kept the interest of our general design in mind … when supporting the delegations to make their act as best as possible.”


Moving walls

The ESC 2021 rig included a system that allowed the LED wall to rotate in four sections, plus the side walls, as the Light Sound Journal article explained:

“The rotating walls were 9 m wide and 12 m high. The four elements could be completely closed by means of a magnetic locking system or rotated 180° in about 16 seconds at a speed of up to 0.9 m/s.”


The side wings each weighed 15,430kgs, with the main rotating LED wall weighed 46,290kg, with the wall structure alone weighing in at 12,700kg.

Surprisingly for such a lot of heavyweight kits, the rig relied on just a few load cells. Lighting & rigging project manager Ruud Werkhoven installed:

“A total of 514 Lodestar engines and 74 BroadWeigh load cells for a total weight equal to 220 tons of static load and 285 tons of dynamic load.”


For the lighting rig, a total of 208 motors with some trusses with moving objects was constantly monitored by just eight load cells! In addition, the camera set-up included:

“22 engines with 3 rigging structures for the rail camera, the fly-cam and for a fixed hanging camera. Due to the dynamic load also in this case, (nine) load cells were used.”


Going live again

Hopefully, the UK music scene will be able to put on performances this summer on both mega and minor stages across the country. As per usual, load cells will be playing an important role in ensuring rigging is properly tested, loads actively monitored, and crew and performers kept safe underneath!

For all your load cell requirements, we’re here to help. From the smallest light to the heaviest of rigs, we can provide wireless load cells that are reliable and consistent in performance for years of use. Contact us with your requirements, or buy online for fast, UK delivery from our base in Reading, England.



More geek pics: Live Design Online