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Glasgow 2014 – Bring it on

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Glasgow and Scotland welcomed the world with an Opening Ceremony that featured thousands of friendly faces, a blend of bagpipes, banter and bravado and a soundtrack made for the best party in town.


Global celebrities joined thousands of local talent to bring a tantalising mix of tradition, irreverent fun and true Glaswegian hospitality to life for the world to see as the sun shone on Celtic Park on Wednesday 23 July. The rhythm of Glasgow’s heart was beating to the drum of Rod Stewart who rocked the crowd with a rousing rendition of his hit which was given a new twist by Amy Macdonald and some unexpected backing singers – hundreds of Glaswegians.


The ceremony, which featured more than 1,300 volunteer cast members, ranging from eight to 85 years old and representing every local authority in Scotland, was inspired by a desire to put people and communities at the heart of the Ceremony. The spectacular was watched by a stadium audience of 40,000 and television viewers of an estimated 1 billion in 71 Commonwealth nations and territories.

The athletes of the Commonwealth were invited to take a seat and join in the party by thousands of volunteers who gave the performance of their lives. Each nation and territory was welcomed into the stadium by one of 71 Glaswegians on stage to give a very personal warm welcome.


Other highlights included:


  • Glasgow’s countdown: across the city, more than 100 people from 14 communities created 14 completely different numbers, each in their own unique style and materials – from graffiti to sports balls to ceramics
  • Susan Boyle and the Red Arrows welcomed in Her Majesty The Queen
  • Scottish adventurer Mark Beaumont delivered the Queen’s Baton on the Loch Lomond Sea Plane, completing its 120,000 mile epic journey around the Commonwealth
  • Athletes from 71 teams were accompanied into the stadium by their team name bearers – an ensemble of 41 Scottish Terriers
  • A unique moment was led by UNICEF where the people came together to donate and help support the children of the Commonwealth. The moment was accompanied live by the National Youth Choir of Scotland and over 2000 children and young people from nations and territories in Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Youth Choir
  • Violinist Nicola Benedetti performed accompanied by the Children of the Big Noise Orchestra as the ceremonial flag of the Commonwealth Games Federation entered the stadium
  • Billy Connolly reflected on Glasgow’s relationship to Nelson Mandela and introduced a powerful Scottish song of peace and freedom
  • The Opening Ceremony closed with personal good luck messages from the children of Glasgow schools scattered like confetti from the stadium roof and read by the athletes below


The night was an historic one which broke the mould of previous ceremonies and for the first time included a call to action for the audience, the athletes and the Commonwealth to Put Children First.


Her Majesty the Queen read her message, which has travelled 190,000km since 9 October last year, traversing the Commonwealth until finally coming home.


Lord Smith of Kelvin, Chairman of the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, said:

This was the moment we had been waiting for since the bid was accepted in 2007.  This Opening Ceremony promised many things – including showing Glasgow as a generous host – and I think we can say that we did just that.  There were so many touches that just said “we are Glasgow and we are proud to welcome you in” – from the voices of 71 of my fellow Glaswegians announcing the arrival of the athletes, to the moment where we witnessed community groups performing side by side with international talent.  Glasgow promised to put on a show and put on a show we did, setting the scene for the next 11 days of competition and the best Games ever.


HRH Prince Imran, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said:

It was a memorable opening ceremony but the highlight for me is always the arrival of the athletes from the 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth. They will be the stars of the show over the next 11 days of outstanding competition. They all looked delighted to be here in Glasgow and excited about what lies ahead.


Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said:

What an amazing Opening Ceremony to kick-off our home Games and one which will live long in the memory of the thousands who were fortunate enough to be inside the stadium and for the millions watching from across the Commonwealth and beyond. We started this journey 12 years ago and it was a very proud and poignant moment when our flag bearer Euan Burton led Team Scotland into the stadium.

With a welcome unlike anything they have ever experienced before in Scotland, I know the entire Team are now raring to go and showcase their talent in the sporting arena and make the nation proud.


First Minister, Alex Salmond, said:

Tonight’s spectacular opening ceremony has been a fitting start to the biggest cultural and sporting celebration Scotland has ever seen.

As we all look forward to 11 days of sporting achievement and excellence, I want to wish the hundreds of athletes from the 71 participating Commonwealth nations and territories the very best of luck. 

I would also like to thank all of those who have worked so hard to bring us to this point.  From those working behind the scenes, to the clyde-siders who have volunteered to help welcome the world to Glasgow, the dedication of all those involved has been remarkable. 

The Games will deliver an exciting spectacle that will thrill audiences worldwide, but even more importantly, will secure a lasting legacy that will benefit Scotland for years to come.


David Zolkwer, Head of Ceremonies and Artistic Director, said:

The Opening Ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games was created and produced on behalf of Glasgow 2014 by Jack Morton Worldwide, who also created the Ceremonies for Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002 and Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.  They are the team behind some of the most high-profile and critically-acclaimed ceremonies on four continents – including Athens 2004 Olympic Ceremonies and the South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup Ceremonies. Jack Morton will also be creating and producing the closing ceremony on 3 August.



Arena Group unveils Glasgow 2014 plans

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Official provider to Glasgow 2014, Arena Group has revealed the plans for transforming the Commonwealth Games venues with its temporary overlay, structures and seating products.


As an official Overlay and Temporary Structures Provider, Arena Group, including the Arena Structures division, has been working closely with the Organising Committee to design and install over 230 structures; totalling more than 20,800m2.


Meanwhile the company’s seating division, Arena Seating, has been liaising with each venue in Arena Group’s capacity as the Exclusive Temporary Seating Provider. The team has been tasked with delivering every single temporary seat at the Games – around 22,000 in total – across 10 venues. The seating team will also be installing camera platforms, wheelchair access platforms, press positions and commentator platforms.


Installation times vary for each venue, with the first project due for completion – the official merchandise shop in a Glasgow city centre location – commencing at the beginning of June.

Arena Group to supply Glasgow 2014 temporary capacity

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Glasgow 2014 has announced Arena Group as an Official Overlay and Temporary Structures Provider for the Commonwealth Games which will include exclusive responsibility for temporary seating.

Arena Group will provide temporary structures as part of the work being done across Games venues to bolster spectator facilities, including VIP. Ty Speer, Glasgow 2014 Deputy Chief Executive, said:

Getting overlay right at venues is a vital component towards the delivery of a successful Commonwealth Games and we are delighted that Arena Group is joining our Sponsor Family. They are a UK company whose experienced team have a proven track record in temporary event overlay at a range of major global sporting and cultural events.

Dave Withey, Sales and Marketing Director, Arena UK & Europe, said:

We believe that our proven track record both here and overseas, and our investment into new products – clearview™ seating and Arcus structure – means that we’re ideally placed to give visitors, sponsors and athletes of the Games the best possible spectator experience.

It is very exciting to be involved in yet another global sporting event right here in the UK which will showcase the strength, skill and world leading standards of the UK event industry.

Malcolm Construction and Aggreko have also signed up as official providers, of constructon and temporary power respectively. Malcolm has begun work to change Hampden Park into a world-class track and field venue for the Games and will return it to football only afterwards. Glasgow-based Aggreko will provide temporary power across the Games’ 13 sports venues and the Athletes Village.

Glasgow adds 12,000 seat arena to city’s riverside venues

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The SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) Hydro arena has held its first week of events, beginning with four nights of Rod Stewart. The opening night deadline was met despite a fire in the roof during the final few weeks of construction, which threatened to delay delivery by contractor Lend Lease. Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) Chief Executive Officer, John Sharkey, said:

Everything about this building is world class. The engineering is fantastic, the architecture is outstanding, the acoustics tremendous. We have a host of large scale and high profile events planned, such as the World Gymnastics Championships, to the opening ceremony of the Ryder Cup, where we will be looking forward to welcoming around one million people per year to The SSE Hydro, from the World.

The Foster and Partners design competes visually with the Clyde Auditorium (Armadillo) and adds to the eye candy along the Glasgow waterfront. Built on the site of the former Queen’s Dock, the £125 million arena has a seated capacity of 12,000, rising to 13,000 with a seated and standing configuration. Around one million people are expected to attend approximately 140 music, sport and comedy events at The SSE Hydro each year, placing it alongside the likes of the O2 and Madison Square Garden as one of the busiest venues of its kind in the world.

In keeping with recent trends, the façade uses LED lighting to light up the Glasgow river front with a colourful glow. The distinctive elliptical sloping shape offers the optimum balance of viewing angle and distance from the stage.

Spencer de Grey, Head of Design, Foster + Partners said:

With its vast steel roof and capacity for 13,000, this is the largest performance arena that the practice has designed – operationally, it allows performers a great deal of freedom in staging events, and visually, its form helps to capture the excitement of a concert. We were delighted to have the opportunity to work with SECC once again, almost 18 years since we were first commissioned to design the Clyde Auditorium. The SSE Hydro has been a great team effort and it is fantastic to see the arena come to life for its first concert.

The 1,400 tonne steel diagrid roof, one of Europe’s largest free-spanning roof structures, is held aloft by a circular array of angled concrete fins, which support a tilted seating bowl, designed to draw the audience close to the stage and provide the best possible viewing angles from every seat.

The whole building can function as a huge screen for projections, and every aspect of the state-of-the-art lighting system can be programmed, allowing performers great creative freedom to shape the venue, inside and out. Inside the seating bowl, the stage lighting rig was similarly developed with performers in mind and evolved through discussions with production crews – weighing 260 tonnes, its size and circular form allow maximum flexibility.

The circulation spaces run around the perimeter of the performance bowl. Here, the façade is more transparent to draw in natural light, animating the building with the movement of people and exposing the dramatic structure that supports the tiers of seating within. The spaces are protected from solar gain by a frit pattern, applied to the ETFE cushions.

Foster + Partners worked with graphic designer, Per Arnoldi to devise a bold primary colour palette for the circulation spaces, and the cushioned seats were developed specifically for the project with the manufacturer.

Designed to reduce energy demands, the building combines natural and mechanical ventilation – fresh air is drawn into the building above the entrances, and vented at a high level. The SSE Hydro is integrated with the district-wide public transport and the surrounding landscaping provides a valuable new civic amenity – the building is set back from the river to frame a new public space between the arena and conference centre. In addition, a low concrete bank curves around the base of the arena, concealing catering and support spaces and providing an attractive green, landscaped plinth.

Arup was appointed by the SECC to provide civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, public health and fire engineering; as well as BREEAM assessor, transportation planning and specialist lighting services. Martin Surridge, Project Director at Arup said:

This is probably one of the most complex buildings ever constructed in Scotland but definitely one of the most rewarding. The SSE Hydro will provide Glasgow with an exciting new landmark and position Scotland at the forefront of the global events and entertainment industry. We’re proud to be part of the team that’s brought this landmark building to life.

The SSE Hydro comprises a 127 metre roof span, with its spiral form creating a shallow silver dome standing 45m at its highest point. During construction, Arup claimed, its roof erection sequence saved significant time and money, and minimised the time that the workforce spent working at height.

The building’s unique ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluroethylene) façade is made up of translucent cushions which allows natural light to illuminate the foyers during the day and the arena to ‘glow’ at night. Tom Doyle, Project Director for the SSE Hydro’s owners and operators, SECC, said:

The construction of The SSE Hydro’s distinctive roof and ETFE façade, lit by thousands of LED lights, are two of the key features of the building. They are prime examples of the innovative spirit and engineering expertise that the Arup team have consistently demonstrated over the many years they have been working on this project. We at the SECC are really proud that the building has achieved this milestone, are confident that The SSE Hydro will be a huge success and thank Arup for being at the centre of the building’s design and delivery.

Jonny Petrie, SSE Director of Commonwealth Games and Sponsorship, said:

We have been working with our fantastic partners at the SECC for a few years now and it’s great to see all the amazing work they have put in come to fruition. We are really excited about this partnership. The sponsorship is of a scale that we haven’t experienced before and we are looking forward to all the opportunities it will present and continuing our great relationship with the SECC for the benefit of our customers.

Glasgow 2014 seeks venue management talent

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Glasgow 2014 is scouting for talented, dedicated individuals to work across a variety of different job roles. from project leaders and cultural curators to sports specialists and security managers. There will be a range of opportunities and vacancies advertised on the Glasgow 2014 website.

The Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee states that it is committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce that brings together a broad range of talent that represents all of our local communities. Also that all successful applicants will be subject to rigorous pre-employment screening including a criminal records check.


New COO seconded for Glasgow 2014

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David Leather, who was Finance Director and Deputy Chief Executive of Manchester 2002, has joined Glasgow 2014 as Chief Operations Officer. He also played a key role in setting up the Olympic Delivery Authority for the London 2012 Olympics.

Glasgow 2014 offers a unique opportunity for me to invest my energies and experience in delivering an outstanding Commonwealth Games. I’m proud of what we achieved at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 and I’m delighted to be part of what I know will be a truly memorable event in Scotland,

said Leather.

He joins the Organising Committee (OC) on secondment from Ernst & Young where he has been a partner since 2005. Ernst & Young is a member of Glasgow 2014’s sponsor family. He replaces Ralph Ord who left the OC this week.