Ukraine is gearing up for the Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Kyiv next month (May 13).
The main arena in the Kyiv International Exhibition Center has been built and will stage the first of the semi-finals on May 9.
The stage boasts multiple platforms – making each participant’s performances unique.
The production team say the structure emphasises depth – and Ukraine’s traditional female costume.
“You can also refer to a beautiful flower arrangement (chaplet) that is a very traditional thing here, in Ukraine. But basically it’s supposed to be feminine, but yet modern shape that defines our stage and makes it different from a very masculine stage that we did last year in Stockholm,” says Ola Melzig, Eurovision’s Head of Production.
“A lot of the artists from here (Eurovision participants) will go there (ot the fan zone) and sing and perform as well. So, I think that everybody has a chance to see all the artists even if they can’t get a ticket, they can get a chance to see an artist anyway,” added Eurovision show producer Christer Bjorkman.
Around 8,000 spectators are expected inside the arena for each of the two semi-finals and final.
Others will be able to mix with the contestants and watch the events unfold in the official fan-zone, the Eurovillage in the city centre.
Security will be tight – with cameras and even police to resolve any conflicts between fans via dialogue.
But one local transport analyst points out that the venue is on the other side of the river and far from downtown attractions. The metro he says, hasn’t been adapted to increase its capacity to cope with the numbers expected.
“What about the metro station, it was reconstructed. But after the reconstruction the station’s capacity hasn’t increased, they didn’t make the corridors bigger, they didn’t open the third exit from the metro station that was supposed to bring passengers directly to the main arena,” said Volodymyr Antkiv of the non-governmental organisation “Revival of Cities”.
To solve transport problems, Kyiv’s authorities have promised to launch ferries to take tourists to and fro between the Eurovision venue and the city centre.
Whether it will help will be clear only when all the fans arrive.
Euronews correspondent Maria Korenyuk reported from the venue: “Kyiv has a limited time to complete all the preparations for Eurovision. The contest’s participants will come to the city in few days time. And the Grand Final will be held in Ukrainian capital on May 13.”