Performing in front of a pan-continental audience is always a special thing to do, an opportunity that Eurovision provides each of its participating artists. But to repeat that at a sporting event is just as rare an occasion. NAVIBAND were part of the huge closing ceremony at the 2019 European Games in Minsk and became one of very few artists to get a second chance to perform for the European-wide audience!
A ceremony with both national and international performances
As is well known, Greece is always the first nation to arrive at any Olympic Games ceremony, hallmarking the Ancient Greek creation of the sporting competition. However, it is also at the European Games where Greece enter the march of nations first. Their captain’s arrival led the 50 competing nations, closing with the host nation Belarus, into the national Olympic Stadium – also host to Dinamo Minsk’s football matches – to celebrate the closing of a very successful Games.
After 10 days of sporting competition, Belarus was only second to Russia in the medals table, so the mood in the stadium was one of a truly fantastic party. The Belarusian athletes did a lap of honour and received a thumbs up from President Lukashenko. Ukraine rounded off the podium, finishing third place on the medals table.
Thousands of volunteers were celebrated at the ceremony with 6,000 of the 8,000 which signed up taking part in the closing ceremony, soundtracked by Tony Muir – former singing of Iron Maiden – singing “We Are the Light” in thanking their hard work to make the Games such a success.
The head of a huge bison – a symbol of Belarus – was introduced to the continent in the opening ceremony. However, this time he was presented to the audience as a representative of modern Belarus, wishing luck upon a new generation of Belarusian people and talking of a more fashionable Minsk, a city of start-up businesses.
After celebrating this younger, fresher version of the city, the coaches who put so much effort into nurturing their athletes were celebrated with a performance of “Historyja majho žyccia” by NAVIBAND who, of course, finished 17th at the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 for Belarus.
Shuma, a popular electronic project which combines ancient pagan songs with electronic music, and Tesla Boy, an English-language Russian electro-pop group, rounded out the entertainment in the stadium before the Flame of Peace was extinguished and we said goodbye to another European Games.
The next edition will take place in Kraków in 2023 and perhaps we will see Cleo & Donatan or maybe even Roksana Węgiel feature in one of the ceremonies there!
What did you think of NAVIBAND’s performance? Who else would you like to have seen perform at the closing ceremony? Which Polish acts you would like to see perform in the ceremonies at Kraków 2023? Let us know on social media @ESCXTRA.