Type of event and stats

  • Solidarity games
  • 21,528 man hours

Event overview

Showforce was delighted to win the contract to provide specialist crew to assist AISCOG (Azerbaijan Islamic Solidarity Games Operations Committee) with the delivery of the 2017 Islamic Games opening and closing ceremonies.

In addition to providing crew, Showforce was also responsible for assisting AISCOG’s production personnel with arranging visas, travel arrangements and accommodation etc. Chris Martelly, Showforce’s global operations director, flew to Baku ahead of the project to research the area and put a plan in place.

Everyone working on the event required a formal invitation from the AISGOC so allocating the correct crew initially was essential to its success. Once selected, Showforce’s internal operations team ensured that all crew members had the appropriate visas, flight and transfer documents and accommodation, along with correct accreditation and payroll provisions that were required. Not having all the valid documentation in place would have proved costly, so it was vital everything was in arranged before the team travelled to Baku.

Overview/brief of Showforce’s involvement

The specialist crew members were carefully selected by Showforce, not only for their skill sets and experience, but also their professionalism and ability to respect the culture and traditions of Azerbaijan. Several of the crew members spoke Russian to assist with the language barrier. In addition, Showforce provided AISCOG with an onsite project manager, based in Baku for the duration of the project, providing administrative and payroll support to crew members and production personnel.


Two of the four international crew chiefs assigned to the Islamic Games flew out to Baku early to assist with the infrastructure layout and preparing rehearsal spaces, this included siting portacabins and generators. Once the remaining crew chiefs and 34 strong crew joined them, they were divided into teams based on their skills sets. Showforce was tasked with providing crewing support to key suppliers, as well as running the local crews who were assigned to each of these departments. These included: Unusual – rigging; PRG – lighting; Agora – sound and PA equipment; Stage One – stage construction; Show Canada – screen build; ACT of Australia – flames; SFX – special effects for the show and Riedel – communications.

Once the build was complete, the Showforce crew was allocated specific roles within the show and rehearsals began. This included operating stage doors, looking after the substage area, managing the movements of props on and off the field, from horse ramps and special effects to a human Catherine wheel! Showforce also supplied highly experienced follow spot operators, who were responsible for operating brand new, remote controlled follow spots, the technology had never been used on a show of this scale before.

Once the opening and closing ceremonies were successfully delivered, the Showforce team began the huge process of derigging and packing away of all the equipment and props. An additional 10 climbers were supplied to assist with the de-rig of the large screens.

The job took an astonishing three and a half months to complete, with the crew amassing 1,794-man days and an even more impressive 21,528 hours.