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Wembley Stadium: Drumming for the UEFA Champions League Final

Our second large scale stadium gig brought us to Wembley Stadium, where we performed in the Opening Ceremony of the UEFA Champions League Final 2013 between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in front of 90,000 fans.

With only five rehearsals, two of which in Wembley Stadium itself, we managed to pull off a quite complex action-packed seven-minute choreography.

The Opening Ceremony

The ceremony began with a video sequence that introduced a chess game in reference to the importance of strategy in a football match.

Dressing Room
When the knight was moved on the chess board, the scene cut to a live camera depicting Joey from the show War Horse, followed by a fanfare from the Band of the Life Guard's State Trumpeters, which marked the moment when the two German football legends Paul Breitner and Lars Ricken stepped on the pitch to continue the chess game with real troops on the pitch.

Then came our moment: The LCCM Beefeaters Drum Line was already on the pitch, led by flagbearers recruited from London 2012 Games Makers and other Ceremony Performers, and over 300 Pandemonium Drummers entered the field of play from all four corners, dressed as pawns and equipped with batons and shields in the colours of each of the two football teams.

Bayern Battlers
The shields were our instruments, freshly designed by the London 2012 Olympic drum co-ordinator Mike Dolbear, and they played an important part in the movement choreography.

The London Archers formed a neat line and fired two charges of ceremonial arrows, again in team colours, and then the drummers parted lines to allow knights in full chain mail and armour onto the field.

Dortmund Battlers
The knights were recruited from the Working Men and Women of 'our' Pandemonium sequence of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, and they fought a slow motion battle before kneeling around the centre circle to cheer on two giant gladiators in an individual sword battle, which of course ended in a tie with a handshake.

As soon as the knights left, the charge of the pawns followed: 300 screaming drummers clashed against each other, moved back and forth, and finally ended up peacefully in two rows around the centre circle, drumming a typical football rhythm on their shields.

A number of drummers ran to the side lines to unfurl two giant banners depicting oversized crests with the logos of both teams, while a group of youngsters opened a football banner in the centre circle.

Drummers with Hamish Jenkinson & Jonny Grant
Finally, Breitner and Ricken carried the cup into the stadium, and both teams entered the arena as the UEFA hymn was played.

The show was conceptualised and directed by Hamish Jenkinson, whom we already knew from the Old Vic Tunnels thanks to fellow Pandemonium Drummer Neil Goulder, and Jonny Grant.

The match ended 2-1 for Bayern Munich.

Among our ranks, we welcomed the new Honorary Pandemonium Drummer Stephen Sutton, who was diagnosed with incurable cancer, and drumming in front of a huge crowd was an item on his bucket list - please support Stephen by donating for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Media

See more backstage photos on Flickr, courtesy of our official photographer Vilma Laryea.
We compiled a YouTube playlist with footage from fans in the stadium.

While the ceremony was regarded as controversial in the press, many people seemed to genuinely enjoy it, as feedback on Twitter suggests:






So, that's Wembley done. More big gigs are already lined up!

Photo credits: Vilma Laryea

ABOUTPandemonium Drummers

The Pandemonium Drummers were originally put together by London 2012 Ceremonies for the Pandemonium segment of Danny Boyle's spectacular Olympic Opening Ceremony. Following the Ceremony, the volunteer drummers kept on performing at a variety of events.

Based on their extensive training, they performed at other Opening Ceremonies, including the UEFA Champions League Final 2013, the FA Cup Final 2014, and the Heineken Cup Final 2014, and at a variety of large and small festivals as well as sports and community events. The Pandemonium Drummers are a returning act in London's major parades, including the London New Years' Day Parade, St Patrick's Day Parade, and the Lord Mayor's Show, and they coined Cheer Drumming, supporting runners at major sports events across the capital and beyond. The Pandemonium Drummers have supported the Special Olympics, the Teenage Cancer Trust, and a wide range of other charities.

The Pandemonium Drummers are a constituted association with charitable aims, and are working on a non-profit basis as volunteers.

[ More about the Pandemonium Drummers ]

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