Europalco enables 1.5 million to witness the Pope at World Youth Day 2023

EUROPALCO, the largest provider of solutions for events and shows in Southern Europe, played a crucial role in ensuring that the audio and video at World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal, were perfect. A massive 1.5 million people attended the event at a vast 30-hectare venue in the centre of Lisbon. They all got to enjoy an amazing view of the main stage, thanks to 60 fantastic LED screens.

World Youth Day (WYD) is the largest youth gathering since 1985, bringing together youth from around the globe every few years for music, celebration and joyful activities at the Pope’s invitation.

The Portuguese company ensured the sound and visuals were great at the event’s principal meeting place, ‘Colina do Encontro’. This place had a 40-meter-wide and 24-meter-high stage covering 430 square meters. It was designed by architect João Matos in the middle of Parque Eduardo VII, a large park in Lisbon. Everything that happened on that stage was shown perfectly on screens throughout the entire 30-hectare venue in the heart of Lisbon.

Europalco created a unique system for the WYD event to smoothly send video and audio signals to each tower. They used many fibre-optic connections that reached up to 5 kilometres. All of this was managed from the master control room. They successfully sent signals to 25 critical points with PA systems and LedWall displays and managed stage and backstage monitoring.

Nélio Lima, the technical director at Europalco, explained their careful process, ‘We made sure that each signal we sent had both video and audio, perfectly synchronized. We changed these signals into a fibre-optic format for sending. When the fibre signal reached each tower, we turned it back into a video signal and sent out the audio.’ Lima added, ‘In the Master Control Room, we got many audio channels, so the sound operator could control each point separately. We mixed these audio channels with the matching video signals and sent them where they needed to go.

Due to long distances, the engineering team’s main focus was to add a delay to the video signals. This ensured the audio stayed perfectly synchronized with the nearest screen, giving the audience a seamless experience. The master control room sent out signals with the necessary delays.

Additionally, Europalco had a system in place for emergencies. They could send specific audio and video messages to different zones. This way, they could issue evacuation warnings for one area without affecting the rest of the venue.

Europalco managed everything shown on the event’s screens, including videos, camera feeds, sign language, and hand choruses. They handled sign language interpretation at the media centre and sent the signal to the Master Control Room using fibre optics.

Nelio Lima elaborated, “Our responsibilities extended to managing the event’s intercom system, covering the entire stage area, backstage, and even a secondary stage about 500 meters from the main stage. We achieved this coverage by deploying wireless stations, complemented by strategically positioned fixed stations in crucial areas such as sound (front and monitors), lighting, video, production, the master control room, and interfacing with the host broadcaster’s vehicle.”

The Portuguese event provider had the additional responsibility of installing and running all the lighting systems under the lighting design, which involved illuminating the entire altar palace and its surroundings in Campo da Graça within Parque Tejo, a venue hosting several pivotal events where young people met Pope Francis.

At this other venue, Europalco oversaw the management of all content and sources integrated into the screens at the event; this encompassed various elements such as video content, camera signals, sign language interpretation, and hand choirs.

Pedro Magalhaes, the founder and CEO of Europalco, shared his pride in being part of this important event that means so much to many people. He also expressed how satisfied the company is with the success of WYD 2023.