The Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games took place in a packed Celtic Park in Glasgow, the host city for the XX Commonwealth Games. Broadcast to over a billion viewers worldwide and to a stadium audience of 40,000, the ceremony welcomed and introduced the 4,500 athletes that will be competing this summer.
The night began with a comical opening that involved Scottish comedienne Karen Dunbar and actor John Barrowman. Telling the crowd that Scotland is a nation of "inventors and poets and dreamers, we're enlightened, creative and fun."
Rock icon Rod Stewart then joined Amy McDonald in song as the sun set on Celtic Park, before former Britain’s Got Talent star Susan Boyle’s rendition of ‘Mull Of Kintyre’ alongside the pipes and drums of the Scottish Regiment tapped into the musical roots of Scotland.
The Red Arrows then flew in red, white and blue over the stadium before her majesty the Queen arrived in a chauffeur-driven Bentley with the Duke of Edinburgh by her side.
Robert Lovie then gave the crowd a fantastic rendition of the national anthem of the Commonwealth; God Save the Queen.
The procession of the athletes were each led out by a flag bearer and in another comedic twist, Scottish Terriers with Mackintosh script printed upon their backs for each nation and territory.
Rod Stewart then made his second appearance of the night with “Can’t Stop Me Now, The World Is Waiting”. A sea-plane then brought broadcaster Mark Beaumont up the Clyde-side and he continued the baton’s adventure through the host city to Celtic Park, ending an incredible 288 day journey.
The baton visited 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth and covered over 190,00 kilometres of air, land and sea.
The Ceremony which featured more than 1,300 volunteer cast members, ranging from eight to 85 years old and representing every local authority in Scotland, was inspired by a desire to put people and communities at the heart of the Ceremony.
The International Space Station then via satellite link had a special message for the Commonwealth Games and it’s people all the way from 260 miles above the Earth. Saying “We are wishing a great Commonwealth Games and the best of competition”.
Nicola Benedetti ushered in the ceremonial flag of the Commonwealth Games Federation, playing the violin to the tune of the “Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”.
Billy Connelly then spoke of Glasgow’s history with Commonwealth nation South Africa and the host cities role as the first nation to openly oppose apartheid and support Nelson Mandela. Glasgow named a part of the city, Nelson Mandela Place after the iconic South African leader and this would be the first Commonwealth Game since his death.
The Commonwealth Oath followed, declaring the Games a fair and competitive calendar of sporting events.
The First Minister Alex Salmond then took the podium in remembrance of those who had died in the recent Malaysian airline tragedy. Councillor Gordon Matheson and Leader of Glasgow City Council welcomed the people of the Commonwealth to the host city and resounded; “let Glasgow flourish and bring it on!”
Prince Imran President of the Commonwealth Games association introduced her majesty the Queen and the Queen’s baton. The baton was carried by young Jamaican Jenika Stirling, before being passed on to a procession of Commonwealth Games volunteers.
Sir Chris Hoy held the baton before it was taken by the six-time Olympic champion to be placed by Prince Imran on the podium and the message revealed. In a resplendent Celtic Park and to rapturous applause her Majesty the Queen opened the sealed message that had initially been placed inside the baton last year when it has set out upon it’s journey.
Her majesty the Queen then read: “The baton relay represents a calling together for everyone in the Commonwealth. The baton has arrived in Glasgow, a city renowned the warmth of it’s people and as the host for the “Friendly Games. I now declare the 20th Commonwealth Games open”.
Glasgow band Primal Scream’s “Moving On Up” then resounded around Celtic Park to a spectacular fireworks display right across the host city Glasgow.
Tickets are still available for the XX Commonwealth Games and Closing Ceremony. Buy your tickets now!