City Set for Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony!

The Queen will formally open the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later, in front of a 40,000 crowd at Celtic Park.

Organisers said a global TV audience of up to a billion people was expected to watch the event from 21:00 BST.

More than 4,500 athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and territories will parade during the curtain-raiser.

About 2,000 cast members will perform in a ceremony that organisers have promised “will surprise, delight and be uniquely Glaswegian and Scottish”.

The Games will feature 17 sports in 11 days of competition, which begins on Thursday. The closing ceremony takes place at Hampden Stadium, which has been transformed into an athletics venue, on 3 August.

The opening ceremony will feature a parade around Celtic Park by thousands of athletes taking part in the Games.

The journey from their accommodation, at the Athlete’s Village in Dalmarnock, close to Celtic Park, is expected to take about one hour.

India, as the previous host, will lead the parade, which will end with the current host, Team Scotland.

Teams will parade by region. At the start of each region the crowd will be shown video of some of the work that Unicef is doing in that part of the Commonwealth.

At the end of the parade, athletes and team officials will be seated on the field of play, in the centre of the show.

The centrepiece of the opening ceremony will be a live show consisting of about 2,000 people.

Just over 1,600 will take part in the stadium with the other 400 having been involved in making pre-filmed content.

The content of the show is secret but head of ceremonies and artistic director David Zolkwer promised it would have a distinct theme.

“Our goal has always been to have the people of Glasgow and Scotland take centre-stage, for them to speak and sing and dance for themselves,” he said.

“So, on the night our audience will witness thousands of real people doing extraordinary things – and in the process I know our volunteer cast performers will do themselves, the city and Scotland proud.”

Celtic Park, home of Scottish Premier League champions Celtic, has been dramatically transformed for the opening ceremony.

Europe’s largest LED screen has been installed, along with a specially-created stage floor covering the entire pitch, including a walkway specifically designed for the athlete’s parade.

The giant screen, which stands across the whole of the South Stand, is almost 100 metres long, 11 metres high and weighs 38 tonnes.

The man charged with delivering the Games, David Grevemberg, chief executive of organiser Glasgow 2014, said the screen would help deliver a “magical” experience.

“It’s going to act as our window to the Commonwealth,” he said.

“I can guarantee you are going to see a lot of colour, imagery and light coming from this.”

The screen will show the Queen formally open the Games when she reads out the message that has been hidden inside the baton.