The Universal Forum of Cultures – Barcelona 2004 Opening Ceremonies

Barcelona 2004 is a multi-cultural event planned for the whole world to attend and learn. The Universal Forum of Cultures is not only a conference, but a celebration of cultures and diversity from around the world. The event will run from May 9 to 26 September, 2004.

The press office has just released ambitious plans for the opening and closing ceremonies, you may read their official press release below:


Project creator: Focus
Artistic Direction: Hansel Cereza / Alfons Flores
Duration: 27 minutes
Site: Sant Adrià Marina en Besòs/«Territori Fòrum»
Dates: Daily from May 9 to September 26


The opening ceremonies focus on the need for dialogue as a way of discovering paths that lead to peace, a metaphor for the values and objectives of the Universal Forum of Cultures – Barcelona 2004.

The ceremony begins with the appearance of 12 structures in the waters of the future Sant Adrià Marina in Besòs. The steel platforms come together in the middle of the waters, forming a sphere that will be 28 meters in diameter and create a symbolic world of conflict. Images reflecting the problems of the world will be projected onto the sphere: hunger, contamination, wars, etc.

Following the images, hundreds of chairs arising out of the water will surround the sphere and be occupied by people, symbolizing the need to sit down and talk, and to create a Forum, at which point the giant sphere begins a metamorphosis and the scenes of chaos and conflict vanish in sparks of color. Little by little, the great sphere opens and is transformed into a giant water lily.

The ceremonies will be reprised every afternoon throughout the 141 days of Forum Barcelona 2004. The start time will vary according to the amount of sunlight.

Project creators: Pirotècnia Igual and Groupe F
Artistic Direction: Christophe Berthonneau
Duration: 35 minutes
Site: The area between the Olympic Port and mouth of the Besòs River
Date: September 26


The closing ceremonies will consist of a folk festival with a large pyrotechnic show in celebration of the values of the Universal Forum of Cultures – Barcelona 2004.

An enormous ballet of stars will fill up the 3 kilometers of sky above the area between Barcelona’s Olympic Port and the mouth of the Besòs River. The event will begin with the launching of high powered fireworks from five large ships anchored in a semicircle just off the Barcelona coast.

Situated among the five large platforms, which symbolize the five major continents (with the Americas considered as a single continent), will be four bridges and sixty underwater launching points which, little by little, will complete the semicircle.

Then, dozens of boats of all sizes will move along the shoreline in a choreographed movement just before forming a giant red and yellow circle measuring 6 kilometers in diameter.

To make this elaborate show possible, 300 launching points will be set up on the rooftops of the area’s buildings. A total of 28 tons of fireworks will be used during the show.

A soundtrack has been created by musicians from every continent and will be played live during the pyrotechnic display.

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