Havana Brown headlines Asian Cup opening ceremony

Asian Cup organisers have revealed details of the Asian Cup opening ceremony with chart-topping Australian singer Havana Brown, pop band Sheppard and more than 200 junior footballers, dancers and professional performers set to kick off the biggest football tournament ever to hit Australian shores.

Organisers are hoping to cram all the glitz of an Olympic-style spectacle into just 11-minutes.

The action-packed ceremony focusing on Australian culture will be the launch-pad for the Socceroos’ AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 campaign as they face Kuwait in the tournament opener at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

The Socceroos will kick off a 23-day festival of football featuring 32 games between the top 16 football nations in Asia across five Australian cities - Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle – in a tournament with an expected worldwide television audience of 800 million.

LOC Asian Cup Chief Executive Officer Michael Brown said: “This will be a memorable and dynamic Opening Ceremony the likes of which we have not seen in Australia.

“It will have all the grandeur and excitement of an Olympic Ceremony packed into 11 minutes and all this just before the exciting opening match of the Asian Cup between Australia and Kuwait.”

Under the direction of Melbourne’s Malaysian-born Chong Lim, currently working as Musical Director of “Dancing with the Stars”, the Opening Ceremony will showcase Australian music, costume and dance and celebrate the country’s diverse lifestyle, backgrounds and tastes and passion for football.

The headline acts, Melbourne-born Havana Brown who is currently in Los Angeles and Brisbane band Sheppard, have enjoyed recent success.

Sheppard’s hit song “Geronimo” has charted in the top 10 in several Asian markets and Brown recently hit number one on the US Dance Charts (Billboard) with her song “Warrior”.

The ceremony will also feature 80 children from local junior football clubs and a performing cast of more than 120 talented Australian dancers, acrobats, Indigenous performers and football tricksters.   

A unique acknowledgement of country has been created in co-operation with the Indigenous peoples of the Melbourne area and featuring the stirring vocals from Australian Indigenous performer Geoffrey Gurrumul, who recently performed a private concert for the world’s leaders at the G20 in Brisbane.