Stagehand Kevin Moorhouse, 44, swapped his native Wexford for Gothenburg in 1999 and has barely looked back since. He has worked on gigs for legends such as Paul McCartney, U2, and Bruce Springsteen before being asked to make the trip down to Skåne to work on Eurovision 2013.
“I’ve been working on concerts since 2000 but this is by far the largest I’ve ever been involved with. The crew has just 45 seconds between each act to set things up for the next performer so everything has to be precise,” Moorhouse tells The Local at Malmö Arena.
“I’ll be in constant radio communication with the lighting engineer. For me, a good show means nobody shouting in my ear.”
The Irishman took the plunge into Sweden 13 years ago and quickly settled into Gothenburg where he lives with his Swedish wife. His early lack of svenska didn’t matter a bit and he got his career break whilst working in a pub.
“I took a job working in an Irish bar which is what many expats do. Struck up a conversation with a regular customer, who asked if I wanted to help out on a Tina Turner concert, and it has since turned into a full-time career.
“Fortunately I love what I do, you wouldn’t work the hours involved if you didn’t,” says Moorhouse.
Being on the road has its perks as the stagehand gets free tickets to any concert he wishes to attend in his spare time. On occasion he even gets to party with the rockstars – not that he always recognizes them.
“A few years back I was working on a U2 gig and got talking to a few guys at the bar. I asked them if they were drivers and they said ‘no, we are are the band’. I told them ‘no, you’re not as I know what Bono looks like’ and they replied ‘we’re the support act, Snow Patrol’. I was a bit mortified,” recalls the 44-year old.
Gothenburg is very much home for Moorhouse where he is an established member of the Irish community. He is the President of the local gaelic football club and despite the odd bout of homesickness, he believes he made the right call in opting for Sweden.
“The standard of living over here is just so much higher. You follow the rules and you don’t get away with a lot.
“Ireland needs to learn from Sweden. We had a recession here but nobody even noticed as the government stepped in and took charge of the banks,” he says.
His advice for any other Irish expats who want to follow his lead is simple; “Knuckle down and take on a job even if it isn’t something you like. Find your Irish pub and make contacts,” he says.
“If you come here then it’s very hard to leave. If you do then you’ll probably come back.”
Eurovision is one of the highlights of Moorhouse’s long stage career. He will even miss his parents 50th wedding anniversary party due to his work commitments on the pop extravaganza.
“I left school at 15 and have been working ever since which isn’t a bad complaint. I’ve made a habit of being in the right place at the right time, it must be the luck of the Irish.”
“Once Eurovision ends we’ll be working 12-hour days to take the stage down. Then I head straight to Stockholm for a Bon Jovi concert followed by Pink,” he tells The Local.
“After that, I am taking a day off!”
Patrick Reilly is The Local’s Eurovision correspondent in Malmö. Tweet him questions if you like.