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Rock am Ring & Rock im Park 2013

satis&fy Serves Up Lighting and Sound at Rock am Ring and Rock im Park
The twin festivals Rock am Ring and Rock im Park are two summer dates die-hard rock fans would loathe to miss. Rock am Ring, which takes place in the Eifel region, and its sibling festival, Nuremberg’s Rock im Park, have also been fixtures on satis&fy’s touring calendar for years. While the production company has long provided audio support, this year marked its first opportunity to also furnish the main stage lighting.

Perennial crowd pleasers such as Thirty Seconds to Mars, Prodigy and Green Day were among the 85 bands that performed at the two festivals held from June 7th to the 9th. Powerful L’Acoustics K1 rigs were deployed at the Nürburgring and on Nuremberg’s Zeppellinfeld to provide the same muscular performance found in recent years, albeit on two very different grounds. “We tailored the sound design to the needs of the local promoter,” explains satis&fy project manager Holger Schader. The city of Nuremberg has a strict noise ordinance. Compliance is monitored during the event, so decibel levels have always been a much greater concern at Rock im Park than at the Nürburgring.

The venues’ dissimilar layouts and terrains also required different delay tower configurations. “The Park’s grounds are wider but not as deep. At the Ring, the field is more narrow but extends further out, dropping off at the rear,” says the project manager. This is why Arnd Wagner, an experienced sound designer and Rock am Ring veteran, deployed four pairs of delay towers. Johann Schreuder, the man whose mission was to work out the sound design and noise control concept for Rock im Park, went with five delay towers.

First time out for the Lighting crew
It took a huge crew of 60 technicians to provide simultaneous support for the Nurburgring and Nuremberg gigs. The contingents had to be strong, as it was the first time satis&fy was called upon to plan and provide all the lighting for the main stage. “This was something new for us; we had furnished both lighting and sound reinforcement in the past, but only for the club stages,” says Schader with a satisfied smile. His history of working the Rock am Ring festival dates back to the ‘80s. This time, though, the preparations for each act required unusual effort as the lighting rigs had to be reconfigured every night.

“All headliners appear with props and effects of their own. It was up to Festival Lighting Director Woody Wodzinski (MLK) to find ways to allow for reconfiguration and installation so all the changes could be incorporated in the festival’s overall set design—all while keeping the demands of sponsors and TV stations in consideration. Once all this has been taken into account, we enter the picture to provide technical support, cooperating closely to make sure we get every last detail right," says the project manager.

Long nights for the crew
The time constraints for the nightly transitions between headlining acts pushed the satis&fy crew to the limit—but none more so than the changeover from Prodigy to Green Day. “Shows at the Ring always run until after midnight, in some cases even beyond 1 a.m. With the morning deadline approaching, time was very tight for the team headed up by our Lighting crew chiefs Rouven Diedrich and Thomas Enderes. Prodigy’s lighting rig featured a very elaborate circular design, while the Berkeley-based rockers’ setup consisted of straight trusses,” says Schader.

satis&fy lighting technicians had to work double shifts until 6 and 8 a.m. to get the job done. The Park gig was no different. Even if most shows apart from the late-night special were over by 11 p.m., Holger Behr and Ulrich Klose’s crews still had to set the stage for the next day’s headliner.

Fresh reinforcements
This year six extra lighting technicians were brought on board for the first time to man the spotlights and facilitate communication between the ‘drivers’ and lighting operators—most of whom spoke English. “This was an idea that Klaus Kunzendorf, Head of Production at MLK, and Woody had come up with last year with a view to improving the quality of spotlight cues and providing some fresh reinforcements for the nightly reconfigurations and final disassembly. This way, we solved two problems at once,” says Schader, who has another interesting story to tell. As it transpires, the lighting console looked more like a full-blown FOH sound desk this year because of the number of acts who brought their own lighting boards. “In recent years, the headliner, co-headliner, and one or two other bands brought their own desks. This year, it was just the day’s opening act that had arrived without a desk of its own, which is why all the requirements for fiber optics, Artnet and the like were met by deploying mainly network technicians rather than classic FOH techs.” But it all worked out in the end—the tech’s performance was praised lavishly by all.

satis&fy is looking forward to another large challenge on the horizon—the 2013 Rock ‘n ’ Heim festival at the Hockenheimring. "Furthermore, we’re delighted with the renewed opportunity to support the Lieberberg agency’s 2014 festival events with our equipment," says Schader in closing.

Photo©: Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur, Rock am Ring.

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