Riedel provides comms kit for world’s largest metal festival

A comprehensive communications solution built on Riedel’s MediorNet real-time media network and Artist digital matrix intercom system was deployed at the 2015 Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany this summer.

The manufacturer’s equipment provided the fibre backbone and communications infrastructure necessary to support security, radio communications, and AV transport throughout the expansive festival site.

"The signal network backbone that Riedel provided in 2015 for the 26th anniversary of the Wacken Open Air festival ensured a safe and unforgettable experience for 90,000 metalheads enjoying the show," said Holger Hübner one of the founders and organizers of the festival. "We’ve been well-satisfied with Riedel’s state-of-the-art equipment and highly competent crew, and we look forward to rocking on with Riedel into the future."

Every year, prior to the event, the small town of Wacken transforms into a festival venue with multiple stages and the infrastructure required to handle thousands of heavy metal fans. The communications system supplied by Riedel since 2000 plays a key role not only in supporting audio and video distribution during the four-day event, but also in ensuring the safety of all guests.

For the 2015 festival, two MetroN core routers with a total routing capacity of 2 x 640 Gb provided the heart of the MediorNet installation, adding further flexibility to the installation and providing redundancy for the overall security concept. With its 10-Gb links, the MetroN system supported the interfacing of two MediorNet rings and, in turn, the transport of multiple HD-SDI signals – from the stages to the production compound and back to multiple screens – and several separate IP networks and audio streams.

A Riedel Artist intercom panel and line level audio at each stage allowed security to talk directly to each PA mixer to instruct the band to stop playing for an emergency announcement, such as a weather warning. Voice announcements could then be routed through the PA systems and any other information displayed on screen.

Riedel also supplied nearly 700 TETRA radios to ensure that security staff and stewards maintained clear communications throughout Wacken and the festival grounds. The radios were interfaced directly with the Artist system. Because the mobile radios of the security vehicles patrolling the vast campsites were GPS-enabled, organisers were able to determine the user’s location immediately in the event of a problem or emergency.

"Wacken is a truly spectacular event, and we’ve been privileged to be part of this immense show since 2005," said Simon Korzen, project manager at Riedel Communications. "It was a great pleasure and great fun to provide the Wacken organizers with a flexible, reliable solution that met their requirements for onsite media, infotainment, and a sophisticated security concept, in turn helping to make this year’s festival a huge success for everyone involved."