5 Nov 2018

Wacken Rocks With Riedel


Wacken Rocks With Riedel

When tens of thousands of heavy metal fans descend upon the small town of Wacken, Germany, for the Wacken Open Air festival held at the height of summer every year, organisers are ready, having deployed a comprehensive communications solution built on Riedel Communications’ MediorNet real-time media network and Artist digital matrix intercom system.

The Riedel equipment provides the fiber backbone and communications infrastructure necessary to support security, radio communications, and audio and video transport throughout the expansive festival site.

“The world rocks with Wacken, and Wacken rocks with Riedel,” said Holger Hübner one of the founders and organizers of the Wacken Open Air festival. “The signal network backbone that Riedel has been providing since 2000 for the Wacken Open Air festival ensures a safe and unforgettable experience for the 90,000 metalheads enjoying the show. 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.”

Each summer, prior to Wacken Open Air, the small town of Wacken transforms into a festival venue with multiple stages, fields in which festivalgoers can camp, and the infrastructure required to handle thousands of fans.


The communications system supplied by Riedel for 18 years plays a key role not only in supporting audio and video distribution during the four-day event, but also in enabling festival organisers to ensure the safety of each and every guest. Two MetroN core routers with a huge total routing capacity of 2 x 640 Gb provides the heart of the MediorNet installation, adding flexibility and providing redundancy for the overall security concept.

With its 10-Gb links, the MetroN system supports 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.

Riedel’s new Bolero wireless communications system is deployed throughout the festival site providing staff with clear, full-duplex comms wherever they roam. Each of the nine stages at Wacken Open Air has
a large video wall, and a further five freestanding video walls are scattered throughout the grounds.

Bolero and Bolero Antenna

Video from each stage is sent back to the operations centre via the MediorNet network so that any video can then be displayed on any screen as “infotainment” for guests. A Riedel Artist intercom panel and line level audio at each stage allows security to talk directly to each PA mixer to instruct the band to stop playing for an emergency announcement, such as a weather warnings.

Voice announcements could then be routed through the PA systems and any other information displayed on screen.

Thirty remotely controlled IP-based cameras are installed throughout the grounds for security surveillance. Data transported to and from these cameras is delivered to the Wacken Open Air Security Centre through the Riedel MediorNet fiber backbone.

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

For fast and trouble-free accreditation of the hundreds of working crew members, the organisers arranged a check-in location at the very border of Wacken.

To welcome the team members with the right spirit and keep the local staff connected to the live event, Riedel deploys the company’s STX-200 broadcast-grade professional interface. Capable of bringing any Skype user anywhere into the professional broadcast environment, the STX-200 is used to transfer live feeds from the stages into the check-in via the available public Internet connection and to facilitate a Skype connection between the production compound and the staff check-in area.

“Wacken is a truly spectacular event, and we’ve been privileged to be part of this immense show for the past 18 years,” said Simon Korzen, project manager at Riedel Communications.

“It is a great pleasure and great fun to provide the Wacken organisers with a flexible, reliable solution that meets their requirements for onsite media, infotainment, and a sophisticated security concept, in turn helping to make the festival a huge success for everyone involved.”


This article first appeared in the November 2018 edition of CX Magazine – in print and online. CX Magazine is Australia and New Zealand’s only publication dedicated to entertainment technology news and issues. Read all editions for free or search our archive
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