Open-air festival with picnic hamper: N&M stages classical music event at Benrath Palace

Dusseldorf - 30th July 2015

In the middle of June, the organisers invited visitors to Dusseldorf to "Come and dream at romantic Benrath Palace". It was the 20th "Benrath Palace Music Festival" and to mark the anniversary Johann Strauss' Emperor Waltz and his overture to "The Bat" rang through the air just as they did at the first concert back in 1995. The programme also included: Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker", Handel's "Largo" and the barcarolle from Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffmann".

This year's open-air also marked an anniversary for Neumann&Müller Veranstaltungstechnik as the enterprise's branch office in Dusseldorf has provided technical service for this regular event right from the very beginning. In the meantime, the festival has a large following of loyal fans with 10,000 visitors converging on the palace gardens for this year's event. Only a small proportion of the audience prefers the seating area in front of the stage. Traditionally, a large majority seeks out one of the coveted places around the so-called Mirror Pond, where they sit with their hampers and, in many cases, decorate their blankets like stylishly set tables. The fountains captivate the audience with their colourful jets of water that dance in time to the music, and from here one has a perfect view of the magnificent fireworks finale.

The organiser, "Klassik Konzert Gesellschaft", engaged N&M to provide the sound and lighting as well as the infrastructure for the power supply. The company's brief also included planning a comprehensive safety concept. N&M project manager Thomas Oberthür and his team supported the client with professional advice to make sure that the conditions imposed by the building authority were incorporated into an appropriately designed safety concept. N&M also drew up the corresponding plans.

The concept included a redundant power supply provided by two aggregates at the side of the palace gardens. The cable was laid alongside the water axis of the Mirror Pond. The upper part next to the Palace itself was reliably supplied by its power connections. One hundred so-called path luminaires, which N&M stocks for just such occasions, were installed in the park itself for the 1.5 kilometres of precisely specified emergency escape routes. Besides the safety aspect, these luminaires also have another advantage: thanks to their design, the audience assumes that they belong to the park itself. The photoluminescent emergency escape route signs with the extra-long afterglow also come from N&M's inventory; they were produced for the organiser's castle events - besides Benrath there are also other concerts in the castle gardens at Nordkirchen (on 21st August 2015) and Merode (on 22nd August 2015), for which N&M also provides technical services.

A further challenge was to amplify the 45-man classical orchestra so that the members of the audience enjoyed a perfect auditory experience wherever they were seated in the palace gardens. Not an easy job when you consider that the sound had to be provided for an area around 800 meters long and up to 80 meters wide. Once again, the N&M technicians decided to use a redundant infrastructure for routing the signals of the two network protocols: a Dante network for sound, which also enabled central control of the delay times, as well as an MA2-Net for controlling the lighting.

The team of N&M technicians headed by Jonathan Kadler, who was the project's technical manager for lighting and power supply, focused on the illumination of Benrath Palace and its interior. A light installation also captured the romantic atmosphere in the palace gardens to the right and left of the Mirror Pond while simultaneously highlighting events on the water and around the palace. The deployment of innovative LED luminaires significantly reduced the energy requirement for the event.