Kilchenmann once again proved its expertise in event technology at the YB championship celebration. Within a short time, more than 12 tonnes of lighting and audio technology were set up. Stephan Huber was in the thick of it as production manager.
Hail YB! BSC Young Boys won the championship title for the second time in a row. The performance of Kilchenmann's Event and Rental Service at the championship celebration in the Stade de Suisse was also masterful. Stephan Huber, Head of Technology and Logistics Event and Rental Service, was responsible for the strategic coordination and adaptation. In the interview, he explains how the schedule has to remain agile for an event of this size and what it means for the event technicians to offer the fans an unforgettable show.
- BSC Young Boys' championship celebration at the Stade de Suisse was a spectacle with 20,000 visitors. What part of the event do you remember most?
Major events like the two YB championship celebrations are always a highlight in themselves for us at Event and Rental Service. The dimensions of the event technology are immense. On top of that, there's the tight schedule. This year, for example, I was quite nervous when there was no stage in the stadium at 6 a.m. and the celebrations were to begin at 3 p.m. the same day. Of course, thanks to our many years of experience, we were able to stay calm in such situations and still get started on time in the end.
- The Kilchenmann team showed full commitment. When the going gets tough, a major event like this can be coordinated and organised in just 8 days. What is important in managing such a feat of strength?
Such a tight schedule is of course a big challenge - but not one that gives us sleepless nights. In addition to our know-how, we are fortunate to have access to a strong network. This means that freelancers can be called upon within a short time if necessary. But we can also count on fruitful cooperation within the industry. For example, if there is a shortage of a stage element in the stadium at short notice, a phone call is often enough. One partner even delivered the additional stage elements directly to the stadium on a Sunday morning.
- On the eve of the championship celebration there was a football match, so there wasn't much time for the set-up. How did Kilchenmann's team perform under these conditions?
That's right, there were only 20 hours between the starting signal for the construction and the lights going out in the stadium. At 11 p.m. the night before, the stadium was empty. Then everything was dismantled and steel plates were laid so that our trucks could drive in. At 6:30am the stage was delivered and we knew that everything had to be ready for the sound check at 1pm. In addition to the football match, we were on duty as event and rental service for the Swiss Economic Forum in Interlaken until the evening before the championship celebration. A large part of the event technology material was there and had to be checked and completely transported to Bern for the championship celebration immediately after dismantling.
That everything went so smoothly was only possible thanks to meticulous preparation. As production manager, I was already familiar with the conditions on site and I knew that we would not have time for any additional deliveries. That's why I drew up a detailed plan down to the last detail. Each team leader received a briefing for his area and his crew with precise records. So everyone knew what was to be set up where and how. An informative labelling of the material boxes ensured additional efficiency. I was the central contact person for any questions. I had a folder with the detailed conception with me and could thus keep the threads together.
- The light show was breathtaking, the speech intelligibility of the audio quality captivating. What technical equipment was used? How can you imagine the dimensions?
This year, the stadium was played across for the championship celebration, which meant that 220° sound reinforcement had to be guaranteed. Over 12 tonnes of event technology was used for this. Broken down into individual figures, this includes DiGiCo SD11, SD8, SD12, Shure Axient D and GrandMA II, around 80 spotlights, 90 loudspeakers and approx. 8,000 metres of laid cable. Each loudspeaker had its own amplifier channel (d&b, array processing), as a more homogeneous sound system ensures optimal speech intelligibility. After all, such an event is less about the sound pressure of the music and more about introducing and celebrating the team.
- Were there any special challenges with this event with its high media impact, also compared to other events?
The YB championship celebration is a very emotional event. Therefore, a lot of flexibility is required on our part. You have to imagine it: The football players come on stage, fuelled by the cheering fans, euphoric because of the title they have won. This celebratory mood holds the potential for mistakes. It can happen that one player suddenly wants to say something into the microphone, but the other needs 5 minutes less for his speech. Here it is important that the Kilchenmann crew adjusts to these emotions and acts competently and flexibly, so that the band is also ready when the speech takes less time. At this year's master party, the schedule was already overturned after 5 minutes. An exciting contrast when you think of the SEF, where everything is timed almost to the second.
- There was no sign of any short-term changes on the outside. A real masterpiece! But hand on heart, isn't the nervousness a bit higher than at another event?
It is certainly the case that the pressure at such an event is somewhat greater than usual. When you know that it's going to be full and the media are going to report on it, you think twice about whether everything is going to work and whether you've done the electricity calculations correctly. Nothing must go wrong, otherwise the whole of Switzerland will know the next day. But basically it doesn't matter so much whether there are 48,000 or 30 people. For us it is important that our clients' message reaches the audience audiovisually. That is the focus. We know that our employees are experts in their field. During the one-month lead time, I was able to carefully assemble a top team of freelancers who work quickly and cleanly, think along with us and keep calm in hectic situations.
- In youropinion, are these the greatest strengths of Kilchenmann's event and rental technology team?
Yes, in addition to many years of relevant experience, our team is definitely distinguished by its coolness in hectic situations. They remain calm, decent and of course competent, even in stressful situations. For us, this is everyday life. Many of our clients, however, only manage one such event a year and are correspondingly hypernervous. Our strength is to radiate calm and professionalism. One of the ways we achieve this is through proportionate detailed planning. In addition, as I mentioned, we have a large network in the field of event technology that we can call on at any time.
- Kilchenmann actively supported the championship celebration in 2018 and again this year. Does a certain routine develop over time?
Routine is perhaps the wrong word here, because there is no such thing in our job. Every event is different and we have to act according to the situation. That's what's so exciting, that you always have new surprises. Of course, we can draw on a wealth of experience, from which our clients also benefit. But at the same time, we are nervous again at every event, even if you don't see it on our faces. I am of the opinion that a certain basic nervousness is part of it, and is even healthy.
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