Movecat Brings Kinetic Equipment to Waken Open Air Festival

Photo: Rolf Klatt

The 30th Wacken Open Air Festival took place in August on the outskirts of the usually tranquil village of Wacken. The cult band Slayer was making what was probably its last appearance. Over the four days of the festival, more than 200 bands spread between eleven stages entertained a total of 75,000 visitors, making this year’s WOA the biggest yet.

Once again this year, Movecat equipment supplied the stage kinetics. The special challenge here for the technical service provider, PRG Germany, was the stipulation that the stage kinetics of the two main stages be capable of operating not only individually but at times also in sync with one another. For the purpose, two systems each comprising twelve VMK-S 500-24 were used, controlled from the FOH position by an I-Motion Expert III system controller. An additional I-Motion Expert-T III was on hand as a backup. Christof Billens from Upsolution and Jan Bezusek were responsible for the actual operation of the equipment.

Each stage was additionally equipped with an I-Motion Basic-C II show controller to allow service and conversion work to be performed during the breaks. “Since from the FOH position the stage was concealed by a curtain, it was impossible to assign this work to the I-Motion Expert-T III, so the control had to come directly from the stage,” explained Christof Billens.

A total of 19 different scenic transformations were pre-programmed for the Movecat systems; from these, the designers of the various top acts were able to put together the choreography for their sets. The lighting technicians arrived early in the morning on the day of the performance and synchronized the light show in the course of the day using the transformations programmed for the onstage kinetic equipment.

During the Swedish power metal band Sabaton’s gig, both stages were operated in parallel. For this act, three further VMK-S 500-24 chain hoists were used to move a steel eagle weighing around 1.2 metric tons.

The I-Motion Expert-T III system controller represents the third generation of Movecat devices capable of controlling and monitoring up to 240 drives at fixed or variable speeds in a network. In its current implementation, the controller is equipped with a daylight-capable 24″ outdoor display combined with a PCAP outdoor multi-touch panel the same size.

The Basic-C II controllers that were installed on the WOA stages are suitable for up to 24 fixed or variable speed drives. In addition, mixed configurations of up to 24 D8, D8 Plus and C1 drives can be controlled and monitored simultaneously. The Show Controller is particularly recommended in combination with the MPC I-Series and V-Motion controllers for small to medium-sized kinetic BGV C1 and SIL 3 production requirements when it is sought to conduct the show using controlled vario drives in combination with a dynamic joystick. It is fully system- and software-compatible with the I-Motion Expert-T controllers and can also be used as a backup system.

Movecat’s VMK-S BGV C1, DIN 56950:2012-05 and EN 61508 SIL 3 chain hoists for the stage exemplify the finest German engineering, boasting innovative features and remarkably flexible handling as well as satisfying the highest safety requirements. The VMK-S 500-24 chain hoist moves loads of up to 500 kilograms at a hoisting speed of 24 metres per minute. The vertical distance covered by the lift can be as great as 30 metres in the standard installation position.

VMK-S hoists were equipped with two independent, low-noise, maintenance-free brakes with air gap monitoring, a real-time load measurement module integrated in the single-hole eyelet to determine the effective load and the resulting overload and underload values, and a thermal sensor that permanently monitors the engine operating temperature.

Planning for the coming year has already begun: the visual theme of the 31st Wacken Open Air from 30 July – 1 August 2020 will be the Mayan and Aztec cultures. It has already been announced that such greats of the scene as Sodom, Amon Amarth and Judas Priest will be appearing. In advance sales, the entire allocation of 75,000 tickets was sold out online within a mere 21 hours. And Movecat, once again, is sure to be making its contribution to this unique spectacle.