Safe and sound
at Oktoberfest

Safety for large-scale events

Safety at large-scale events has become an increasingly important factor. Visitors must be able to party freely while still being able to clearly understand and act upon all relevant announcements and instructions, in any location.

A solid safety concept, along with an optimally functioning voice alarm system, is therefore a prerequisite: A system that, regardless of the size and architecture of the venue, allows for complete coverage. For this purpose, loudspeaker systems are required that can offer the appropriate directivity and reach. These systems must also guarantee first class levels of speech intelligibility – an essential element of any voice alarm – while remaining unobtrusive among market stalls or fairground booths, or in marquees or large halls. In other words: They must integrate seamlessly into the respective room- or event concept and still perform their duties reliably.

Safety for large-scale events

Safety at large-scale events has become an increasingly important factor. Visitors must be able to party freely while still being able to clearly understand and act upon all relevant announcements and instructions, in any location.

A solid safety concept, along with an optimally functioning voice alarm system, is therefore a prerequisite: A system that, regardless of the size and architecture of the venue, allows for complete coverage. For this purpose, loudspeaker systems are required that can offer the appropriate directivity and reach. These systems must also guarantee first class levels of speech intelligibility – an essential element of any voice alarm – while remaining unobtrusive among market stalls or fairground booths, or in marquees or large halls. In other words: They must integrate seamlessly into the respective room- or event concept and still perform their duties reliably.

The Oktoberfest 2017

When the world’s largest festival opens its doors, huge visitor numbers can be expected. In 2017, a total of around 6.2 million visitors partied on the 42-hectare Theresienwiese. To guarantee best possible safety measures for such a large number of people, the city of Munich commissioned a new, extended safety concept for the Oktoberfest. A public address system was requested that could work at an optimum level across all zones over the entire festival site.

Dipl.-Ing. Thomas zur Lage from LWPI was responsible for the conceptual, pre- and executive planning of the system, as well as for is eventual construction management. The engineering firm, based near Munich, has a great deal of experience in the planning of event technology and acoustics for public places and has realised many successful projects in this field. Following a Europe-wide tender, the contract for the technical implementation and equipment of the entire Oktoberfest site went to Wilhelm & Willhalm event technology (WWVT) from Aschheim near Munich. WWVT were also responsible for the workshop- and construction planning.

The Oktoberfest 2017

When the world’s largest festival opens its doors, huge visitor numbers can be expected. In 2017, a total of around 6.2 million visitors partied on the 42-hectare Theresienwiese. To guarantee best possible safety measures for such a large number of people, the city of Munich commissioned a new, extended safety concept for the Oktoberfest. A public address system was requested that could work at an optimum level across all zones over the entire festival site.

Dipl.-Ing. Thomas zur Lage from LWPI was responsible for the conceptual, pre- and executive planning of the system, as well as for is eventual construction management. The engineering firm, based near Munich, has a great deal of experience in the planning of event technology and acoustics for public places and has realised many successful projects in this field. Following a Europe-wide tender, the contract for the technical implementation and equipment of the entire Oktoberfest site went to Wilhelm & Willhalm event technology (WWVT) from Aschheim near Munich. WWVT were also responsible for the workshop- and construction planning.

The system

A complete system was to be installed, the only one of its kind worldwide, with a sophisticated, specially designed redundancy plus control and monitoring flexibility. The loudspeakers used in this installation would, thereby, have several requirements to fulfil: The systems would need to offer powerful sound coverage and excellent speech intelligibility – both at high levels and over long distances. For announcements, a more pleasant, natural sound was requested. The loudspeaker systems would also need to be lightweight – so conventional loudspeakers and line arrays were ruled out. All these requirements could however be met by Fohhn loudspeaker systems: They also proved free from defects during the TÜV inspection.

115 Linea LC-220 systems (low resistance version) were spread over the entire site. These slim line source systems have a high-quality, weather-resistant aluminium enclosure. Along the main route between the large festival marquees and other attractions, 16 Focus Modular stacks were installed (each consisting of an FM-400 low-mid module and an FM-110 high frequency module), fitted with sound permeable rain covers. These systems feature Fohhn Beam Steering Technology and can deliver an appropriately powerful performance in order to achieve optimum results even when there are high levels of background noise.

The fact that the new voice alarm system not only worked in theory but also in practice was demonstrated in its first “testing” situation: During a heavy storm where lightning struck one of the beer tents, no visitors were harmed – the loudspeaker systems were able to transmit all the important announcements both reliably and understandably.

The new safety concept proved extremely effective and met the city of Munich’s expectations, much to the satisfaction of all the companies involved in the project. The whole system now constitutes a successful model for voice alarm systems at other festivals and events of this size.

The system

A complete system was to be installed, the only one of its kind worldwide, with a sophisticated, specially designed redundancy plus control and monitoring flexibility. The loudspeakers used in this installation would, thereby, have several requirements to fulfil: The systems would need to offer powerful sound coverage and excellent speech intelligibility – both at high levels and over long distances. For announcements, a more pleasant, natural sound was requested. The loudspeaker systems would also need to be lightweight – so conventional loudspeakers and line arrays were ruled out. All these requirements could however be met by Fohhn loudspeaker systems: They also proved free from defects during the TÜV inspection.

115 Linea LC-220 systems (low resistance version) were spread over the entire site. These slim line source systems have a high-quality, weather-resistant aluminium enclosure. Along the main route between the large festival marquees and other attractions, 16 Focus Modular stacks were installed (each consisting of an FM-400 low-mid module and an FM-110 high frequency module), fitted with sound permeable rain covers. These systems feature Fohhn Beam Steering Technology and can deliver an appropriately powerful performance in order to achieve optimum results even when there are high levels of background noise.

The fact that the new voice alarm system not only worked in theory but also in practice was demonstrated in its first “testing” situation: During a heavy storm where lightning struck one of the beer tents, no visitors were harmed – the loudspeaker systems were able to transmit all the important announcements both reliably and understandably.

The new safety concept proved extremely effective and met the city of Munich’s expectations, much to the satisfaction of all the companies involved in the project. The whole system now constitutes a successful model for voice alarm systems at other festivals and events of this size.

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