Loveparade 2008

Berlin, Germany

Colosseum of light. A Love parade of superlatives – Gert Hof illuminates final rally with FALCON searchlights 

Drawing some 1.6 million ravers, this year’s Love Parade must count as the most successful ever. Joyful fans from all over the world lined the sealed-off Bundesstraße 1 in Dortmund as the strident, colourful, internationally-manned floats transformed the B1 in the Ruhr metropolis into the ‘Highway of Love’. The climax of the Love Parade 2008 was Gert Hof’s ‘Colosseum of Light – The Matrix of Love’, a fulminating lighting spectacular that turned the final rally, which this year for the first time lasted a full seven hours, into a mesmerizing display that the famous director and lighting architect created largely from high-powered searchlights from A&O Technology.

The Oyten-based lighting specialist supported Hof during the installation of some 50 FALCON® BEAM 7000W, 18 FALCON® BEAM 3000W and 20 SKY FALCON® ARC colour luminaires manufactured by alpha one. The ‘Colosseum of Light‘ was designed to evoke the architecture of the original Colosseum in Rome. Reaching upwards from a semicircle with a ground diameter of 50 metres, a six story ‘series of arcades’ created out of light tapered towards the sky. The most spectacular feature of this monument of light was – aside from the architecture – the interplay used to create it of almost 100 different lighting systems, the asymmetric alignment of which conjured into being a limitless architecture of light. A breathtaking four-dimensional widescreen tableau was created by the matrix and finishing touches added with urban lasers and architectural luminaires.

In the arcade system, the crew installed very bright xenon searchlights that boast a range of up to 50 km. A sixty-tonne telescope crane was used to position most of the lighting systems, which weigh up to 220 kg. Simply positioning and aiming these searchlights took an entire day during the setting-up phase and further day was needed at the end to take them down. The requisite electrical power came from four 350 kVA Aggreko power sets. The overall technical direction for this superlative production was provided by Gerd Helinski of Helicon Media.

In addition to the record number of visitors, 1.6 million as we’ve said from all over the world, the Dortmund Love Parade was televised not only in Germany but to a further 53 countries. A number of channels, such as RTL II and Viva, carried the spectacle live from beginning to end. Nor did the record-breaking end there:there was also the revolutionary streaming coverage, which racked up a massive 4.2 million hits on alone (this being the world’s largest streaming network). Most of the interest came from Germany, Japan and the USA. Another world’s first was the online coverage of the grandiose parade from ten different perspectives, allowing viewers a wide choice of camera angles. The vast international fraternity of techno fans turned the Highway of Love and its spectacular closing lightshow featuring FALCON® xenon searchlights into the “Wonder of Dortmund” – a city that will henceforth be regarded, by one fraternity at least, in a whole new light.


Dortmund, Germany




20 SKY FALCON ARC colour 


Gert Hof


A&O Lighting Technology Germany


Anja Pietsch, directed by Gert Hof
Photos from the construction:  A&O Technology

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