Frogner Park prepares for party

August 24, 2005, 01:30 CEST

The countdown has started for Saturday's big Hydro celebration at Frogner Park in Oslo. Some 25 semi-truck trailer loads of stage equipment and a huge Hydro tent are helping prepare the park for the party.

The enormous tent to house festive Hydro employees is in place, and the huge stage, where a-ha, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, RAVI & DJ Løv and Girl Happy will perform, looms in the north end of the park. Giant posters with Capturing Hydro photos taken by Damian Heinisch flank the grassy lawns adjacent the stage.

"There's a lot of logistics involved to stay in control of such a large event. We've received eight trailer loads of equipment alone for the stage, which is from Belgium. There's about 100 of us working to get all the equipment set up," says producer Håvard Jonset from Gyro Event, in between mobile phone calls, instructions barked on a walkie-talkie and constant questions from stagehands.

Jonset has the help of Chris Vaughan, a producer of the Live 8 concert in London on July 2. The technical planning and coordination of the many preparations are - in other words - in the best of hands.

While stagehands lay cable, set up speakers and hoist spotlights, the Oslo Fire Department is busy filling ballast tanks full of thousands of liters of water to stabilize the four towers from which huge screens, speakers and lighting equipment will hang.

In front of the stage, a Norwegian national news crew is interviewing Hydro's Hanne Haugen, in charge of the Centennial Office, and information manager Inger Sethov about the Centennial celebration. They both ensure that all party preparations are on target.

For those who will attend, it's now only a matter of crossing fingers for good weather. On Wednesday, the meteorological service predicted extended sunny periods and occasional rain showers.

If there is rain, remember that umbrellas are prohibited in front of the stage during the concerts. It is suggested concert-goers bring a light rain jacket - at least worth sitting on if no rain falls.