BONN More than 120,000 visitors are expected for the Rhine in Flames event. The programme from 3 to 5 May has been finalised. This time the route of the ship convoy will be extended in a southerly direction to Bad Hönningen.
A longer route, a bigger firework display and hopefully a record number of visitors, which will once again top that of previous years: under the motto “Freedom – break down walls, overcome borders”, hundreds of thousands of visitors and residents along the Rhine between Bonn and Bad Hönningen will celebrate “Rhine in Flames” again on the first weekend of May.
“We want to use this motto highlight the many anniversaries that occur this year”, explained Udo Schäfer, Managing Director of Tourismus & Congress GmbH Bonn/Rhein-Sieg/Ahrweiler, when he presented the programme of the traditional event on Tuesday. “70 years of having a Constitution, 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, 50 years since the moon landing – all these events will be reflected in the music and choreography. We will not only provide good entertainment, but certainly also goose bumps for the visitors.”
1,000-year anniversary of Bad Hönningen
On the occasion of the town anniversary of Bad Hönningen (1,000 years), the route of the convoy has been extended this time in a southerly direction to the spa town. Forty-two colourfully decorated ships with about 12,000 guests on board will sail past Linz, Remagen, Unkel, Bad Honnef and Königswinter to Bonn. Five high-altitude fireworks and more than 700 red “Bengallicht” fireworks will light up the route. All along the shore there will be celebrations with varied music and entertainment programmes. The biggest event will again take place in the Rheinaue, where the grand firework finale synchronised to music will be ignited at 11.25 pm. “The reliable commitment of our main sponsors Sparkasse, Deutsche Post and Stadtwerke, the energetic commitment of our partners and the many volunteers, have made Rhine in Flames a successful festival since 1986”, said Schäfer. This time the organisers expect more than 120,000 visitors from 3 to 5 May.
Oldies, rock, pop, techno or electro – the three main stages will offer music for every taste. The highlight will certainly be the performances of Bläck Fööss, Kasalla, Miljö and Klüngelköpp on Saturday (see programme).
25,000 single fireworks
A world record will probably also be set. Jürgen Harder, who is responsible for the music programme, is confident that “we will have the biggest sing-along concert of all time”. On Saturday, Björn Heuser will set the pace and hopefully conduct 100,000 singers. What will be sung? “Nothing will be revealed yet, but on the Rhine we can’t refrain from singing 'Heidewitzka, Herr Kapitän'”, says Heuser laughing.
The theme of freedom will also be incorporated into the firework finale. More than 25,000 individual fireworks will be set-off in time to the music. Between the fireworks, the conversation between a grandfather with his grandson will be inserted. The dubbed voice of Bruce Willis in German speak will speak the passages by the grandfather. The light spectacle will be accompanied by music such as “Freedom” by Marius Müller-Westernhagen and “Beyond the Horizon” by Udo Lindenberg.
For the first time there will be an event app for Rhine in Flames, which will allow information to be accessed about the stage programme, site plan, locations of the first-aid stations, toilets and access points. The free app will soon be available for IOS and Android systems.
About 800 volunteers will ensure that everything runs smoothly. One thing Schäfer hasn’t got under control despite all the preparation is the weather. “But that will play along”, he says optimistically.
Tickets for the boat trips are available at www.rhein-in-flammen.com.
(Original text Gabriele Immenkeppel; translation John Chandler)