19 days to go
The Eiffel Tower is going to be at the CHIO in Aachen
Soon. Very soon. That is when Germany’s largest sports event, which many people claim is the best of all, begins: The CHIO Aachen. We visited the Soers to take a look behind the scenes.
19. That was the figure flashing up on the big countdown display on Krefelder Straße on June 23rd. “No,” the CHIO Aachen Show Director, Frank Kemperman, grinned, the countdown doesn’t unsettle him. The reason is simple: Kemperman – the Dutchman, who lives in Lanaken in Belgium – tends to take the Hubert-Wienen-Straße when he exits the motorway, “then I don’t see the countdown.”
But Kemperman doesn’t just stay cool because he ignores the display, it is also because he knows he can rely on his good team. He regularly has meetings with his employees so that they can update each other. “In this way, all of the departments know what the others are currently doing,” explained Kemperman. For Bettina von Fallois from the Sports Department, the rehearsals for the “Horse & Symphony” concert are presently the main item on the agenda. The joint project with the Aachen Symphony Orchestra is planned at the Soers and is coordinated by von Fallois. She reported that the best moment every year is just before it kicks off. Whereby it is a very thrilling stage now too: Are the rehearsals going as planned? Do the show performances look as good as anticipated? Does the music match? “These are exciting days at the moment,” she said and dared to predict: “The Show is going to be fantastic this year.” Friday, July 12th and Saturday, July 13th are the venue dates – tickets are still available for the Friday.
For her boss, Birgit Rosenberg, Director of the Sports Department, CHIO Aachen is always divided into two parts: Before and after the Opening Ceremony,” she laughs. Up until late in the evening on Tuesday, everything focuses on the Opening Ceremony, which has long since been an accurately choreographed live pageant, which is broadcast live on TV from 8.15 p.m. onwards. Afterwards, the focus is one hundred percent on the sport, at the moment it is around fifty-fifty.
Good preparations are also elementary for Nora David: The Director of the Security Services at the CHIO Aachen invited the security team to a training session just last weekend: Extinguishing fires, recognising danger, but above all: Being friendly and relaxed. “Our security officers are our calling card,” said Nora David.
The assembly work for the show already started at the beginning of the month, six weeks before the first horse reaches the grounds. “We are completely on schedule,” said Ulrich Fischer from Aachener Reitturnier GmbH (ART). He is responsible for the construction of the CHIO Village, the tent city comprising of the characteristic, white pagoda tents. These are currently springing up all over the grounds, in particular the two-storey “Champions’ Circle” is already almost complete. This year, Fischer’s special attention lies on the area between the Driving Stadium and Soerser Weg: This is where “Rue France” is going to be located, an area spanning around 500 square metres, where the official partner country of the CHIO Aachen will present itself. The focal point: A 15-meter high replica of the Eiffel Tower. “France will entertain the CHIO visitors wonderfully,” Fischer is convinced.
Because that is predominantly what Aachen epitomises: A festival for the public, a folk festival with a spectacular supporting programme, with shows and concerts, with a child-minding service in the scope of the “CHIO Aachen ROBY CLUB” and a diversified stage programme. And in between all of this, the “CHIO Aachen Village” and its over 200 tents and various restaurants invite the guests to shop and spend time.
Everything kicks off with two exceptional evenings: World-class sport, a fantastic show and the live music of the Aachen Symphony Orchestra come together in the “Horse & Symphony” concerts, which promise the guests an unforgettable evening. There are still plenty of tickets left for the Friday evening (July 12th, 8.30 p.m.). On the other hand no tickets are necessary for “Soers Sunday”, the traditional open day. The Opening Ceremony takes place the following Tuesday, (July 16th). Admissions tickets are still available for all days and most of the categories. Either online here or alternatively directly from the hotline on +49-(0)241-917-1111.