Over one thousand musical instruments, 120 kilowatts of sound, the world's most powerful lighting equipment, and the invisible "voice of the Festival", altogether, contribute to the unique magical atmosphere of the Spasskaya Tower International Military Music Festival. Still, they always remain behind the scenes. When the guests on the stands are leaving Red Square to the profound sounds of fireworks, the team of the Festival goes on working, immediately starting to prepare for the next day's performance.
The Spasskaya Tower Festival is very proud of its excellent light and sound. Every day, several dozen people work at the venue, allowing the audience to enjoy every instance of the performance, distinguish every sound, and see all the Festival’s participants at their best. The lighting and sound equipment are installed well before this grand celebration of music begins, so the audience doesn't miss a thing.
"Our guests must hear everything that’s going on downstairs, on the cobblestone, regardless of their place on the stands. They should hear both the compositions and the commentator’s voice. Thus, achieving this is our main task. Number-wise, we have about 3,000 meters of cable, about 120 kilowatts of sound power, and about 90 radio systems", said the sound engineer of the show, Daria Rudakova. She has been working at the Festival since 2009 and knows all the intricacies of sound tuning at this venue.
This year, the Spasskaya Tower Festival’s participants from Russia, Armenia, Belarus, India, Thailand, Venezuela, and Egypt brought to Moscow’s Red Square 1080 musical instruments, featuring 879 wind items, 14 keyboards, and 187 percussion.
"Each music group has its own peculiarities, and it is impossible to predict everything in advance. Thus, before the Festival, we have a rehearsal period that lasts a week. We watch the program of each band and think about what we can do to enhance the sound so that the audience can hear it well," explained Daria Rudakova. All the systems are checked before the start of every performance. It’s a must-do procedure. The sound should be perfect, otherwise the show will not begin.
Light is another important aspect of the Festival that adds charm and brilliance to the performances.
The lighting pattern should emphasize the show unfolding on the square and at the same time keep the participants from being blinded and interfering with their performance. According to Alexei Moiseev, the technical director of the Festival’s main venue, 477 units of powerful lighting devices were installed in the stands and along the venue, which required more than 2,000 meters of cable. In terms of the amount of lightning equipment and quality, the Spasskaya Tower Festival can be rightfully compared to the FIFA World Cup held in Moscow.
"278 tons of metal items went into the construction of the stands, which accommodate almost seven thousand guests. Another 60 tons were used to build the control towers," mentioned the technical director about the stands’ complex. It takes two weeks for the engineers and technical specialists to put all of this metal, light, and sound together.
Another invisible participant of the Festival, a man whose charming voice is heard by all audiences both on Red Square during the show and at home during the live broadcast, is Alexander Romanov, the official voice of the Festival. "I had the honor to continue the work of the great Evgeny Khoroshevtsev. Since the moment I took on the position, I have been trying to do my best and fulfill my mission responsibly," Alexander Romanov admitted.
He said that for him, the Festival was very intense, with a lot of activities going on. "To my mind, everyone who is associated with the Festival, either its organizers or the audience, will share my opinion", said the Festival’s voice. According to Alexander Romanov, the run-up period for him is the moment of a lot of rehearsals and intense preparation.
The Spasskaya Tower Festival always has its final performance broadcast live, so not only the audience on Red Square but also people back at home can witness this amazing celebration. On this day, Alexander Romanov turns two people in one. He is both the presenter on Red Square and the TV commentator for those at home. This is a complicated task, and the timing is mastered to perfection. Even Alexander Romanov, the official voice of the Festival, does not know how he manages to perform both parts at once.
“I don’t know for sure. Somehow I have to cope with it. Of course, I have the help of my colleagues, with whom we are closely working throughout the entire Festival. These are the director, second director, and editor. Thus, without a team, it would definitely be impossible to do this”, noted Alexander Romanov.
Hence, the team responsible for the TV live broadcast is the most numerous at the Spasskaya Tower Festival. Over 300 people work at Red Square, allowing the audiences back at home to see this grand spectacle. In terms of equipment, the team uses 20 cameras, including those on cranes, steadicams, and remotely controlled carts, with a 30 meter long rail.
Another full-fledged participant of the Festival is its security team, which includes 125 people. They are responsible for maintaining law and order throughout the event."If we speak about the violations, most of the time people are trying to get to the event without a ticket on a fake one", said Damir Alikberov, head of security. According to him, citizens who try to bring in alcohol are not welcome at the Festival either.
The security team also includes three shepherd dogs who every day inspect the site. Security is always on duty at the entrances and exits from the stands, while the VIP stands are staffed with officers who know foreign languages in case foreign guests need help.
This year, the invisible team of the Festival helped 1561 participants of the Spasskaya Tower International Military Tattoo, including almost 400 foreign musicians, to showcase their cultural and musical presentations at the highest possible level.
The Festival is carried out following the Order of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, under the aegis of the Public Council headed by Mr. Alexander Zhukov, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, with the support of the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Moscow Department of Culture.
Photo: Alexey von Bock