Kölner Lichter on Saturday Music-synchronized fireworks to light up Cologne
COLOGNE · It’s a beautiful event along the banks of the Rhine in Cologne and this year’s theme is centered on children as artists. Here is what you can expect, as well as practical information about the program, parking, and getting there.
In a nod to children as artists, Georg Alef, who is in charge of the fireworks for the Kölner Lichter (Cologne Lights), says, "We want to start off with a childish expressionism this year." The first scene involving children and dialogue is musically accompanied by Aram Khachaturian's Saber Dance. Spectators are taken on a journey through art history at the 18th Kölner Lichter. There is impressionism, romanticism, expressionism and pop art. For the first time, three genres of art are connected - painting, music and pyrotechnics. "For me, fireworks is an art form of its own with which I can express something," says Georg Alef, who decides each year’s new theme.
"For the first time in preparation for the Kölner Lichter, I had fixed images, forms, sequences of shot and colors in my head even before the music selection," says Alef. He then chose the music with his musical advisor Sebastian Hässy from the Junge Sinfonie Köln (Youth Symphony Cologne).
The 57-year-old has a very special relationship with the Kölner Lichter as one of its founders. The dialogue which will begin the fireworks is even spoken by his grandchildren. But their artwork does not end up on wallpaper somewhere, rather in the skies over Cologne. To depict the opening scene, a large boat on the river will be equipped with a seven by seven meter picture screen.
The Kölner Lichter will cost organizer Werner Nolden around 1.6 million euros. But most of those costs go towards organization and security, rather than the 27-minutes of music-synchronized fireworks. About a ton of explosives will light up the sky on Saturday. There is no such thing as it being routine despite the fact that it’s the 18th year of the event. "The Kölner Lichter are always a premiere," says the organizer.
At 2 pm on Saturday, July 21, is the official start of the event. From 8:15 pm, Guildo Horn & the Orthopedic Stockings play, followed by Fools Garden, Michaela Danner, Tom Gaebel and the children's show choir Kids on Stage. The eight-person rowing club race starts at 9:15pm. The ship convoy will start in Cologne-Porz at 9:50pm, the sparklers for the arrival of the ships will be lit at 10:25pm, and the music-synchronized firework display will start at 11:30 pm and will take about 27 minutes.
Getting there and parking
Organizers recommend that you arrive no later than 8 pm. The banks of the Rhine around the main fireworks between Hohenzollern and Zoobrücke (Zoo Bridge) are filled up quickly every year. The KVB Cologne transportation authorities will use additional trams and buses. The tram lines will run every 15 minutes for a longer period of time. It is recommended to use the bus stop "Ebertplatz". In addition, the parking garages of the Lanxess Arena are not available this year. Recommended is the Messeparkplatz (exhibition car park) P22 in Cologne-Deutz.
Orig. text: Elena Sebening