The young Sennheiser recruits often hear the stories from the old days. Stories about impulsive actions that changed everything and major events with great artists. Sebastian Schmitz heard many of them when he joined Sennheiser in 2001. Was it tiresome? “Not at all. Those were really great stories that made me feel immediately at home here.” Before joining Sennheiser, Sebastian had worked on numerous events and live concerts. So, he knew exactly what the engineers and technicians were talking about when they remembered the good old days. However, the experiences that Sebastian himself has enjoyed over the last 20 years or so prove that the best rock’n’roll stories aren’t all confined to the past. Whenever an important sound test or an event is coming up, Sebastian can ensure it will be a success. After all, anyone can be loud, but the sound must also be well-balanced and flawless.
“My personal highlights certainly include our HE 1 launch. It involved global events and artists and the aim was to create an absolutely unforgettable live experience,” he explains. He breaks into a huge grin as he remembers one particular event. “We were at the prolight+sound trade fair in Frankfurt. We had the chance to bring a surprise guest onto our stage, and we already suspected that it was going to be a pretty big deal.” That was in 2002. Casting shows had just become popular. One year before the launch of Germany’s version of American Idol, the second season of the hit show Popstars had just aired, and the winner, BroSis, was number 1 in the German charts. And now they wanted to perform a spontaneous free concert at the Sennheiser booth.
How do you react to that? Sebastian laughs. “Well obviously you say: Yes, let’s do this! And then you start to put together a plan very quickly. Barriers, security personnel to protect the exhibits against the onslaught, organizing and setting up additional sound systems, and so on.” It was difficult to estimate how many visitors the trade fair team could expect. At that time, there was no social media where you could create a post that goes viral in seconds. The trade fair radio and information network were all they could rely on to advertise the performance. They did a great job. The hall filled up many hours before the performance. The fans all had one destination in mind: Sennheiser. “Things got crazy really quickly and we had to catch our breath at times. It’s not every day we experience such a stampede at our trade fairs.”
There are certainly still times when everyone has to pitch in so that nothing goes wrong. Where you are completely surrounded by screaming fans for hours. Where you have to hand out water so that nobody faints. The music may have changed somewhat, but we still know how to rock’n’roll. Sennheiser can always be relied on to keep a crowd happy.