Interview with Norbert Hartmann
"We expect a positive result for 2022"
Six questions to Norbert Hartmann, Director of the Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Liederhalle.
After two years of renovation work and the coronavirus shutdown – how is the Liederhalle team feeling?
"The Liederhalle team is fine. Obviously the coronavirus shutdown is not good, but we share the fate of the entire event sector. We're making the best of the situation and preparing to host live and in-person events once the pandemic is over.
Despite the pandemic, renovation work is nearing completion. We can therefore receive the people who come to be vaccinated in all our new splendour. We're already looking forward to presenting our "new" Congress Centre to all our other guests, too."
What are the most important innovations in the infrastructure?
"On the one hand, the focus of the modernisation measures was on fire safety precautions, building control and network systems, and the stage and event technology. These investments were indispensable in order to remain competitive.
In addition, the backstage area of the Hegel Hall has been extended, creating more floor space. Thanks to flexible room dividers, this can be used for a variety of purposes, such as offices, recreation rooms for artists and staff, or storage.
The ceilings in the foyer are painted in dark blue, while a new visitor guidance system, an LED video screen at the main entrance and wooden elements in the bars, staircases and restrooms give the congress area a modern ambience."
To what extent has the pandemic influenced the refurbishment of the tradition-steeped Liederhalle?
"The pandemic has had little effect on the traditional Liederhalle, i.e. the Beethoven and Mozart Halls, apart from the fact that no entertainment-related events can be held here. This has meant that there were no concerts, and the auditoriums remained empty."
And what effect has the pandemic had on possible event formats?
"After the pandemic is over, the congress and conference sector will, in my opinion, be different from what it used to be. We will have to adapt increasingly to digital and/or hybrid events. We will definitely have to provide more comprehensive advice to our customers and offer them every possible kind of event format. An exciting and appealing task."
When will the location be ready, and what are your prognoses for future events?
"Basically, the venue has been open since the vaccination centre came into operation in December 2020, albeit for a limited number of visitors, i.e. the vaccination patients. After the end of the vaccination campaign and completion of the jobs that remain to be done, it can probably open for the general public in the autumn of 2021.
The financial year 2021 will close with a considerable deficit, as did the year 2020. For 2022 we presume that "normal" event activities can be resumed, and we thus expect a positive result."
What else would you like to say to your (potential) customers?
Patience and staying power are the order of the day. Together, we are well on our way to overcoming the pandemic, and then we look forward to seeing each other again at in-person events at the Liederhalle.
Many thanks, Herr Hartmann!