The Colombian who is behind the organization of the WYD


Juan Carlos Pinzón has worked on the production of events for 25 years. Today he faces the arrival of Pope Francis in Panama for the World Youth Day (WYD).

Juan Carlos Pinzón, producer of the WYD. / Courtesy

How do you feel part of an event of this magnitude?

We are very happy that all people trust our work. We have been chosen among many people to be able to do this work and, therefore, it is a pride that a team, and in its name, says that we Colombians are behind the World Youth Day.

How was it chosen to lead this project?

The organization of Pope Francis' visit to the World Youth Day (WYD) began three months ago, when we were in the JMJ Consortium Santa María de la Antigua, which won the bid process for assembly of infrastructure and technological team that will be used in the events related to the papal visit here in Panama.

They contacted us to do all the mass production part of the field and the day in situ, because we had already had the opportunity to work with the Vatican and the Pope when they visited Colombia. I was responsible for the production of the mass camp in Medellín. Then the people of the consortium contacted me because they wanted to have a little more information on the process and at the end we negotiated to be able to come into assembly with a whole technical and human team from Colombia.

(It might interest you: who will bring the Pope to Rome after his visit to Panama?)

How different is this montage from Medellin?

We are fortunate to know the people of the Vatican already for the past events we have done with them, so we already know the details of what they are asking for and what they need: the type of microphones, where the monitors go, the television signals and signals some special video monitors for them. Both for the JMJ Consortium and for us it was useful, because we already know the work and the people, and this has allowed the assembly to be more evolved.

How do you start preparing for the organization of the event?

There are two events that will be realized in two different platforms: one that is in the Costera Cinta, along all this, where we celebrate the entire Youth Day from 22nd to 25th January, where we are going to work from 2pm at 11 pm with artistic presentations, speeches by the pope and young representatives of each country. The other begins on Saturday, in a second space, called Metro Park, which is the preparation for the field that will be held on Sunday. We cover, more or less, about 2.6 kilometers in each site with sound, video, power plants and wiring. So it's a great infrastructure.

Is this the biggest event you've organized?

Sure. Coincidentally we talked to some fellow producers who are here that the pope is the most popular person in the world. Michael Jackson was one of the most famous artists in the world and his shows were 120,000 people. Here we are talking about the Pope who calls almost a million people; therefore, it is anyone who will call the greatest number of followers on the face of the Earth.

What were the challenges in producing such a big event?

We have been here two months in Panama in preparation for the entire event, because we are from the entrance of the first vine to the sites. And we plan to finish the clearing and be in our homes on February 5th.

We had to bring a series of equipment, with different companies, to meet the needs of Panama, because here there are no events so important, and to do a study with local production companies to see what equipment each company had to give them priorities to be able to assemble their equipment, we realized that adding up all that we could not even fill one of the two places where we will be with the pope. Then we had to bring teams from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, the United States and Colombia.

(See more: Pope feels the obsession of young people to receive many "Like")

From Colombia we brought 15 containers of 40 meters each, full of audio and video equipment.

How many people are with you to support the production problem?

From Colombia we traveled 46 people from the production team. And in total, during the day, we have about 300 people, including Americans, Guatemalans, Salvadorians and Panamanians. We have created around 2,000 jobs for the people of the city, as it is quite a big job. For all of us, it is a pride that the Colombians coordinate an event of this magnitude in Panama, seeing the effort the country is making, because the pilgrims and the Pope are here, and at such an important time not only for Panama, but also for the whole region.

How many people should arrive per day?

The previous one, held in Sao Paulo in 2013, managed to collect 1 200,000 people, so here in Panama, we are expecting between 900,000 and one million people.

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