Wacken Open Air is the world’s biggest heavy metal music festival. Since 1990, every year this festival unites heavy metal fans from all over world and it is like a huge family party. Ever since the Wacken came in to my life 4 years ago I have never seen any fight or misunderstanding between any of the metalhead visitors.
At the Wacken you can only see thousands of happy metal music fans. In Wacken you can meet new friends every year, with whom you can have great time and great conversations, about the life, the places and festivals to visit and about the great music.
You share your food with your neighbors, you listen music loud, you sing, you laugh and dance. You are welcome at Wacken anyhow, it doesn’t matter what kind of metal you like, generation you are in, or how you look or what you wear.
Most metalheads from all over the world, see each other once a year at Wacken and this is a great celebration of friendship and Heavy Metal music.
Despite the great amount of visitors Wacken is being considered as the most peaceful and safe festival in the world.
The whole Wacken story started when two young man, Thomas Jensen and Holger Hübner decided to organize an open air event with live music on the farm fields of northern Germany. In the same place where a topic motorcycle club from the Wacken organized a moto gatherings before and they had a lot of visitors. The village Wacken is located 80 kilometers northwest of Hamburg. Since the two fellows were involved in organizing different kind of events in the various clubs they decided to organised their first open air event.
On August 24 and 25, 1990, the very first Wacken Open Air festival started as a small event for local German bands. The leading band was Skyline.
The organizers liked the idea and they decided to do it again the next year at the same location on August 23 and 24, 1991. Every year the festival grows bigger and bigger with more bands to participate and more visitors. From 2000 is usually held at the beginning of August and it lasts for four days.
In 2011, the festival attracted 80,000 festival visitors and 6,000 personnel for a total of roughly 86,000 attendees.
At 2014 all 75,000 tickets were sold out within 43 hours. Next year, 2015 all ticked was sold within 12 hours. At 2016 despite the fact that the bands lineup had not been announced yet all tickets were sold within 23 hours. And this is the reason why:
If you ever decide to visit Wacken Open Air, I can guarantee you that you gonna have the greatest time of your life.
Wacken crowd is famous for the crazy appearances and self-expression but officially there is no dress code at Wacken, everyone can wear whatever they like. Every year a lot of couples get married at the Wacken holy land.
For most of the visitors Wacken Open Air is the highlight of the year. They are preparing stuff for a whole year for the festival such as their outfits and camping equipment. Visitors stay at the camp ground that is separated into the sections which are marked with letters. So visitors can find their way into their tends, campers and caravans.
The locals of Wacken who are 1,800 in number, also contribute a great deal to the success of the festival. They are able to attend the festival for free, so the Wacken Open Air turns into the kind of public holiday for them. They always offer a warm welcome to the visitors. Nearly every citizen offers support, from farmers offering shelter in their barns and transportation to the venue. It is also a good opportunity for them to make some money because every year about €20,000,000 are spent in the Wacken area by festival visitors. You can take a look at this documentary film about the locals of Wacken made by Sung-Hyung-Cho:
Mikkey Dee from Motorhead once said that Wacken has one of the best crowd in the world.
Tom Angelripper from Sodom said: ,,People have just fun. They celebrate every note. Sometimes I think it doesn’t matter who is on stage. They just into it and that’s unique worldwide.”
Take a look of this video called: This is why Wacken rules.
For some people may seem strange and unbelievable how is it possible that crowd of 100 000 people can be united like one big family. How is it possible that they are all so happy despite the rain, cold and mud?
If you find hard to believe then you have to visit Wacken Open Air to see it with your own eyes. But the important thing to know is that the festival traditionally ends on the first Sunday in August, and at midnight the following Monday tickets go on sale for the next year.
The ticket cost around €220. Camping next to the car is still included in the ticket price. At 2018 About 150 bands will rock you at 8 stages.
If you are interested on going, visit the official festival website for tickets and information.
At this moment there are still tickets available.
If you wish to come earlier to pick up the section that is closer to the festival area you can come from Monday, July 30st 2018 with no extra fee charged. Toilets and showers at the campground are also free of charge.
Take a look of the early version of the official 2018 festival trailer:
In Wacken as I said you can see people of all ages. The hosts of the festival even give free passes to elderly home residences from Itzehoe every year. They make a day trip to visit the festival. The young visitors show their admiration and respect to the seniors, you can often see them helping the seniors to move through the mud. Hanging out with so many young people makes them feel young again. This kind of peaceful, huge gathering for music was unknown in their youth. And they enjoy themselves very much.
Festival area is known as Holy Wacken Land. It is separated into the sections.
In Wacken plaza there are two stages: W:E:T stage and Headbangers stage, also few stalls for food and drinks. There, besides the great music you can also enjoy the wrestling every day from 16:00 until 17:00 at the Welcome to the jungle stage.
Wakinger village is separated also into two sections: viking village and wasteland warriors.
There are so many different kind of choices for food and drinks.
At the Wackinger village you can also play all kind of interesting games.
The food stalls are made in traditional style, and they serve some traditional German specialties which I had a hard time pronouncing their names, but it was not difficult at all to eat them. They are so delicious. You should definitely try them when you visit Wacken.
There are also a lot of places to sit, lay and rest.
Bars in the shape of the boat or castles.
Interesting things to shop if you have money.
Furs, horns, swords, clothes, jewelry, belts, footwear, whatever you can imagine.
You can see exhibited different kind of old tools, guns, but also old timers.
There is even an old locomotive on which you can sit and have a drink.
There are two stages at the Wackinger village. Wackinger stage.
Also the Wasteland stage which is very interesting because it is made of containers and they blow fire around all the time.
Wasteland Warriors are actually group of artists from various areas of expertise and from all around the world, who bring everything post apocalyptic, dark-future, diesel-punk, and similar to life: Shows, Costumes, Props, Promotions, Photo-shootings, Custom Clothing, Stage-design, Artworks , etc.
The costumes they wear are made by themselves from waste.
If you wish to become a wasteland warrior yourself, then you have to make your own costume and send your pictures to them. If they think your costume fits their concept, they will name you a wasteland warrior and make you a part of their big, beautiful family.
I suggest you to like their official facebook page so you can learn more about them and also take a look at their warriors gallery to learn more about each one of them.
I find them very creative and beautiful. They also serve a great reindeer Goulash with spaghetti at the one of their stalls.
Take a look at a picture I took with one of the Wasteland Warriors: Norn, Amber Laguz Machinefairy she doesn’t only look damn good, her photography skills are also pretty amazing. You can check out her work, here: Laguz Photography
The Wasteland warriors actually deserve their own article and I promise that I am going to make one very soon.
So lets continue with the description of the holy land.
In the middle of all the sections is Wacken center, with many merchandise shops, called metal market and also a lot of food stalls for all the tastes with cuisines from all over the world. You can also find the Art center here, where are a lot of workshops going on and a lot of Art exhibitions.
In Wacken plaza there is also a lot of places to sit, or lay and rest.
Interesting bars in the shape of viking ships.
This year hosts added extra showers inside of the festival area.
On the end of metal market there is The Beer Garden place.
With a lot of benches and tables, bars and fast food stalls. There is also one stage, called Beer garden stage. An event that I found very interesting at the Beer garden stage this year was a Karaoke night it was really fun. In the Beer garden there is also a Lemmy bar, it is the bar devoted to the great singer, Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead who passed away at 28 December 2015. There is also a statue of Lemmy.
There are 3 main stages, they are placed in the infield area. This is how the main stages area looked like the first day when we arrived.
The names of the three main stages are: Faster stage, Harder stage and Louder stage.
In this area you can also eat and drink whatever you like, there are a lot of choices.
You can also visit the Jägermeister bar that is built in the shape of the giant reindeer.
At Wacken there is a special platform for the handicapped people so they can watch the concerts as well.
My boyfriend and me already got our tickets for the next year. So see you at Wacken 2018, rain or shine.