The Wacken Open Air is the biggest Metal Festival in the world. Full stop. It is a miracle. The festival is happening during the last weekend of July. And all the tickets have been sold before 2009 had even begun. 65.000 tickets gone within a few weeks of sale!!!
Are we talking crisis? No, we are talking metal! The festival started really small in 1990. Only 800 metal heads found themselves in a little village in the north of Germany called Wacken. In 2006 they have reached the benchmark of 65.000 for the first time. They could easily sell twice as much, but the organizers, all passionate Metaleros from the beginning, want to keep it a little cosier.
Meanwhile there are three big stages and the range of bands goes from Mainstream Pop-Metal over deathmetal to the godfathers of metal. Bands like the scorpions, Motörhead, Manowar, Saxon, Kreator, Doro, Nightwish, Turbonegro or Iron Maiden have played here, just to name a few. I was asked to work for Wacken TV and liked the idea. But of course I was a bit intimidated by the gruel some appearance of most metal-fans. But I have to say: Metal heads are the nicest and friendliest fellows ever.
They are so consumed with their music and they release all their tension with the noise, that they are handsome like puppies after the speakers are unplugged. And for everyone opposing metal: Once you stand in front of a stage and you feel the bass of uncounted dezibels you are intoxicated by sheer noise.This music was made for a stage and you get a kick out of it whether you like the music or not: it is just awesome. I always worked behind the big stage. The world of the workers is totally different to the one of the fans. A separate space with nonstop catering for many thousand security-people, stage-people, musicians, TV-Guys, administration, lawyers (for all the contracts with the stars) and so on. I slept in a tour-night liner and we had even shower-trucks with warm water, which is not so common at festivals.
27 ha of farmland are rent by the organizers and make up a village of it´s own with a real infrastructure. Just imagine around 50.000 or so tents with muddy but happy fans. . The W:O:A has become an empire. The bands and most of the crowd comes from abroad as it is the most important gathering of the scene worldwide! Wacken has its own IT-Channel, a Radio, Merch and DVD’s in an amount that is jaw dropping and is giving out franchises, too. That means that there will be several Wackens around the world now. Staring with Brazil and Australia. But the original stays number one!
So, come rain come shine: see you in Wacken!