Metalmoments on Wacken:
About the place:
I’d have to say that if you consider yourself as being of the metal persuasion, and you have not visited or at least heard of Wacken, you might want to rethink your situation for a moment.
Wacken is, and have been for quite some time, the leading metal festival in all Europe, possibly the most well visited metal festival in the world.
Starting out back in 1990, the festival has grown considerably and is now host to 75000 metalheads yearly and some of the greatest acts in metal. However, you should know that Wacken is not your mainstream metal, this is the really hard stuff combined with some more power and true metal influenced acts. This is everything that was banned in Sunday school and your mom doesn’t want you to hear! Hence the characteristic twin mainstage is called Black Stage and True Stage, making room for diversity for the discerning metal enthusiast.
There are three more stages for those who want to get a bit more intimate with their favourite bands; the Party Stage which is a midsize open air stage, the W.E.T. Stage which is the only tent stage available complete with bars usually to large crowds; and finally not to forget the Beergarten Stage which is exactly what it sounds like – a smaller stage outside the festival area placed next to the Wacken Beergarten. Here you are usually treated to such fabulous and unforgettable acts as The Wacken Firebrigade, Mambo Kurt and the Wacken karaoke house band Rokken.
The small township of Wacken is located in walking distance of the festival grounds, and filled with all what your heart might desire. There are (as far as I’ve seen) two supermarkets, a bank (as this is usually very well-visited you might want to make careful plans for checking out cash. On the other hand, they also have some money machines at the festival site). There is also a Viking store which sells armour, weaponry, drinking horns and holds a variety of meads.
And of course, let’s not forget about the Wacken bath; an outdoor swimming pool (split in two, one for playing and one for, let’s face it, playing…) complete with trampolines and a grass lawn for relaxation.
Almost all citizens of this hospitable town has also put their driveways and backyards to the disposal of us metalheads with bars and food stands.
And should you get tired of carrying your stuff from the local grocer back to the festival area, the Wacken children are more than willing to help out, having created quite the lucrative delivery service where they have wagons to pull your goods for you.
There are several ways by which you can get to the festival.
If you are into going straight from your home to the festival without a care in the world, there are several countries which have special bus tours for Wacken Open Air, which carry you painlessly from door to door. Check with Wacken’s site or your local metal store for more info about busses from your specific country.
If you’re more independent, Wacken is located close to Hamburg to which you can take practically any form of transportation available today, and there are both shuttle busses and several trains going from Hamburg to where you want to go.
If you are into deciding your own time schedule completely, there is no reason for you not to go by car either. It is no real problem to find your way, and as you get closer special signs for the festival are put up.
Earlier, there has been a big problem with cars waiting in line for up to several hours without moving, but last year (2008) they handled it real nice, and the wait was not even worth mentioning.
Prices are what you could expect from a festival we would say. Wacken isn’t the cheapest festival you could go to, but on the other hand it could easily be a lot more expensive as well.
The ticket prices are very reasonable considering the experience you get from this festival, and food and drink prices may vary from stand to stand but are to live with. The great thing here is the many choices you have; almost all sorts of food are served, so no matter what you are into you will most likely be able to find it somewhere around the festival area.
Food and drink prices from the locals are also very reasonable, so there is no reason to hold back there either.