Music: Heavy metal festival in Wacken sinks in the mud

Mud everywhere you look, in front of and behind the still closed gates of the heavy metal festival.

Music: Heavy metal festival in Wacken sinks in the mud

Mud everywhere you look, in front of and behind the still closed gates of the heavy metal festival. Chaos reigns around the tranquil Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein on Tuesday. Lots of rain on Monday hit the campsites badly. Many metalheads sink up to their ankles in mud on the paths.

On arrival, little is going on at first, then the organizers pull the emergency brake late Tuesday afternoon. Only vehicles in the immediate vicinity are allowed onto the premises. How many of the expected 85,000 visitors are already there - the question initially remains unanswered. "I hope we have half of it in or more," said festival co-founder Thomas Jensen. Festival visitors are allowed to continue to the site, “just not by car”.

The late announcement annoys some who have already arrived: "That's pretty shitty. You could have prepared better, simply because it had been known for weeks that it was going to rain," Alicia from Landshut criticized the organization of the heavy -Metal festivals. She is worried that the festival will also be canceled. "I would even be fine if it was canceled," said Malte from the Ahr Valley. The festival planners would have known what the weather was like. "They could have stopped it much earlier." That's why he's angry.

Another visitor also expressed understanding for the organizers. He is incredibly sorry for everyone who had been preparing for weeks or months, said Rolf from Sauerland. "It's a huge event and you're powerless over it."

criticism on social media

Metal fans in the north are already used to rain and mud. "Rain or shine" (rain or shine) is a festival motto. But criticism of the organizers is increasing on social media. Your update on the arrival stop imposed on Monday will only come at noon, much later than originally announced. The admission end for cars follows hours later. Some users report annoyed on the go - many have been stuck in traffic for many hours.

Anyone arriving by car needs patience. "I arrived in the Wacken region around 9:30 a.m. on Monday, and by 8:15 p.m. I was on my pitch," says Uli from Berlin. However, he does not let his good mood spoil. It's his fifth visit to Wacken. "You can't do anything about the weather." He still remembers his premiere in 2017 well, when the weather was similar in the north.

After the final arrival stop, some of the anger erupts in the network. "To be fair, then cancel the entire festival?!" Writes an Instagram user under a post from the organizers. Around 500 comments are collected there within half an hour. "So whoever comes to Wacken in any other way gets the festival? Very unfortunate crisis management and communication," writes another user. A visitor from Portugal asks where he should sleep tonight.

"We are very sad to have to make this difficult decision - for the first time in the history of the W:O:A", the organizers reported shortly before. Due to the heavy rain of the past 24 hours and the poor condition of the camping areas, event areas and access roads, no more vehicles could be allowed onto the site. Information on how to deal with the tickets, which cost almost 300 euros, should follow.

Nevertheless, it is celebrated

On the other hand, those who made it onto the site will celebrate there on Tuesday. Heavy metal can be heard coming from the speakers, and under the tent pavilions, visitors bridge the rain showers by drinking beer and playing cards. And of course, the famous long drawn-out Wackeeeeen can also be heard. "After all, it's not as dry as 2022," says Lukas from Bochum. For him, the place is something special: "You can meet 75,000 friends here - that's Wacken." If a visitor gets stuck with the car, help is usually there quickly. The three letters of Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) are emblazoned in many places.

The mood is also good with Steve from Upper Franconia. He sits with his buddies under a blue and white striped pavilion. It's "like a VIP area here for the first time," he says, "neither queues at the food stands nor at the merge because there are just so few people here." He feels sorry for the people who have to stop their arrival.

A few meters further Antje swings her dreadlocks to the beat of the music. "Waaaacken" she and her friends roar, roast beef is cooking in a pot on a fire bowl. The weather doesn't spoil the mood, says the Swiss. "I was looking forward to it for a year, I have to party, right?" she asks jokingly and laughs.

A few hours later, there is great uncertainty on the site: Can Wacken take place at all? A cancellation of the festival is not yet in the room on Tuesday evening. Actually, it officially starts on Wednesday. The local fire brigade band will play at the start, and metal queen Doro Pesch will be on stage in the evening. A total of more than 200 concerts on nine stages are planned.

The British band Iron Maiden is at Wacken for the fourth time. Acts like Megadeth and Helloween are also expected. One thing is certain: after the chaos in the run-up, Wacken will be different than usual.

W:O:A DWD weather forecast for the north