It’s already two weeks and my Wacken report is overdue. Next year’s dates are already announced and so are the first bands. Doro, Running Wild, Arch Enemy… the preview is already promising!
Back to business and my report. Wacken is special. There are so many festivals and for many fans Wacken has become too commercial. That might all be true but Wacken is still a mecca for metal heads just like me. It’s a great place to see Kreator, Accept, Alice Cooper and so many more with fellow metal heads from around the world.
I had decided not to camp (not only because of my bad back but also owed to the lack of a tent). Instead I was to sleep in the car. That was a great idea considering all the mud I was waddling through during those days. So on Wednesday, I headed towards Wacken city trying to catch some of the early happenings. I met some fellow press people, other punters and my old school mate who I haven’t seen since I left school some 20 years ago. As a starter, we were served some nice Annihilator. I had seen the Canadians during my years in Ireland and enjoyed their show.
Thursday, it all started for real then. The first act I stayed for more than a song was Ross The Boss. During the show, the ex-Manowar guitarist was inducted officially into the Hall of Heavy Metal History. This memorable event was followed by a lot of walking through deep mud, peeking into shows here and there before settling down for the Accept set. In the first part of their show, the Germans revealed their new record The Rise of Chaos one day before the official release. In the second part, Wolf Hermann and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra performed Wolf’s solo album. Very impressive indeed! Closing my day were Volbeat. Even though I had heard so much about them, it was the first time I saw the Danes live.
By Friday, I had conquered some territory and got photo passes for Sanctuary, Grave Digger, Amity Affliction and Emperor. Grave Digger are definitely a personal highlight as they belong to my favourite German metal bands. I also tuned into Lacuna Coil who my wife is fond of and Memoriam. The members of the death metal band are all ex-members of well-known bands, mainly Bolt Thrower, which by itself makes them worth a visit. I finished the day on some Megadeth, heading to bed early because of a very important meeting the next day.
The last Wacken day had already come and Saturday brought further awesomeness. I was quite looking forward to Alice Cooper. Not only because I’m a fan but also because I keep missing his shows. In the end, I saw more than only his show. He passed me just an arm-length away and the fanboy in me was about to grab him but luckily I didn’t. What else? I got photo passes for Possessed, Max and Igor Cavalera and Powerwolf. I hadn’t seen any of the three live but Powerwolf’s stage show was the most impressive (and photogenic if you have a look at the gallery). After the photo sessions, I enjoyed some Amon Amarth who I had seen several times including a show in Sydney. Avantasia marked the end of my Wacken stay and I was heading home towards dry shoes, a shower and my baby daughter.
Wacken Open Air might be commercial and maybe even too big. But it also brings on great metal bands and attracts a diverse metal crowd from 80 countries. I met people from all corners of the globe. Some came as fans, some with newcomer bands, others with the media and again others on a different quest. Wacken brings them all together and connects the metal community. I am a big fan and I will be back for sure. Rain or shine (although I really prefer the shine)! \m/