THE WACKEN DIARIES – 30th Anniversary Edition

When you turn 30 years old, a few things change, you might feel a little bit more grown up or not at all, you feel the need for a fresh start or you are completely content with your life, regardless of where you stand the big 3-0 will bring some inevitable changes (I know what I’m saying 😉 ).
For Wacken Open Air 2019 was the year of the big birthday party! It is still hard to believe that the world’s biggest metal festival is now thirty years old and just the thought of where it all started, down in the now famous ‘Kuhle’, shows you that it is always worth to dream big!

WHO NEEDS CHAIRS?

I was lucky enough to celebrate Wacken’s 30th birthday on the holy ground itself. Packed with a bunch of friends (Camp Trümmerbruch reunited!), loads of camping gear and an array of hoppy refreshments, we drove up to the very north of Germany into the beloved tiny village of Wacken on Monday morning.
This time no ferries where involved and traffic wasn’t too bad either, the total opposite of previous Wacken travel disasters.
Tio and I rolled onto the campground as the very first car, another first for me, and we got the perfect camp spot. After all tents, gazebo and our little ‘kitchen’ were set up we cheered to a week of heavy metal madness. We quickly learned that our newly purchased gazebo was anything but waterproof (who on earth manufactures gazebos that are NOT waterproof, I mean, what is the point?).
After we had come to terms about the gazebo a loud bang tore through our camp and seconds later our resident coiffeur was sitting one level lower with his bum on the ground. Yep, he managed to break his camping chair within the first 4 hours of our arrival. But thank god we came prepared and had a spare chair (never have to few chairs at your camp!) and he happily sat down on the glorious green structure of light weight steel and sturdy fabric.
The rain kept hammering down onto our already soaked gazebo and we dreaded the thought of the weather forecast for the rest of the week, as it looked to be a proper Wacken wash out.
As we made plans for the next day (must get a proper cover for the gazebo) the impossible happened within seconds the spare chair that our coiffeur was sitting on broke without a warning and as if they had planned it in that moment Tio’s chair decided that this would be a good time to give up on the chair life.
In case you lost count, our camp was three chairs down within the first 8 hours of our week at Wacken.

MUTTI IS THE BEST!

I woke up to a drenched gazebo and a half ruined camp. Our carefully placed table cloth (yes we are classy campers) was now ruined but some of the cups had collected enough water, so that they could be cleaned straight away. Gotta see the positives!
Where do we start with Tuesday? Maybe where we left Monday, with ANOTHER broken chair! No, I am not kidding or trying to make this a thing but at this time we decided that our coiffeur and his heavy metal bum wasn’t made for camping chairs, as he managed to crash a wooden chair as well.
I mean, how do you do that? This was the point where we knew we had to make the trip to the newly created Wacken Plaza and see if the new heavy metal supermarket ‘Kaufland’ sold camping chairs, as our camp was experiencing a proper shortage!
But before we went shopping we made the most of the lovely sunny weather and ventured into the village. If you ever go to Wacken, it is an unwritten rule that you HAVE to go into the village!
It is just the best thing ever, the people of Wacken are the nicest people who open their doors, gardens, fridges etc. for the metal heads. During the festival Wacken village completely transforms into a buzzing street party.
The high street is closed off for traffic, except the speedy go-carts from the local kids who transport your goods back to the camp ground for a few quid. The local gas station and supermarket are real hot spots, with loads of festival goers buying a few drinks and necessities. 
But the real gem is at the end of the high street, my favourite place, which has to be visited at least once during every Wacken trip. Perfectly tucked away behind a few big hedges and a seemingly normal looking house lays the ‘place to be’.
‘Muttis Biergarten’! The non-plus-ultra of hospitality! Run by the amazing Mutti and Vatti the two transform their backyard into a proper beer garden during Wacken, all decked out with gazebos, big tables and comfy chairs. The friendly atmosphere at Muttis Biergarten is just the best, year after year you meet the same faces enjoying a few beers whilst chatting away and munching on some yummy bread rolls.
As tradition has it, Camp Trümmerbruch made it to Muttis and had a lovely time, whilst our ‘newbies’ had to try the famous shot (super spicy shot) very much to the enjoyment of Mutti and Vatti, as they not so quietly suffered.
Dinnertime was calling and we made our way back to the camp ground, stopping at the various shops in the village, on the hunt for some chairs and a gazebo cover. Sadly the hardware store (that purposefully opens during the festival) wasn’t open till tomorrow so we winged it and put all our hopes into the supermarket on the festival ground.
Have you ever been in a festival supermarket the size of several football pitches? Me neither. Upon entering the Kaufland on the Wacken Plaza, I was overwhelmed. The store was MASSIVE! Metal heads running around the aisles between fresh produce, pastries and beer. Right at the entrance we found what we were mainly looking for. CAMPING CHAIRS!
We bought three in one go! Packing our bags with some barbecue goodies, water (because we are responsible adults – haha) and a few drinks we headed back to our camp.
Dinner was delicious! Our resident chef and I did MacGyver proud and with the help of duct tape, a lot of elbow grease and our newly purchased cover sheets (thanks Kaufland for having every possible item that a camper could possibly need) turned into a makeshift super fancy gazebo cover that would shelter us from all the rain that was forecasted for the next few days.
As we all sat around our 3 meter long dining table, Dr Bird brought out the best and at the same time most useless camping accessory ever! A starry night sky mood light that from now on, transformed the ceiling of our gazebo into a shimmering sky full of stars, every night after sun down. Naturally we sat there for hours, had a few more beers and chatted away while we gazed into our very own magical night sky.

FASTER – HARDER -FUTURE!

Day three started with probably the best festival breakfast I had ever had! Our resident chef made the most amazing scrambled eggs ever!
With a little help of our coiffeur, our Wackinator and our newbie Pat they came up with the yummiest scrambled eggs ever. The perks of having a supermarket on site, you can buy bucket loads of eggs 😀
After the breakfast of the champions and a thorough beauty routine our camp was fresh and clean and ready to conquer the world!
Today was the first day the festival area was open, so we made it our mission to explore as much as possible. For their thirty’s birthday WOA have created a few new areas for the metal heads. The Wacken Plaza is home to the supermarket, the wristband exchange and a big food court with delicious food options and some great coffee. As turning thirty means trying out new things, the lovely people at Wacken festival have created an entire new area, the ‘Future Factory’.
An area dedicated to the future of the festival, where metal heads can contribute to the Wacken of the future. The Future Factory offered workshops to topics ranging from sustainability (we all need to save this planet bit by bit) to behind the scenes knowledge of the festival, brought to you by the festival organisers. I visited the Future Factory as well and had a chat with Maren who is one of the initiators of this new project. We talked about the amazing opportunities that the Future Factory gives the metal heads and what it means to be able to ‘get heard’ and being able to ‘make a change’ and help improve the festival.
Maren was very pleased with the turn out over the festival, as many metal heads jumped at the opportunity to have their say. So, let’s keep our eyes open and see what changes the Future Factory team will implement for Wacken 2020!
Camp Trümmerbruch made their way through the entrance of the holy ground and instantly we were filled with so much joy! The sun was shining, we made it to the holy ground in one piece, the sun was shining and we had a drink in hand. What more could you ask for?
The first stages opened and the metal battle was going strong on the newly created ‘History Stage’. We ventured further down to the ‘Wackinger’, the medieval area crossed with the creative genius that is the ‘Wasteland’ and its Wasteland Warriors. Heading for the Wackinger stage we stopped for a new drink and enjoyed some delicious cherry beer (you need to try it, it’s really nice!). We floated around the place to the sounds of some folk metal and found ourselves in front of the (still closed) infield.
It is always such a great sight to see the two massive main stages (Faster & Harder) joined by the infamous Wacken Schädel. The grass still fresh and green, no mud in sight and the anticipation of standing in front of those stages, is something else. The metal market joins the area in front of the infield, where you can shop all things metal till you drop and grab a freshly tapped beer in Wacken’s very own beer garden.
Wacken is just massive, there is so much to see at every corner, the festival ground turns into a fully functioning city during the festival period, complete with hospital, supermarket, beer garden and even an art gallery. 
If you ever make the journey to the holy land of metal do yourself a favour and plan in enough time to just explore! It is hard to believe but WOA has so much more to offer than music.
Whilst we were having a great time on the holy ground the weather gods had other plans. A thunderstorm was cooking up in the distance and as we marvelled at the creative genius of the Wasteland Warriors, the heavens opened. Here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a memory, falling on my head like a new emotion.
After a second of bewilderment (what is this rain thing and why) we got evacuated from the festival grounds by the securities, as the thunderstorm was due to hit the festival ground. Safety first kids!
Dressed in our WOA rain ponchos we were seeking shelter on the Wacken Plaza, where we waited for the thunderstorm to pass, luckily the storm spared the holy ground just circling the festival on the boarders. After that shock we needed a beer, of to the beer stall!
We hung out by the beer stall for too long, made some random new friends (as you do at Wacken). Eventually we made our way back to our camp, the rain had passed and the sun was about to set. Anyone else think, there is something magical about festival sunsets? I love a good sunset over the campground.
Our sky full of stars was greeting us at the camp and we got a little bit too excited over the fact that the big concerts where about to start tomorrow.

FROM VIKINGS AND FAIRIES…

Over the next days our camp grew a bit, as V, Crash and Ulle joined our little festival family. And yes, they brought some spare chairs!
The days were a mixture of being glued to your camping chair and running around the infield catching one band after another. We also had a Swedish Viking, a celestial wood fairy and a beer bike swing by our camp site.
In case you were wondering, the weather actually held up and it was pretty much sunny for the rest of the festival, as you want it to be on your birthday weekend!
As I was chasing mile after mile running around the festival, I met up with some old friends, got to see a part of my family (cause my family rocks!) and just drowned myself in the music, the madness and the metal mayhem.

Let’s take a moment and praise all the amazing human beings that give up their time to make our Wacken experience the best ever?
While we party and bang our heads we sometime forget what goes on behind the scenes and that we can have a good time because other people are working hard. The securities and police who work hard to keep us safe but are not afraid to have a good time and throw their horns in the air. Or the dedicated medics team who will go out their way to aid every injury, minor or major, on site to ensure us metalheads don’t miss our favourite band.
All the stage managers, sound people and crew who make sure our favourite bands turn up on time and sound their best on stage. Let’s not forget every one that makes this festival happen, the amazing cleaning team that keeps the loos fresh and clean, the trash team who saves your camp from drowning in rubbish and the bar staff that always make sure you get an ice cold beer.
Thank you to all staff and crew for thirty years of metal mayhem – you guys rock!

But what about the music Mel? You haven’t said a thing about the bands at Wacken Open Air 2019! I know, but that’s a different story, which you can find here! 😉

x,

2 Replies to “THE WACKEN DIARIES – 30th Anniversary Edition”

  1. Sebastian says: Reply

    Oh, the memories… Thanks Mel, nice read!

    1. Mel London says: Reply

      Thank you 🙂 Would love to say ‘What happens in Wacken, stays in Wacken.’ but some things are too good to not be shared 😉

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