"Undress, undress": The Wacken Open Air 2022 is open

Wacken Open Air had to be canceled two years in a row due to the corona pandemic.

"Undress, undress": The Wacken Open Air 2022 is open

Wacken Open Air had to be canceled two years in a row due to the corona pandemic. But now Lutzi is finally back at the world's biggest heavy metal festival - with bands like Judas Priest and Slipknot, but also Höhner and of course the Wacken Firefighters.

Faster, harder, louder - even before the official start on Thursday, the boxes on the smaller stages of the heavy metal festival Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) will be really cranked up. For example, the Wacken Firefighters entered the stage shortly before 11 a.m. on Wednesday to complete their traditional festival performance. "Wacken, Wacken, fire brigade" chants resounded against the music procession of the Wacken volunteer fire brigade. The area in front of the Wackinger Stage was well filled.

In summer weather, the musicians not only performed folk songs or hits like "Rosamunde", but also instrumental cover versions of modern pop songs like "Let me entertain you" by Robbie Williams. The metalheads sang along loudly to songs like "Skandal im Sperrgebiet". Again and again there were "Undress, undress" calls in the direction of Kapellmeister Stefan Bumann. "It's so fun to see you guys again," he said. Fans made the polonaise several times.

Groups such as Avantasia and Epica are also scheduled to perform on the third largest stage of the festival on Wednesday. The two large main stages, in the middle of which a huge metal bull's skull hangs, will not be used until Thursday.

According to the organizers, the heavy metal festival is sold out with 75,000 visitors. Metal fans have been traveling north for this for days. Black T-shirts and cowls already dominated the scene in town on Tuesday. "Finally normal people again," said festival visitor Nina Still.

On Wednesday, around 750 heavy metal fans arrived on the so-called "Metal Train" in Itzehoe, Schleswig-Holstein, from where they were supposed to continue to Wacken. "Everything has remained calm," said federal police spokesman Jürgen Henningsen. The train was sold out.

Metal fan Sepp Blaser from Bavaria was also there. The journey was "hard". The train started in Munich shortly after 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening. The arrival in Itzehoe was on Wednesday at 9.30 a.m. As the train pulled in, a long drawn-out "Wackeeeen" would often be heard from the open windows. "It's always a party train," said the federal police spokesman.

The actual start of the W:O:A is on Thursday (selected concerts can be streamed live on RTL). Many bands and performers of the harder musical style will be performing there until Saturday. The line-up includes Judas Priest, Slipknot, Powerwolf, Hämatom, Lordi and Venom. But punk veterans like Slime and, for the first time, the Cologne-based mood combo Höhner are also part of the party.

In 1990, 800 heavy metal fans celebrated in the small town of Wacken for the first time. After that, the festival got bigger and bigger, most recently 75,000 people came regularly. This year, more than 95 percent of the fans exchanged their tickets for the festival, which was canceled again last year due to the corona pandemic. The rest of the tickets were raffled off via a waiting list.

(This article was first published on Wednesday, August 03, 2022.)

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