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Rainstorms halt entry for Wacken festivalgoers

Ticket-holders have been asked to temporarily "refrain from further journeys to Wacken" amid the "extremely difficult situation"

By James Hanley on 01 Aug 2023

The two elderly men were among 75,000 metalheads attending this year's Wacken

Wacken Open Air

Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) organisers have halted entry to the festival as a result of “persistently difficult weather conditions”, just a day before the event is due to begin.

The 32nd edition of the 80,000-cap German metal institution is set to run from 2-5 August with acts such as Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Dropkick Murphys, Wardruna, Beartooth, Ensiferum, Pentagram, Jinjer, Nervosa, Deicide, Burning Witches and Two Steps From Hell on the bill.

“Bad weather sometimes happens at festivals. Rain or shine. But rarely to this extent,” said yesterday’s (31 July) statement from promoter International Concert Service (ICS), which added that the camping areas were “impassable” and advised fans travelling to the event to stop their journeys and find a suitable waiting spot until conditions improved.

However, the restrictions remain in place a day later, with ticket-holders are asked to “refrain from further journeys to Wacken” and wait for updates amid the “extraordinary situation”.

“We are in constant, cooperative exchange with all relevant authorities and responsible persons in order to continue to ensure the safety of fans, employees and all people in the region,” says the latest message from organisers. “Due to the persistently difficult weather conditions with rainfall amounts of approximately 40 litres per square meter in the last 24 hours, and the resulting condition of the camping areas, event areas and the access roads, the areas could not be filled at a sufficient speed.

“Unfortunately, according to the meteorologists present on site, massive rain and possible thunderstorms are still to be expected at any time and on a continuing basis”

“Unfortunately, according to the meteorologists present on site, massive rain and possible thunderstorms are still to be expected at any time and on a continuing basis. Currently, we are working off the vehicles that are still temporarily parked in traffic jams or on external and private areas. We have to tow each vehicle individually to the targeted parking space with a tractor, which takes a lot of time for every single vehicle. All tractors are in continuous use day and night on all areas.

“We decide from hour to hour and ask for your understanding for this extremely difficult situation. You support us the most if you stay at home now.”

Superstruct Entertainment added W:O:A to its stable of European festivals in 2019 after investing in Germany’s ICS. The expanded four-day festival sold out in a record six hours when tickets went on sale for its 2023 event last year.

Tomorrow’s opening day is scheduled to feature a ceremony for the late Lemmy, led by Motörhead bandmates Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee, which will see the rock legend’s ashes “find a new home in Wacken” as part of the “Lemmy Forever” weekend celebrations.


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