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Around 35,000 ticket-holders are thought to have been denied entry to this year's festival after organisers capped site numbers
By James Hanley on 02 Aug 2023
Around 35,000 ticket-holders are believed to have been denied entry to this year’s Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) after organisers allowed no further admission due to adverse weather conditions.
The 32nd edition of the German metal festival kicked off today (2 August) and is set to run until Saturday, but the site has been hit by rain and thunderstorms in the run-up to the event, leaving the camping areas “impassable”.
Promoter International Concert Service (ICS) advised fans travelling to the event yesterday to temporarily stop their journeys and find a suitable waiting spot, with “massive rain and possible thunderstorms” forecast, but has since permitted no further entry.
“Due to the weather, the acceptable number of visitors for the Wacken Open Air 2023 was reached,” says a statement from ICS. “Any further arrival must be stopped and cancelled immediately. This decision has been made for the first time in the history of the W:O:A. We are very sad, but unfortunately the persistently difficult weather conditions leave us no other choice.”
According to SRF, police say that around 50,000 people had gained admission to the 85,000-cap festival before the ban on additional visitors was imposed. The expanded four-day event sold out in a record six hours when tickets went on sale for its 2023 event last year.
“Despite all our efforts, we had to announce the final admission stop for Wacken Open Air 2023 early this morning, caused by the ongoing weather situation and the effect on the festival grounds,” elaborates ICS in a message to fans on Instagram.
“All ticket holders who were unable to enter the festival will receive a full refund of the ticket price”
“All ticket holders who were unable to enter the festival will receive a full refund of the ticket price,” it continues. “Information regarding all further available products will follow as soon as we get them. Full information about the refund process – including when fans can expect to receive funds – will be sent to you shortly.
“We know that many of you have made huge efforts to attend Wacken 2023 and went on a long journey to come to the festival. We wanted nothing more than to celebrate with every single one of you 85,000 metalheads here on our holy ground. But in the ongoing challenging conditions, we have reached the maximum number of visitors we are able to accommodate this year.”
Organisers say they will “do our best to deliver a full programme” for those who made it through the gates, with acts such as Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Dropkick Murphys, Wardruna, Beartooth, Ensiferum, Pentagram, Jinjer, Nervosa, Deicide, Burning Witches and Two Steps From Hell lined up to perform.
Today’s opening day is also 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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