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ibthecrusher
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:44 am
Posts: 16
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:07 pm 
 

Was seriously considering a vacation to Germany next year, and a part of my plan was to kick it off by attending Wacken Open Air.

I was wondering if any of you guys had been, and if so, what you'd recommend I bring/buy where/when (as I'm coming from the US). Do you recommend camping out? Hotels? The Wacken site has some resources for that, but I figured I'd consult you guys, as well. Because, fuck, everybody who is planning on going has probably all ready checked those out.

Also, if you had any cool stories about the festival to share, or maybe you'd discourage me from attending, feel free to do so. I'm aware that there are other German festivals that many users here prefer over Wacken (I'd imagine a festival of its size and fame might be getting overplayed or lame at this point in many people's eyes). Just trying to figure out how to make three weeks or so in Germany/Europe as metal as possible.

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Turner
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2002 2:04 am
Posts: 1072
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:53 am 
 

i've rambled about WOA a few times on here - just did a quick search and here's what i had to say about it last year (funnily enough, i ended up going AGAIN last year at the last minute, as my ex-gf's dad wanted to sell his ticket (long story, lol!)):

i wrote:
i've been twice and even though i personally wouldn't go again, i think at least for the first time, for a massive metal festival experience and all that jazz, wacken is perfect. it's kinda hard to describe - for about 3 or 4 nights beforehand hamburg is just full of pissed metalheads, and is a total riot. the drive up the highway to wacken is an experience in itself, it's just a constant stream of cars all boozing up and hooting... yeah, it's immature, but pretty cool if you've never seen anything like it before. the festival itself has pros and cons, so i'll list a few:

pros
- all the bigger metal bands play wacken sooner or later, and at LEAST half the bands doing the european festival circuit in any given year will be playing.
- if you're into boozing... fuck, this is the place to do it. almost every person you meet is a potential day-long drinking buddy, they have massive drinking halls and tents set up... even if you miss the bands, it's a party and a half.
- you can piss WHEREVER THE HELL YOU WANT
- the metal markets are insanely massive. CDs, shirts, vinyl, and anything else you can think of. if you can't get it there, it either doesn't exist.
- the swimming pool in the town. GO to the swimming pool.
- the organisation and setup is as good as it gets; bands play on time, you can SEE the screens even if you can't see the bands, there are enough toilets, beer tents, etc

cons
- the size is the obvious one. depending on where you're camping, it takes an hour or so to get to the festival area. and getting a beer while the headliners are playing can be a nightmare.
- drunk teenagers that scream "WAAACKKKENN!!!!!" endlessly, try to set everything on fire, etc. i think residents of schleswig-holstein get free/discounted tickets, so there are a few that go purely to act up.
- half the festival roster is always gimmicky shit that no one outside germany cares about - subway to sally, in extremo, die apokalyptischen reiter, that "band" that makes metal acappella sounds, etc etc.
- it starts to resemble a giant urinal after a while, and after a while all the tracks turn to mud (but this is fairly standard festival fare)
- i think it's pretty expensive these days, at least compared to the smaller festivals.

so in short, i'd say unless you're one of those really uptight doom metal/dark ale metalheads, you'd enjoy wacken once. tbh the bands are only half the fun. the rest of the time is spent having an absolutely (admittedly booze-soaked) good rowdy time in the summer sun, etc. that being said, i'd personally rather go to smaller festivals - not out of any faux-misanthropy, but just because it's easier to get around. i guess what i'm saying is that it's more than a concert.


ok so in summary, that's pretty good. i'll add this:

getting there: don't take a car, it's not worth the hassle. take the train from hamburg to itzehoe, then either get the "metal shuttle" or private taxi it to wacken (it's about 20km). last year i got the train to itzehoe, then cycled with a backpack full of crap to the festival ground - probably the best festival entrance ever. i didn't have to wait for the bus with everyone else and their piles of stuff, i just enjoyed a nice calm ride through the forest/farmland in the area. plus, the individual campsites are a lot closer to the festival area than the combined camping/parking areas, which matters when you're somewhere the size of wacken.

definitely camp - your only other options will be a LONG way away. all b&b-type accommodation will already be full, there are no hotels as it's the middle of the country, etc. i'd just buy all my camping gear on the way somewhere - they sell crappy tents in town for about 20 euros, those 3-prong stools that always break for about 10, and there's a supermarket where you can get water, beer and tins of shitty food. make sure you get either a good pair of boots or a pair of wellies, too. at least one cyclone per festival is kinda guaranteed.

also, here is a PRO TIP and a half: if you go to the pool, it's like having a shower but with more fun.

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inhumanist
Metal freak

Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:09 pm
Posts: 4205
Location: 50 Forts Along The Rhine
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:09 am 
 

Hey, nothing against Die Apokalyptischen Reiter you shmock :fuck:
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DreamOfDarkness
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:09 pm
Posts: 174
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:25 am 
 

I was there in 2011 and 2012 but won't be this year. As Turner already said it's something you should visit at least once, just because it's so huge and impressive to see. Camping without a car is definitely a good idea, because the best camping sites (close to the festval area) are reserved for handicapped and camping-only. I think except for a waterproof tent and a camping chari there isn't much you need to "survive" the festival because somehow it ends up working fine. The people there are for the most part really nice and although the WOA became much more mainstream in the past years, the douchebag-rate ist still quite low.
However, I think a lot of the money from the very expensive tickets is spent on stupid gimmicks (wrestling and strip shows, pyrotechnic show...) instead of the important things: reasonably priced beer, clean toilets and great underground bands. Yes, there are 120 bands, but also many filler bands no one cares about.

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crises79
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu May 30, 2013 5:50 am
Posts: 80
Location: Netherlands
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:43 am 
 

ibthecrusher wrote:
Was seriously considering a vacation to Germany next year, and a part of my plan was to kick it off by attending Wacken Open Air.

I was wondering if any of you guys had been, and if so, what you'd recommend I bring/buy where/when (as I'm coming from the US). Do you recommend camping out? Hotels? The Wacken site has some resources for that, but I figured I'd consult you guys, as well. Because, fuck, everybody who is planning on going has probably all ready checked those out.

Also, if you had any cool stories about the festival to share, or maybe you'd discourage me from attending, feel free to do so. I'm aware that there are other German festivals that many users here prefer over Wacken (I'd imagine a festival of its size and fame might be getting overplayed or lame at this point in many people's eyes). Just trying to figure out how to make three weeks or so in Germany/Europe as metal as possible.


Ok, which period would you be thinking of exactly? Because Germany is rife with festivals in August.

If you're in to extreme metal such as death/black or extreme thrash: check out Party San Open Air. About 5 to 10.000 people attending. Usually a high quality line up, fantastic organisation (the three times I have been). Usually it starts the wednesday after Wacken.
That same weekend after wacken in Czech Republic you can enjoy Brutal Assault. (This festival also focusses on the more extreme bands, but keeps a wider perspective. Still shares about half the line up with PSOA)

The weekend after that is Summer Breeze. This Festival is medium sized, with a varied line up, much like Wacken, but not so many people. Still too much for my taste: 30 to 40.000 people.

The weeks leading up to Wacken you can go to multiple festivals through out Germany. Eisenwahn, Dong Open Air and a few more.

I've been to Wacken once, in 2008. But I wasn't overjoyed at being there. It was the first summer in more than 10 years that I visited festivals and with Graspop and Metalcamp under my belt I really wasn't all that happy with Wacken. I only arrived in the evening on wednesday, but fortunately we had a spot saved for us at our friends' camp. They always have the same damned spot on Camping B, practically next to the festival terrain. It's a very mixed group with nationalities spanning the globe. There are about 200 people in that group; most are from Israel, The Netherlands and Germany, and they even have a name: Brothers of Beer. A lively bunch, who do their name proud: in 2008 an ambulance had to be brought in 7 times in 7 days... In the end I just found it too crowded, too many people not interested in metal music, but just there to get shitfaced, too poor an organisation (too little of practically anything from toilets to showers to what ever you can think of). The one time I truly had fun that weekend, was in the Wacken municipal swimming pool. That was a lot of fun.

And for the you have to see it once: my first experience with huge ass metal festivals was when Dynamo Open Air in The Netherlands still was the largest one in the world. In it's heyday that drew more than 100.000 people (mostly Germans).
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ibthecrusher
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:44 am
Posts: 16
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:39 pm 
 

I'm appreciating the perspectives so far.

Well, I was shooting for next August-with my trip starting as close to Wacken as possible. Bookending it with Summer Breeze seems like an increasingly better idea and very much in the budget I'd considered. Throwing Bloodstock or Brutal Assault in between might work, depending on where I wanted to take my trip. I was hoping to at least hit up Germany, the UK, Norway, and Sweden, though we'll see how the money pans out.

Also, if any of you guys are from the US, how did you do your cellular phone setup? Did you just eat the massive charges, do the SIM card trick, sign up with google phone, viber, etc?

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Littlewolf
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue May 01, 2007 4:18 am
Posts: 146
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:26 pm 
 

it' s very cold at night, so if you're sensitive to cold like I am, I suggest you take an extra pair of long sleeves an a winter sleeping bag...
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Turner
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2002 2:04 am
Posts: 1072
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 6:39 pm 
 

inhumanist wrote:
Hey, nothing against Die Apokalyptischen Reiter you shmock :fuck:


haha, sorry!

also RE summer breeze: based on my experience from 2008, don't do it!!! it was really badly organised - no big screens (despite 20,000+ strong crowd), toilets overflowing with shit 24/7, the festival ground has the stages at the top of a hill (the further you are back from the stage, the more of a disadvantage you have), and the band selection is more or less the same as wacken's.

if you want smaller, go to party.san - everything about that festival kicked arse. none of the waiting times of the bigger festivals, abundance of toilets, more "serious" bands (although a much smaller selection), pool in town nearby and it was just a much more enjoyable experience. none of the stress coming/going that the larger festivals give.

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ibthecrusher
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:44 am
Posts: 16
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:41 pm 
 

I guess the next step to be taken is actually buying the ticket. Is it a huge sell out risk if I wait ten days (the next time I get paid) after the tickets go on sale? If I have three people in my party, do we need to order together?

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Warlocks_amulet
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:56 pm
Posts: 210
Location: Depths ov Hell, Germany
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 3:26 am 
 

I don't know if waiting ten days would be safe, but if you can't afford it until then, then you can't afford it.

I know I'm buying mine the minute they go on sale tonight, just to be as safe as possible.

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DreamOfDarkness
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:09 pm
Posts: 174
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 5:01 am 
 

Last year they sold out within a few months (after Rammstein was confirmed...), so ten days should be no problem. Also, expect massive server problems when ordering right at the start.

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Warlocks_amulet
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:56 pm
Posts: 210
Location: Depths ov Hell, Germany
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:57 am 
 

60,000 tickets sold as of today, if you want to get your hands on one, you should probably hurry.

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Razakel
Nekroprince

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:36 pm
Posts: 4859
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:48 am 
 

I just returned from my third Wacken visit and it was as good as ever. My main advice is to go with a good group of friends; campsite shenanigans are always at least as fun as the best bands. It's a really well put together festival with consistently great sound, punctual performances, etc. The food is eh, but pretty good for festival food. The fest is right beside the town of Wacken so it's really easy to just head into town whenever you want to grocery shop and whatever. Yeah, I pretty much have nothing bad to say about it. The weather this year could have been a bit more agreeable; it was either uncomfortably scorching or flash-showering for 20 minutes, turning most of the festival grounds into mud. The past two years I've gone (2009 and 2010) had much better weather, though.

Oh, and in case you weren't aware, the line up already confirmed for next year is FUCKING INCREDIBLE. FUCKING EMPEROR!!!!!! King Diamond, Behemoth, Kreator, Amon Amarth. God dammit I wish those bands played this year.

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Warlocks_amulet
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:56 pm
Posts: 210
Location: Depths ov Hell, Germany
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:29 am 
 

Tickets are now sold out.
http://www.wacken.com/en/woa2014/main-n ... auft-8818/

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ibthecrusher
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:44 am
Posts: 16
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:49 am 
 

Well, I managed to grab a Christmas Package, so I guess I'm locked in. Now's the planning phase.

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corpsewithoutsoul
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:07 pm
Posts: 161
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:53 pm 
 

Sold out, huh? Lame. I heard King Diamond was playing and I'm planning to be in Europe around that time anyway. Ah well.
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Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgesch├╝tz

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
Posts: 3726
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:24 pm 
 

inhumanist wrote:
Hey, nothing against Die Apokalyptischen Reiter you shmock :fuck:


Beat me to it. How dare you.
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Warlocks_amulet
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:56 pm
Posts: 210
Location: Depths ov Hell, Germany
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:30 pm 
 

corpsewithoutsoul wrote:
Sold out, huh? Lame. I heard King Diamond was playing and I'm planning to be in Europe around that time anyway. Ah well.


He is, along with an Emperor reunion show with Faust on drums, which I'm stoked for.

Aside from those, Amon Amarth, Behemoth, Children of Bodom, Iced Earth and Kreator are all confirmed.. plus a few other bands I don't give a shit about.

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