ETL’s Quest for Wacken

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I personally see music as only a fraction of the total concert-going experience. I despise having to sit through a show and I hate it when the audience stands or mills about apathetically. I like there to be a vigorous mosh pit and crowd surfing and for a certain crowd mentality to overcome individuality or feelings of personal safety. Quite obviously, I’ve suffered injury at a concert before. Just the same, I know what I like and I am willing to go far and wide to get it.

Wacken Open Air was attended by 60,000 metalheads last year. It is the largest and most awesome heavy metal concert in the world and takes place annually in a small village called Wacken (also known as “Full Metal Village”), not too far from Hamburg, Germany. After consulting Pollstar I became somewhat disgusted with what the U.S. of A had to offer, especially when contrasted to the wonders of Germany. A certain nostalgia resurfaced for the sort of concert that spans days and involves camping in an atmosphere of general amiability with serious raucous breaking out every few minutes. Finally, I made a financially irresponsible decision.

This year WOA takes place August 2-4 and on this page I will document exactly what I am going through to attend. You are welcome to shoot an e-mail to eat.the.lemons Meandering.Entertainer at gmail.com or to leave a comment here for more (or more concise) information. Don’t be stingy with any tips you may have. So far, even though I am reckless with funds, I am trying to keep it under control by cutting costs where I can. I am also putting aside good sense. This is my Quest:

May 25th I found out about WOA and bitched to friends about it being so far away and me being so poor and how I already missed Lacuna Coil and Type O Negative when they were around NYC and how much I wish I could see Moonspell again (Just see the List of WOA Bands to understand what I was feeling). That same day I checked out the ticket info and found out that for a mere 99 Euro (about $130) I can have all the Wacken concert going and camping and garbage disposal and Swimmarea and movie night that I can handle. Oh, and I would get a STICKER!

June 1st I made my decision in a caffeine-fueled bout of romanticism. I read haphazardly through the broken English on the WOA site and tried to buy my concert ticket through metaltix.com. I then found out that instead my ticket will be reserved at the village store, my metaltix order was cancelled and the e-mail floodgate between me and the Germans opened up. Just because you should see it, this is their adorable English:

“We would like to offer you that we reserve the tickets for you directly at the festival site. We have any problems to send the tickets to your country because there are problems to bring it trough the custom. We have in Wacken a supermarket who calls Edeka MARKT JENSEN there we reserved tickets for people they comes from abrought. We make the reservation at your name. The supermarket is very easy to find we have only one in Wacken at the beginning of the village on the left site. So you can pick up and pay for the tickets at the EDEKAMARKT JENSEN. Please tell us if it´s OK for you so that we can make the reservation for you.”

June 2nd I spent nearly a thousand dollars on my airplane ticket. The moral here is to start looking earlier, although really, travel during the summer is always stupid expensive. I used expedia.com but later found a slightly lower fair at www.sidestep.com which is a search engine for various travel sites.

June 10th I found out about the Full Metal Bag and rejoiced at my free WOA condom. (Just click on the image, reading not necessary here.)

June 15th or so I was overwhelmed with various ways to reach Wacken from Hamburg (to where I am flying from JFK on the 31st of July) all stated in German or broken English and with no clear conclusions. I e-mailed Remedy Records in Hamburg to reserve their shuttle (no reply) and also tried to book something through Deutsche Bahn which really just made me more panicked since no train was available for when I needed it.

June 16th I finally checked out the Running Order and found out about the Metal Karaoke they plan to engage in starting with Wednesday night. Since I arrive on Wednesday and so far planned to be lonely and intimidated for the first night, this chance at serious entertainment came as a relief. Then I e-mailed metaltix and asked them if they can chat with Remedy Records for me.

June 18th I got a reply from Remedy Records with a chart of shuttle departures and arrivals between Hamburg and Wacken. I quickly reserved a shuttle departing Hamburg Wednesday at 5pm and then one going back from Wacken at 11am Sunday. If you need more info, certainly leave a comment or e-mail me and I’ll put you in touch with Petra who apparently speaks English.

June 19th I received an old issue military sleeping bag I bought on e-bay that is so far missing the sleeping mat. I will be tightly tucked in whether I like it or not. I’m now considering what my packing list should include and am not sure how it will all fit in my backpack. Everything I bring with me has to be carryon since it would be disastrous if my tent got lost somewhere between NYC and Hamburg and because I actually don’t have time to stand around and wait for bags if I am to make it to Remedy Records in time.

June 20th I made an appt with the eye doctor to get the sort of contacts I can sleep in since glasses are definitely out of the questions. After some questioning, I finally revealed that I will not simply be camping where glasses make sense, but I will be at a music festival where my glasses will be knocked off my face and trampled by the crowd. The optometrist smirked at me, left without a word and came back with sample contacts which he doesn’t recommend I sleep in but which are free.
June 28th a job assignment fucked up my camping trip plans for the 4th of July. I wanted to make sure I pack adequately. I also bought yet another sleeping bag which promises to be incredibly compact.

July 18th: I decided to make a myspace page to try and keep in touch with you awsome guys who contacted me and are going to WOA too. Thats in the works, since myspace is the devil and I tried to keep away. But oh well, you’re worth it. I also decided it was time to start compiling a packing list, so, here is what I got so far in no particular order:

  • flashlight
  • tent
  • sunblock and bug spray
  • bungee cords
  • sleeping bag
  • sleeping pad
  • small notebook, pen, pencil
  • tape recorder (i may attack anyone who speaks English with pretenses at an interview)
  • camera (can’t decide if i should risk it being digital
  • comfy sneakers Combat boots, 3 pair of shorts, 1 pair of jeans, 5 changes of underwears, 5 shirts, a hat, a poncho, long johns to sleep in
  • bathroom stuff: a baggy of toothbrush and toothpaste, vaseline, liquid soap, wash cloth, towel, shower shoes, lotion, contacts liquid and contacts, scant make up, hair brush, shampoo/conditioner.
  • a huge book to last me through all the commuting
  • a hoodie
  • inflatable pillow
  • a travel alarm clock

July 25th: I read this article about WOA by Brat in Metal-Rules.com and decided that I need to find waterproof boots as well as a warmish and water proofish jacket. And then I checked the weather. And I twitched with apprehension. They’re expecting at least a drizzle on the 1st. And the degrees aren’t climbing too far past 70F.

July 30th: I FLY TOMMOROW!!! in the meantime, fellow metaller e-mailed me some PDFs that may be helpful in finding Remedy Records. These are PDF files:Hamburg Airport to nameless Hostel ; remedy records location from nameless hostel.

July 31st: FINALLY realized, much too late of course, that I could sample all the Wacken music at LastFm.com

August 7th: I am back, I am bruised, I am happy. An article (or two) is forthcoming.

August 28th: Saving up cash-money for Wacken 2008, whatever the lineup. Posted part 1 of Losing My Wacken Virginity and am realizing the experience was too immense to really describe. Plus, I really didn’t see any of the heavyweights because I spent too much time inebriated.


Related Articles:

    • Rob
    • June 26th, 2007

    You should try to get one of the new Gore-tex sleeping bags…smaller, better made, and comes with a compression bag. Keep the updates coming. Peace.

    • Dan
    • July 9th, 2007

    Hi man im from the uk and i found the broken english within wacken to be hard to follow worse than what it would be if it was all in german.

    Can you get in touch with us if poss about the details ive booked my plane and accomodation (getting there 3 days early) for under 150£

    yeh basicaly i was gona catch the train there and walk 8 miles / hitchhike from the nearest village where the train drops you off.
    so any details involving cheap direct travel would be a bonus ( need as much money as pos for beer)worked out our trainjoruney would be 30 – 60£ but its unclear . thanks for your help if you aint to busy

    • kelli
    • July 16th, 2007

    hey dude i totaly understand what your going throught. its my first time this year as well and im up all the way from new zealand to take part .. ive been on the net for an hour now trying to figure out how to get from hamburg to wacken on the wednesday. you should totaly let me know if you figure out how to do it. or we could have some beers togther at wacken.. if either of us make it ther in the end :P

    • Sam Adlam
    • July 19th, 2007

    Getting to Wacken from Hamburg is easy.

    You can get a train from either Hamburg main station or Altona to Itzehoe. This costs just over 10 Euros.

    Outside Itzehoe station should be a pretty constant stream of shuttle buses. This will cost you a 2 or 3 Euros and will take you to the campsite. Its worth noting that main land Europeans still can find the concept of a queue hard to grasp. Bless them.

    If in doubt, follow/ask the ‘Metallers’ you will no doubt see along the way.

    • eatthelemons
    • July 20th, 2007

    Thanks so much Sam! I checked the train schedules and then realized that i had NO IDEA which should be the final train station since there were a couple that started with “Itzehoe.” However, you are right about following the metallers who will surely swarm the station and who will carry me away in their flood one way or the other.

    • Mark
    • December 30th, 2007

    Hey ETL, me and a few of my friends are going to Wacken this year from the UK. We’re staying in Hamburg for a week before it (24th-30th) then travelling to Wacken.

    If there’s any way you could get in touch with me, that’d be awesome, I have a few questions to ask you!

    My email is: mark-graham@hotmail.co.uk

    Or hit me up on MSN messenger with the same address as above

    • eatthelemons
    • January 6th, 2008

    Sure thing. I e-mailed you, but it looks like spam filter got me. E-mail us at meandering.entertainer @gmail.com. Rock on!

  1. Hello just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know
    a few of the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why
    but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

      • eatthelemons
      • July 25th, 2013

      This is from a time long ago when I trusted in people uploading pics and leaving them there. Thanks for the heads up. I’m going to have to delete the broken links since that means those pics are lost forever :(

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