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Articles : Wacken Open Air 2018 – Preview

By on June 6, 2018

Wacken Open Air
2018 Preview

Europeans are spoilt for choice when it comes to summer heavy metal festivals. There are countless festivals held all across the northern continent ranging from smaller events to multi-day/multi-stage affairs. Despite the range of options, there is one festival in particular which has a reputation like no other; ‘Heavy metal Mecca’; Waken Open Air.

It’s hard to believe that just 28 years ago the festival was a small event for approximately 800 visitors, and featured just six local German bands. Fast forward to 2018 and the scale of this festival is truly enormous.  Over the last few years, approximately 85,000 die-hard heavy metal fans and staff have travelled to the village of Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany to attend Waken Open Air. Think about that again for a moment. 85,000 metalheads from around the world descending on a small village in rural Germany for a 3-day festival. The scale of this event is simply mind-boggling – it’s no wonder W:O:A has a purpose built brewery and pipeline on site!

In 2018 Waken Open Air is a 4-day affair, with a small number of bands kicking off proceedings on Wednesday the 1st of August before the traditional Thursday to Saturday format commences on the 2nd. Although the first band plays on Wednesday, the campgrounds will start filling up much earlier in the week as the hordes of denim-clad metal fans make their pilgrimage to the holy land and set up camp.

Once there, festival goers have plenty to see and do with the live music being the main attraction alongside a range of other attractions including heavy metal markets and plenty of food and beverage offerings. In some regards attending a festival like W:O:A is equally about the atmosphere and experiences provided in the wider festival and camping grounds as it is about the live music, but true to form the organisers have delivered an outstanding and diverse line-up – some highlights include; Judas Priest, Nightwish, In Flames, Ghost, Helloween – Pumpkins United, Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, Arch Enemy, Children Of Bodom, Gojira, Samael, Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Ensiferum, Wintersun, Amorphis.

The organisers of Waken do a fantastic job each year and are always looking to improve the experience for the punters. This year the festival has their own smartphone app! The app allows you to select your favourite band. Hope to see you there!

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Chris is a long time metal enthusiast and advocate for Australian heavy music scene. Chris grew up in Perth, Western Australia and is a past member of modern melodeath act Let's Kill Uncle. Currently residing in London, UK.