The 32nd Wacken Open Air officially started last Wednesday, August 02. For the first time, Wednesday was a full festival day with program also on the main area.
In the early morning hours, after an extremely difficult start of the week with massive rainfall, a final admission stop had to be announced – for the first time in the history of W:O:A. Despite all efforts, this step could not be avoided due to the weather situation and the impact on the grounds. All those who could not attend the festival because of this will be refunded the ticket price.
Organizer Holger Hübner comments:
First and foremost, we would like to thank the metalheads we had to turn away. It must be clear to all fans on the ‘Holy Ground’ that those who stayed at home or traveled home make the festival possible here. For that, they deserve all our thanks, humility and respect. The huge solidarity Wacken Open Air, the metalheads and our community are experiencing right now from the region and all over the world gives us strength and energy to continue doing everything we can to overcome the difficult situation. You are the best fans in the whole wide world, rain or shine!
The day got off to a historic start with the ashes of Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister arriving at W:O:A. With that, the legendary Motörhead frontman found another resting place in Wacken – a place that meant a piece of home to him.
In his honor, a parade took place under the motto “Lemmy Forever”, which led through the village to the festival grounds and past the Louder Stage. Classics by the band resounded from three trucks in Motörhead design, carrying among others by celebrating metalheads, DJs and the Wacken Firefighters, while the two Motörhead members Phil Campbell (guitar) and Mikkey Dee (drums) accompanied the urn of their singer and bassist, who died in 2015, in another vehicle. The final destination was the Landgasthof Wacken, where fans from all over the world will find a memorial for the genre-defining rock’n’roll icon.
For this purpose, Lemmy’s dressing room was recreated, authentically complete with slot machine, whiskey bottle, book collection and custom-made leather boots, as well as a Rickenbacker bass and amplifier tower. Here, the urn was placed behind glass by Mikkey Dee, Phil Campbell and organizer Thomas Jensen.
Lemmy was a friend of the W:O:A, and we all adore Lemmy. I’m sure he wouldn’t have wanted a quiet funeral march, so we’re happy that we were able to give him a proper welcome to Wacken. It fills us with pride that he returned to the ‘Holy Ground’ one last time.
From 1997 to 2014, Motörhead played eight times at the ‘Holy Ground’. The exhibition in the Landgasthof Wacken at Hauptstraße 25 is to remain permanently.
Despite the consequences of the extreme weather for the festival site and thanks to the tireless efforts of all crews and not least the support of the guests, the stage program started. Postponements unfortunately could not be avoided; appearances by the Wacken Firefighters as well as six participants in the international band contest „Metal Battle“ had to be canceled. The storming of the “infield”, i.e. the area in front of the main stages, by the metalheads proved to be an equally exciting and emotional moment, which heralded the official start of the festival and took place for the first time on Wednesday already.
Broilers from Düsseldorf, who had been announced surprisingly only two days ago, provided one of the day’s highlight on the big “Faster Stage“. The crowning finale was Doro‘s “40th Anniversary Show”, with which the “Queen of Metal” celebrated four decades in the name of heavy metal. During her hit-laden, two-hour headlining performance, she welcomed a number of legends of rock and metal history as guests, such as Udo Dirkschneider (U.D.O.), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Joey Belladonna (Anthrax), Michael Rhein (In Extremo), Mikkey Dee (Scorpions/Motörhead), Phil Campbell (Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons/Motörhead), Chris Caffery (TSO), Sabina Classen (Holy Moses), Sammy Amara (Broilers) and guitar icon Uli Jon Roth. Doro also commemorated Lemmy Kilmister – with countless Verge Aero light drones that painted the head of the Motörhead legend onto the Wacken night sky.
More info in W:O:A 2023 is available from www.wacken.com
About Wacken Open Air:
Wacken Open Air is the largest heavy metal festival in the world. Starting with 800 visitors in 1990, nowadays 85,000 fans from all over the world travel to Wacken every year, turning the small village in Schleswig-Holstein into the center of the festival scene for several days. The organizing WOA Festival GmbH is connected to a broad network including band management, the Wacken Foundation, tour booking, music publishing, metal travel, merchandising distribution and ticketing. In cooperation with partners, this results in creative solutions and ideas that revolutionize the festival experience, enable technical innovations and produce extraordinary event concepts. Wacken Open Air 2023 is taking place from August 2 to 5, 2023.