AreaRead the video transcript here

The Wacken Open Air was sunk in mud at the start. Thousands of festival-goers were no longer allowed to travel – and are frustrated. Some try to get at least something out of the party elsewhere.

Concrete instead of mud, screen instead of live stage: Thousands of metal fans have populated an airfield – just a few kilometers away from the grounds of the metal festival Wacken Open Air.

Kari Kuhlmann, Head of Operations:

"So there was a call from the state office to see if the property owner would make his land available here. Yes, then I was called to it and then it started within a few hours. And then, in a few hours, we set up this camp here."

The alternative camp became necessary because of the days of continuous rain, which had turned the festival area in Wacken into a large mud pit. On Wednesday morning, the organizers therefore announced a complete stop to travel. 10 to 12,000 festival visitors were able to switch to the private airfield near Itzehoe.

Kari Kuhlmann, Head of Operations:

"Yesterday there was still flying here. Of course, that was super interesting for the guests here. And today, air traffic is suspended and there are no problems with that."

Also part of the makeshift camp: a shuttle bus that at least metal fans who had received admission wristbands before the arrival stop come to the Wacken site.

Eberhard Müller, Wacken visitor:

»I think it's awesome.«

"And the weather is good, isn't it?"

Eberhard Müller, Wacken visitor:

"Rhetorical question? Yes, the weather is nice. Great!«

"And are you still driving over?"

Eberhard Müller, Wacken visitor:
"We're going tomorrow and have a nice day over there. Everything fits. Look at it, they're trying so hard. Just great, totally awesome. Super, respect, chapeau, perfect, all good.«

But despite all the effort that the organizers of the »Mini-Wacken« have made: Some fans no longer have a festival atmosphere.

Iris Evers, metal fan:
"It doesn't feel like it, it just doesn't feel like it. The feeling is just broken. We're staying here."

The »metalheads« are used to mud, but the muddy start of the Wacken Open Air 2023 will still be remembered by many. The festival in Schleswig-Holstein started late on Wednesday due to the ongoing weather and terrain situation, six bands could not perform. According to the police, around 50,000 fans came to the site beforehand, then it was over. Another 35,000 expected festival visitors were denied access – for the first time in Wacken history.

Thomas Jensen, Organizer:

"Some are on the plots, some unfortunately had to stay at home – or turn around. We are infinitely sorry for those we didn't get here. But you see the pictures on the socials and it is what it is.«

Many of the fans affected by the admission ban are not appeased by apologies or alternative camps. In the social networks there are accusations against the organizers, the disappointment is apparently great. After all, those who were not allowed in should get their money back. The tickets cost just under 300 euros.