I did not go to Wacken Open Air, the “heavy metal Woodstock” that occurs every year in the farm fields outside of the town of Wacken, Germany on the first weekend of August. If you read this blog regularly you know that I’ve written a lot about Wacken, and it’s been a major part of my life–I went to the festival 12 times between 2000 and 2014, which is a lot for an American. In a very real sense a part of my life and identity lies in those farm fields where I’ve met so many friends, heard so many great bands and drank so much beer. While I wasn’t there in 2017, one of my friends, Tom Krüger from Elmshorn, Germany, was there, and he took a lot of amazing pictures which he agreed for me to show you on this blog.
On the whole, Wacken 2017 appears to have been successful, despite a return of the element that plagues so many festivals: mud. Rain before and during the festival turned campgrounds and pathways into quagmires. I watched several bands on the Wacken livestream over the Web, including Ross the Boss, Megadeth, Alice Cooper, Avantasia and Amon Amarth, and all of them were very sharp, fun performances. I saw rain several times and on social media throughout the weekend I saw numerous photos like Tom’s, full of muddy boots and swampy, grassy bogs. But I also saw a lot of another image too: the smiling faces of metalheads who simply refuse to be deterred by some boggy ground and the occasional shower or two.
This brings back memories of my own Wacken adventures, especially 2005, the “cold and rainy Wacken,” at least the record-holder before the events of 2012 and 2015 that many long-time festivalgoers believed were worse. Nonetheless, Wacken endures as a tradition. These photos show it. Enjoy!