Wacken Things to Do
You can just hear the music and sing along like the majority of the people here but some metalheads participate in some weird ways of metal entertenment :) These are:Headbanging (pic 1): shake your head trying to follow the fast drumming on the thrash metal bands. Long hair will help and make it look more impressive :) Watch out for the people that...more
That’s why you are here anyway! Long live Rock N Roll! There is live music from early in the morning till 03.00am!! The best you can do is print out the running order and highlight the bands you want to see more because otherwise you will run desperate from stage to stage. The schedule is always on time, most of the small bands play 40-45 minutes...more
Wacken village is just an ordinary village with nothing really important to see. So, I guess no others than the metalheads ever visit this place! We walked a bit though (one day before the festival started) to see the houses (pic 1), some nice or sometimes weird gardens (pic 2), cows and horses (pic 3) :) The local super market was full of...more
Gourmet eating is a not high priority at rock festivals. You just need something to fill your stomach as you drink the beers one after the other. There are not real restaurants in the area but you can choose one of the many food stalls on the festival site. They are everywhere and especially inside the stage site they are one next to the other. The...more
Not a restaurant, but one of the many food stalls on the festival site in 2005. This one stood out from the crowd, firstly and literally because it wasn't one of the white plastic, modern affairs you usually see at these events, but a dark wooden, smoky, open hut; and secondly because of the food on offer - none of your anaemic hot-dogs here, but...more
0 Hotels in Wacken
Wacken is an hour away from Hamburg (50km NW).
You can rent a car at Lübeck airport (you don’t have to pass from Hamburg city) or at the Airport-Hamburg. From Hamburg take A7 towards Kiel; then A23 towards Heide; get off at Schenefeld then follow the signs. I noticed that many locals like to put signs or flags with the Wacken logo at the back window (pic 1). There are useful signs along the way (pic 2) and there is a gas station inside the village that has better prices than Berlin (pic 3)
You can take the train to Itzehoe (10km from Wacken, 1h by train from Hamburg). From there you can take the free shuttle buses that run to the festival area until 12.00 the day after the festival.
We usually arrive by bus directly from Hamburg or Berlin. I book my tickets at the Wacken site for the metal travel bus that offers buses from Hamburg (32 euro the return ticket) and Berlin (64 euros the return ticket). I have use them from both cities with no problem. Pic 4 is from Berlin central bus station before our departure and pic 5 is our lovely driver that asked for directions after Hamburg because he got lost :)
The first we do when we reach the festival is going to look for the official t-shirts and merchandise (pic 1). You have to be fast because the good ones will be sold out before the beginning of the festival. But every day they bring new ones, especially with the bands that play during that day.
There is also a big area called Metal Market (pic 2) where you can find many small shops and stalls with souvenirs, clothes, weird decoration stuff, metal accessories. It’s nice to walk there anyway the day before the live music starts.
What’s more there is a specific area (with a 2 euro entrance fee, valid for all days) where you can find vinyl records, cds, dvds etc (pic 3) I used to buy a lot of stuff in the past but last time (2009) were no better that the ones in Greece.
A great souvenir is the beer glasses. Every year they have some new logos on them, in 2009 it was the 20th anniversary and they were colored all over. You pay just 1 euro for each one. I usually buy some of them the first day and then I keep one just for refilling the beer.
Finally, inside the stage site you can find the stall of St.Pauli (pic 4) with great tshirts and other weird souvenirs with the logo of this small football team from Hamburg. The guys that work there are very friendly.
What to pay: official tshirts from 15 euros, plastic glasses from 1 euro, the problem will start if you get into the cd/lp section you will need a fortune.
Wacken Warnings and Dangers
Getting drunk at 8.00am aint good! I saw many people lying on the mud or getting help by nurses and doctors just before they fall into coma and transfered to a hospital . There are people that miss most of the gigs because of the alchohol (pics 1-2), many of them even fail to find their way to the concert area, let aside those who never find their tend :)
Most of them are not dangerous, they just do some stupid things(singing in front of a wall etc).
Something wise is to keep all your money/cameras with you and never let them at the tent. Metalheads are good fellows but there are 70.000 people at the camp site so despite the fact there is security here and there you have to expect some thieve gangs. I have heard about some broken windows in cars also. There are some safety boxes somewhere where you can put something valuable, check the detailed map of the wacken (you can print it out from the official site). It’s a good thing there are ATM machines to withdraw money.
While the men use every tree and backside of every spot to relief themselves the girls have to wait long lines for going to the toilet (pic 3). The ones that you pay for (0.50euro) are very clean while the free public ones are better to be avoid at any cost.
Finally, pay attention and have in hand the running order of the bands because the stage site gets crowded and its difficult to move fast between the big stages. Pic 4 had been taken from the video wall and it can give you an idea of the huge crowd.Related to:
Wacken What to Pack
The problem with rock festivals in countries like Germany is that you will probably get wet because of the rain. A light raincoat is ideal (I have a small one that can be fold up and have it handy in my small back pack). Only a few people hold umprellas (pic 1). The second problem is that even a passing shower will turn the whole area into a mud...more
High heels are never a good idea (especially if it's muddy). A variety of clothes is helpful, because weather forecasts can be wrong, best to be prepared for either a heat-wave or torrential rain (one of those raincoats that folds up very small is a great investment, trust me!). Sunblock is a good idea should the weather be good. It's also a...more
If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.
Festivals aren't just about music, they're about togetherness and community as well. Chat it up with the folks sitting or camping next to you - we spent several hours talking to some really nice German guys whose tents were next to ours, and met more people while waiting for Finntroll. We definitely thought Wacken was a friendlier place than...more
As Wacken runs for three days, it's probably not wise to spend most of your cash on CDs or craft vendors on the first day. Find out when things will begin to shut down on Saturday, and buy your take-home goodies then. First of all, you won't have to deal with them all weekend, and secondly, you won't accidentally run out of money for food on Friday...more