Wacken Open Air 2007 then. A big metallic pile of 80.000 fuckin’ people, drinking, shouting, headbanging, fucking, singing and all that comes when you put so many young people together.
It was awesome!
So, I guess it’s finally time to sit down and write about this thing. Boy is this going to take a while…
“So what time do we gather at the Super-Market to leave” I asked [tag]Arnoc[/tag] during the [tag]Wacken[/tag] warm up party.
“11:00 – 12:00” Was his laconic answer”
Well, unfortunately it was bullshit. It seems that we were gathering almost underneath his house from 10:00-11:00 and as a result, me and Oli, who was driving the car I would be in, turned out as everybody was leaving (well, to be exact, I turned out after everyone had left and found Oli and Eugen frantically packing the car.)
It wasn’t such a big problem for Arnoc who was violenty jerked awake by the guys howling under his house, if you ignore the fact that he got so rushed that he forgot his keys and cds 😛
The stuff included the things of three people as well as 3 cases of beers and supplies, which meant that I ended up literally buried in stuff.
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Buried in Beer
Nevertheless our 8 hour trip had begun.
It included 3 stops at classic places where the team always meets up. We managed to catch up to the other groups at the first stop, where we learned that Arthur’ s car did not have any music and they were forced to listen to radio. The second stop was for food and rest while the 3rd stop was for supplies where everybody got a shitload of beers 😉 I ended buying a case of Black beers of which we drank only 6 since they spend the time in Oli’s car. I also bought a bottle of Ice tea that I never drank 🙂
Finally, after many many hours, we arrived at the area where after a few short stops from security personel (to take our money), we were finally diverted to the special parking area. As far as I was told, this was the first time that Wacken used this kind of parking space. Before, people were parking their cars next to their camping ground. However, due to the horrible amount of rain that fell in the days before the cars had to stay at an elevated ground or risk sticking in the mud. This mean that we had to carry our stuff to the camping ground and also did not have the luxury of having the car next to us. As Arnoc apty put it when I asked:
– “How annoying will it be not to have the cars next to us?”
– “On a scale of 1 to 10? 15!”
It took us a while to bring our stuff to the camping ground but eventually we did. Among light rain, wind and cold, we set up our tents and the six pavilions we would use to hide from the sun and rain. Then, after everybody ate of my salami (no I’m serious) and I got baptised with fleischwurst, I went to sleep…
I woke up to the sound of metal striking metal and Arnoc cursing. When I left the tent, what greeted me was a scene of destruction. During the night, after the last one has gone to sleep, the wind picked up half the pavilions and smashed them on the other half, destroying the lot of them. It must have been a hell of a gust as all pavilions were tied together and all of the tied to the floor. It was fortunate this did not happen while people were under them.
We spent the better part of the morning, scavenging the solid parts and then using what was left to make an uber-pavilion, that included windshields and a lot of support for the wind. Unfortunatey for us, this was unnecessary as the weather improved dramatically after that point to the point where there was not extra support necessary.
Once that was done, it was time to rest and start enjoying the festival.
The days before the concerts are what some of the group consider The Real Festival, as once the concerts start the camping ground becomes less full. In my opinion this is false as with the sheer amount of people coming, the camping is never (or at least doesn’t look) any emptier.
Around the camping grounds, the situation is one of complete break-down. People are shouting “HELGA!” at the top of their lungs (which seems like a kind of meme for these festivals. The story is that someone once lost his wife/dog in the festival and ended up walking around while shouting her name at the top of his voice – HELGAAAA!) and others where picking up when their voice faded. Other people where running around (almost) naked, other were sitting around, pestering you (in a good way) if you bothered to pass close to them etc. It was a generic alaloum…in metal.
During these times I found the chance with Arnoc to visit the village Wacken, along with Alucard and his friend who had since joined us. The village seems to be quite used to the sight of Metalheads swarming there every summer and I’m guassing that the insane amount of money that floats in their pockets during this short week is enough to appease even the worst of them.
We also visited the little official Wacken T-shirt stand where I found a good candidate for my tastes. And of course it was only in XL size.
I spend the time generally socializing with random people I knew from the Final Destination and other places, or trying to meet girls (and failing miserably). The others, being quite more used to the experience seemed to be doing quite better than me in that part. Nevertheless, I did meet some quite interesting people around while managing to horribly burn myself from the sun. I would have provided here a 10 minute vid of me walking around and filming the camping grounds, but unfortunately my fucking mobile corrupted the video 🙁
Our team was not the worst of them but it was quite teasing. A beautiful girl would not pass without someone making a lewd comment (“Pink Pussy!”), who cares if she had a boyfriend on her arm (and it was unfortunate that so many of them did) and a passing police or firetruck always initiated a happy singsong (“Red and white/green party bus!”)
It goes without saying that everyone was getting stupid drunk during this time. They even made me drink from a beer bong a few times (once they even hunted me down to shove it down my throat 😉 ) But I guess being drunk is a necessity in these kind of festivals. Nevertheless, most of the time I wasn’t and it was not for a lack of trying. It’s just that for some reason the “buzz” was passing quite quickly and I just could not drink one beer after the other like the rest. Maybe that is why I could not meet enough girls eh?
So the concerts finally arrived. During the first day I was not really interested in so many bands so I preferred to stay close to the tent most of the time. I did go to see Saxon however. I spend a good part of the day shopping from the shop area where I finally got myself a drinking horn from the viking shop. Yep, there was a viking shop selling chain mails and helmets besides drinking horns.
Thursday also became my “chain day” ergo, the day where I started playing with chains. Specifically it all started when Oli started playing with a chain that was lying on the ground, wrapping it around his hand etc. I just took this idea and improved it, and ended up making the chain an accessory (for the next two days at least). This led me down the path to later own buying even more chains to use as accessories.
After that I took a little trip to the stage just to see how it was. They tried to stop me at the entrance (because of the chain) but fortunately they were so busy that I just kept moving and evaded them. 😉 In back area of the stage there was a lot of straw on the ground, obviously there to keep out the water. However that made it the perfect place for sleep and fights 🙂
There I bumped into more friends from the Final who were lying around the straw. It was the perfect time to sit and relax (and cover myself in girls) and as a result I also happened to meet a girl that spoke a little Greek for she had Pontiac roots. She happened to be half-french, half-canadia, with a smattering of Greek and indian. Interesting. Her friends from Holland were cool as well as we ended up talking philosophy later on.
After the Saxon concert I decided to take the firestaff and make a short show close to the concert grounds. Fortunately this time I was sober enough to not drop it too many times and there was quite crowd that gathered around. I felt really ashamed that I still can’t even perform a decent halo-360 🙁
In any case, after the show I was approached by a british guy who has been playing with staves for the last 4 years (compared to my 1) and we arranged to meet again. We didn’t 🙁
This day was the big concert day for me. I just had so many bands I wanted to see but unfortunately I had to do it alone. I moved to the concert area at around 2pm, returned to the tents for a short hour (where I almost got to meet a new girl before she fled 🙂 ) and then moved back, only to return at around 13:00. That’s almost 10 solid hours of concerts. It was at this point that I was really glad I brought a hat with me. The sun was just brutal and nothing else could save me from a sunstroke. Unfortunately I had to go to almost the concerts along (with the exception of Lacuna Coil)
Needless to say that at the end, my feet were absolutely killing so much that I just could not stay for Iced Earth, even though I wanted to see them. In the end I resigned to stay at the tent for the last hour and listen to them from afar. Unfortunately I then run into the classic problem I had while there; I couldn’t take part in any conversation as most of them were in German. Hopefully by this time next year this won’t be an issue any more.
So the last day of the festival had finally arrived and all were disappointed (well maybe except for Arnoc who seems to dislike WOA more and more each year 😛 ). This time, even though there were a few good bands playing (although not as many as Friday) I decided to take it more easy and not spend all my time in the concert area. To this end I skipped Stratovarius (seen them before anyway) but I could not miss out of my first chance to see Rage.
I used the free time to get to know more of the group where I discovered some very interesting people. Especially the programmer dude with the long beard(shit! what was his name?) who was really cool in helping me learn German and help with Python. I also got to know Viola and started talking about Michael Moorcock, English and various other stuff. A really cool person who stole my hat for the rest of the concert and strong-armed me in seeing Subway to Sally 🙂 Not that I’m complaining mind you. That was the only concert where I was not the only one in the group jumping around.
Other than that, the rest of the day passed easily, at some point during the late hour of day, as everyone was getting stupid drunk, we ended up playing silly songs for music. I got to sing Tenacious D with Arthur (Fuck her gently, YEAH) and “The Internet is for Porn” with “The Brit”.
The others? Well, they were singing something completely different 😉
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Foolishness! as a colleague of mine would say. But cool foolishness.
Later on, I decided to make one last fire show before we left and this time I did it just in front of the tent (hopefully, soon I’ll have a vid). Unfortunately due to my drunkeness I ended up dropping it a few times but people seemed to like it nevertheless. Viola especially liked it so much that she volunteered to be my groupie (Yay!).
Unfortunately a “grun und weiss party bus” (Police car) was passing by at the time and they decided to put a stop to it. No matter how much we informed them that it was really difficult to put out the fire (a lie, but I really do not like to douse it with water) and that it would finish soon (true) they insisted that I stop the show. Arthur later explained to me that they were ready to arrest me but he informed them that I was working for him (?) so they let it drop (Now where’s my fucking paycheck?). In all fairness, they propably did not want to stop it, but they did not have a choice. When I started spinning it very fast to put it out, they were clapping as well 😉
Later as we were going to see In Flames, Arthur almost got in a fight when he tried to hug a random girl. It turns out she had a boyfriend who was really pissed. I do believe that both sides could have taken it more lightly (It’s fucking Wacken) but in any case, it didn’t come to fists so it’s all good.
Other than that, I saw Subway to Sally with Viola after all which was cool and then got more drunk.
Finito la musica, Pasato la fiesta!
So Sunday was the time to leave. We started gathering the tents slowl-slowly as the sun was blazing down. I couldn’t really be bothered to untie various parts so like a true Macedonian, I decided to just cut them 🙂
After that, the fun started. Everybody got equipped with a big heavy pieces of iron and it was time to…take care of the pavilions.
Howling into the day, the pavilions that wasted the better part of Monday night and Tuesday morning we smacked down into oblivion and unlike the legendary Gazebo, we managed to defeat it using only blunt weaponry 🙂
After that, things moved in short order (amidst shouts of “Helga” and “Green and White party bus” that is). Fortunately the cars were allowed by now to come in the camping grounds, so we did not have to transfer the generator to the bus (which I helped do, the other way around of course, when we got here, ugh) among with the rest of the heavy stuff.
A few Goodbyes and a grill explosion later, everyone was ready to go. We got in the cars and left the mayhem behind. 8 Hours later, I was at my home and getting ready to start work the next day.
And Now I’m done.