This year's trip to Wacken Open Air was my second. My debut as a W:O:A virgin was in 2009. Wacken is the greatest metal festival in northern Europe and it is really quite massive. Some say 85.000 ticketholders.
The camping grounds are huge which means there is plenty of room for tents and camps. The music area is however not that large and it actually becomes a problem at some of the greatest crowd pleasers like Iron Maiden and Slayer. They really should value comfort for the crowd higher than cold profit which I know will never happen.
This year's program was insane with bands like: Iron Maiden, Slayer, Immortal, Mötley Crüe, Alice Cooper, W.A.S.P., Arch Enemy, Cannibal Corpse, 1349 and the list goes on and on. It would be too ambitious to try and see all bands you'd like to see, so you just had to pick wisely and hope for the best.
The weather was generally warm and the first few days it was wet with showers and then changed to being damn hot with all day sunshine. Being a Viking from the north, I'm not at all a sucker for sun, so to be honest, I suffered a lot being boiled to death, but that seemed to be the case for most of us being there.
Livescenen is the bus company that I travelled with just like the year before and they do a very professional and great job. The first evening they even hosted a great BBQ party and there's a lot of cool metalheads and guides travelling every year. If you are going from Denmark I will surely recommend to go by bus with Livescenen (unless of course you have your own auto camper with built in electricity, tv, bath, toilet and air-con...) This year I was aboard the special Iron Maiden bus mainly filled with hardcore Maiden Denmark fans. It certainly ensured great music all the way to Wacken!
Immortal blew me away (again.) There is something so dark and cold and beautiful about their black metal that simply hits me deep within. I've only seen them live twice (Roskilde 2003, Wacken 2010) and both times I've been in a trance. This time they mostly played newer stuff especially from their excellent 2009 album "All Shall Fall". Most impressive was however the song "Beyond The North Waves". It was the first song that I ever really connected with on an Immortal album, so to hear this live was more than I'd ever dared dream about. This concert alone was worth all the pain it involves surviving a week at a festival (obviously mixed with a lot of joy and fun.)
Cannibal Corpse was without a shadow of doubt the funniest gig. Their lead singer Corpsegrinder is a bastard in his very own class and he threatened to break everybody's necks if he didn't see some more (devil)horns. He banged his head like fucking propeller and it was so much fun witnessing this insane display of pure aggression and extreme energy from the entire band. Obviously the crowd were very much into it as well. Quite an experience and so are some of the lyrics.
Iron Maiden was too crowded and they played way too many newer songs for a festival gig (but sadly enough only one from "The Final Frontier"), Alice Cooper couldn't sing (on the day) and the sound level was way too low, Slayer was way too crowded to even bother. W.A.S.P., Mötley Crüe, Arch Enemy and 1349 all played good gigs that were enjoyable. I saw a few more gigs than these but let's just stop here.
Will I be back next year? I don't have a clue. Let's see when we see the list of bands.