Wacken Open Air 2005

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Wacken Open Air 2005
Review By Brat
Good photos by Metaltix (www.metaltix.com)
Not so good ones by Brat
Other photos acknowledged as they appear

What a line-up this year! W:O:A 2005 was to be my biggest and best Wacken festival since my virgin outing in 2002, when I was forced to watch so many half sets because a lot of the bands I wanted to see clashed. Over the years the organisers have improved scheduling immensely from a power/melodic metal perspective with very few power/melodic metal bands clashing by firstly, swapping the positions of the True and Black stages putting the Black stage further from the Party stage; secondly, running the Black stage and Party stage almost simultaneously; and thirdly, running a band competition (Metal Battle) and low profile or relatively new acts on the Wet stage.

For those not familiar with the festival set up of Wacken Open Air, the True and Black stages are the two main stages set side by side and run bands alternately. The True stage usually features melodic, power and old-school bands, while the Black stage usually features the more extreme styles of metal. The Party stage is a smaller outdoor stage set to the far left of the festival area, and in past years, has been dominated with melodic metal. The aptly named Wet stage is in a large tent and in hot conditions resembles a sauna making it somewhat uncomfortable. Ironically, this was the only dry stage this year.

With my favourite three bands playing this year and rest of the line-up looking like the organisers had raided my CD collection, I was ready to pitch my tent in front of the True stage.


Wednesday August 3, 2005

Arriving with my German metal-family a little later than in previous years, I helped them set up camp before taking a spare tent and making my way to the Wacken Forum Camp, very close to the festival activities, to be reunited with the metalheads I speak to all year, yet see only at Wacken.

I should have guessed then that Thor, Perun, Ukko or all three were toying with me this year, as the overcast sky held until I set up my tent and was able to take shelter. It was a short and light shower, so once again, off I went up the hill to collect the rest of the things I needed for the festival. As soon as I got those things into the tent, the sky opened up and rain continued in a regular on and off rhythm.

While I was lying in my tent I heard a live band playing which seemed to be coming from a near-by camp area. I poked my head out of the tent and saw a crowd gathered in front of a shade awning all banging their heads, so I grabbed my camera and went to investigate. H?ngerband were warming people up for this evening?s festivities.

Already out in the rain, I put my camera away, grabbed my Drizabone (Australian stockman?s oil skin coat) and went to get my festival wristband and check out the stalls of the metal market. I saw a couple of interesting things, but the rain made it awkward to shop?having to take off raincoats and damp clothing was just too hard?so I just window shopped, while the soccer (football) competition played out nearby.

Last year Wacken introduced a Black stage hoody into its range of souvenir attire and I bought one for a friend. Over the festival I kept admiring it, but didn?t get one for myself as they sold out very quickly. This year, I took no warm clothing with me because I intended to buy myself a hoody. Usually, Wacken only gets cool at night and as evening approached I went to the merchandise stand.

This year the range of Wacken attire was even greater. There were a few hoodies, t-shirts in medium (about time, I?m sick of wearing metal dresses) and a range of girlie shirts.

Wacken Tip 1: To avoid missing out on your preferred merchandise, purchase it as soon as you see it. Many designs sell out in the first day, especially the smaller sizes. More stock arrives over the course of the festival, but it?s rarely the one you should have bought earlier.

I made my purchase immediately and went back to my camp to spend some time with my Wacken Forum family. I didn?t stay up too long. It had been a long day, starting with an overnight train ride from Stuttgart, so at about 22:00 (you might as well get used to 24-hour time now) I headed for a shower.

Now, here?s Wacken Tip 2: When I paid my ?2.50 I asked if the water was hot and apparently, it was. Before I undressed, I tested the water?freezing?and there was no way I was going to shower under cold water in this weather, so off I went to complain and/or get my money back and was told that if I activated all the showerheads, the water would come out hot. At first, one of the attendants came in to activate them. When he left I got undressed and ran around starkers activating one of the lines and sure enough, hot, steamy water. I already knew that different showerheads ran water for different lengths of time, but during this exercise, I also discovered that each showerhead produced different temperatures. Strange system.

Anyway, I used the empty showers to my advantage, chose a well-lit row and moved to different spots depending on if I needed extra heat to stop shivering, to wash myself or to rinse out shampoo and conditioner. To an observer (yes, people [men] “accidentally” walk into the female showers) I must have looked like a lunatic. Sorry, no photos here.

With my blood circulating again, I grabbed a coffee on the way back and snuggled into my sleeping bag by 23:30 for a sound sleep.

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