Deafened ears, littered fields and a newly-wed couple: this was the upshot Sunday of the world’s largest heavy metal festival in the northern German town of Wacken. Around 75,000 people, of whom a third arrived from abroad, descended on the small town in the state of Schleswig Holstein for three days of headbanging to screeching guitar riffs.
More than 80 bands performed from around the world. Acts including Mot?rhead, Doro and Saxon thrashed it out on multiple stages, as the volume reached 120 decibels at Saturday night’s finale. Two Wacken diehards chose to marry onstage during the festival, surrounded by live music and long-haired fans. The pastor pulled his ceremonial robe over a T-shirt bearing the message: “I belong to God’s ground staff.”
The motto of this year’s version of the festival, first launched on a whim in 1990, was “20 Years Louder Than Hell”. Looking back to the start of what is now the world’s largest heavy metal festival, organiser Thomas Jensen said, “In the first year 800 people came, and I played with my band and served beer on the side.”