Wacken Open Air 2022- Part One

Wacken Open Air 2022- Part One

14th August 2022 1 By Queen Nikki

Dear Metal Gods, 

It has been three years since we felt our feet squelch into the healing mud of the Holy Land. Three years since we’ve all been together as one big metal community in a field belonging to the tiny township of Wacken in Northern Germany. Three years since we held a meat on a stick and a cup of mead while watching medieval games. Three years since we’ve seen our Wacken friends rise weary eyed out of a tent only to hand them their first beer for the day. After an absolute belter of a pandemic, the world was now finally opening up and after three very lonely years, so were the infield gates of Germany’s Wacken Open Air for the 2022 festival. I can safely speak on behalf of all Wacken fans…. We were more than ready!!! 

After fourteen hours on the road, one Uber, four trains, a plane and one absolutely mental shuttle bus ride from Itzehoe train station, (after a 2 hour queue) we finally reached the destination we’d waited so long for: The Holy Land of Wacken and… I kissed it! This was about to be my 7th year attending the festival, but the excitement built around it always makes it feel like my first. This year’s long-awaited festival had a long line up to match, Headliners included Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, Slipknot, Powerwolf and many more.

I arrived Tuesday afternoon and with no sleep for thirty-two hours, I finally reached our campsite to greet my very ‘happy’ drunk pals who had been on the Wacken Grounds since 6am Monday morning. Now when I say my people are organized, I mean ORGANISED! This year, not only did we have beer on tap and a fridge, but we had a fricken Pizza oven on campsite. I dumped my bag and was handed a freshly cooked home-made pizza and an ice-cold IPA. Honestly though, we would have a very different Wacken experience if it wasn’t for these absolute hero’s, Thankyou Wacken Family! Through many tears, we kissed and hugged our friends that we’d waited so many years to see, it was a beautiful reunion and we were all there with a different mindset this year, we needed to make up for lost time and we sure did. 

This year, having missed 2 years of Wacken due to the virus that shall not be named, the festival came back with a bang for its 31st edition. A newly updated festival site plan, more fun things on the campsite grounds (like a giant slide and many games) and for the first time in the festival’s history, they were changing to a cashless system, much to the disappointment of fans. However, in my opinion, the cashless system worked surprisingly well once every punter had theirs sorted. The cashless chips were attached to this year’s wristbands, so the eight-hour queues to get these on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday meant that after spending hours and for some, even days getting to the festival, they couldn’t purchase any food or drinks until they received their wristband, then added money to it. A very slow system and quite a few teething issues, which left people hungry, thirsty and for some, lead to a not very enjoyable first day. People were offering cash to those with wristbands already, who were taking cold drinks to those waiting in the queues, perhaps the wristbands will be more streamlined next year. 

This year Wacken put on an extra day of metal, it was called Wacken Wednesdays, adding bands like Epica, Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia and Glory Hammer to the bill playing on the Louder stage, it seemed like a great addition. However, it was a bit cheeky that it cost 66.66 to enter Wacken Wednesday at the Louder stage alongside a regular ticket. Those that didn’t think it was worth it, chose to either take a trip into town or party at camp. Epica definitely pulled out the big guns for their set though, with giant fire-breathing cobra’s side of stage and those that went, explained how it was worth it.

Epica on the Louder stage

The bands that played on the Bullhead City stages and the Wasteland stage were free to watch at least. This year the post-apocalyptic Wasteland was moved to next to the campsite, outside of the main festival area, which was great as the Wasteland Warriors had so much more space to give us insight into their crazy world. A new stage was added in Wacken Village, the LGH club stage, the Bullhead City was no longer in a tent, both stages were open air, this allowed for so many more people to see the bands on those stages. A Huge undercover beer garden was placed in next to the Bullhead city stages so you could drink a giant glass of Krombacher (thank fuck for no more Becks) in the shade. The new layout, in every way was so much more open, with more space and more undercover places to chill with your friends.

Wednesday at Wacken had previously been dubbed ‘Fuck-eyed Wednesday’ by our group as we shoot off into the town around midday and don’t return until dark. It’s not our fault! The townspeople of Wacken open their homes to us as makeshift bars, selling homemade goods, food and booze at a cheap price, and we can use cash! The village children, zoom passed us on their go-karts, their trailers full of beer for the metal heads slowly trailing behind, I hope they tipped them well, those trailers looked heavy! We made our way up the main street, collecting homemade passion fruit cream liqueur, hand-knitted beer holders and tiny leather WOA baby booties. After stopping at every second bar for a beer and a Jägermeister, we finally made it to the Press check-in on the other side of town, it’s honestly such a mission, but we made it.

Party on the streets of Wacken Village

Next stop to the brewery for an ice-cold beer, some currywurst and to buy some mead in the Heavy Metal merchant shop. Every year we endeavour to make it to the Wacken pool, but it wasn’t until this year, we met a friend with a car and she drove us there, that I realised why I’d never been there. It’s so bloody far! But the quick dip before they closed and the procession of naked German metalheads marching around the pool, whirling their mankini’s in the air, was worth it. Especially watching them all fly, naked and dick-first down the ‘faster-harder-louder’ water slide. Fantastic!


Back at camp, after being gone for hours, tens of thousands of extra tents had landed around us and the Wacken campgrounds were now in full swing. Although this year, due to a supplier issue, they didn’t give out any full metal bags with goodies, which was a lot to take in, when we were all still bitter about taking the patches out of the bags in 2019. They still gave out a WOA clip-on water bottle and condoms, which became blown up condom balloons floating through the air to die a comedic death on the Flame Throwers. The fire show at the Wasteland was extensive this year, apparently the flame-throwers were exceeding the height of the Guinness world record for Flame height. The Wasteland stage held an audience for most of the afternoon and evening. Speed metallers Vulture set the pace, followed by Anders Odden’s Cadaver and Brittish thrashers Onslaught, slaughtered everyone ensuring the moshpit was a dusty hot mess. Last on this stage was ofcourse the fire show as well as a secret show next to the stage from Sexy German maniacs MegaBosch, jumping all around the wasteland on cars and old drums, surrounded by scantily clad fire dancers, this was a great surprise. The Bullhead city stages today saw many unsigned bands from all over the world compete in Wacken Metal Battle, for the chance to be rewarded with cash, exposure to be able to establish contracts in the future and ofcourse Incredible bragging rights. The Iron Maidens portraying everyone’s favourite Maiden classics to get the party started, while Japanese Heavy metallers Loudness brought their noise back from the 80’s. 

The view from the Rendsburger Camp

As Wednesday drew to a close, many were still partying at the Metal disco at the W:E:T stage which went on until 3am. While we had many deep and meaningful conversations, let loose at the Rendsburger Wacken fans camp as they had the beer flowing and a heavy metal sing-along until the wee- hours. I had forgotten how surprisingly easy it was to drift off to sleep at Wacken. Soothed to sleep with the sounds of the flame throwers, the music turned up to eleven- right next to your ear and loud German party songs Screamed until daylight. AHHHH… it was so good to finally be home. 

For All Things Wacken Click HERE

For Magenta Musik’s Video Coverage of WOA 22 Click HERE




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