Live Report: Wacken Open Air Festival 2023 (Wacken, Germany – 2-5th August, 2023)

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Festival: Wacken Open Air Festival 2023
Location: Wacken, Germany
Date: August 2-5th 2023
Live Correspondent: Andreas Fytros
Photos: Wacken Festival

After a few days have passed and my mind was emptied and cleared from this Festival, it’s time to write a few words about the whole Wacken Open Air experience…

The trip started on Tuesday morning, heading to the small village located about 100 kilometers north of Hamburg. Our flight was fine and after getting some sleep, we landed at the airport of Hamburg. From there, we took a train to Itzehoe and then another train to the village of Wacken. From the village we went to the festival by bus. All along the way, our close friend and companion was the….RAIN!!!!

All the way, from the airport to the festival site, we read the NOT good news spread, namely saying that the organizers had stopped the entrance of all cars and caravans due to mud, so we were a bit concerned (even though we would be simple campers). Arriving outside the festival site, the first thing we had to do was to change our shoes and put on our beloved rain boots, which would be one of our most useful items for the next five days! At least, we were very lucky and, by the time we arrived at the camping area, the rain had stopped, so we could set up our tent comfortably without getting wet, in this grassy area.

Rain?? Rain! Mud? Mud! We knew that before we go to Wacken! If you have the right equipment, neither rain nor mud will stand on your way! There are three things you should absolutely have with you at Wacken Festival: Rain boots, raincoat and a tent, which will have to be waterproof like in all winter conditions. If you have those three things with you, the only other thing you will have to wonder about is “which bands you will choose to see live”! If you don’t have the aforementioned things and you are not properly prepared, it is certain you will have a hard time over there!

Now let’s get to business! It’s Tuesday night and after preparing all that we are going to need the next day (like wristbands, tent etc,) we head to the tent with the supermarket in it. We thought we would drink a beer to relax from the trip and then go to bed, getting ready for the next day’s beginning of the festival… Yeah, huh? I haven’t experienced a metal party like this, even in the best clubs of Athens! One beer eventually became 4-5 cans of Jack Daniels-Cola and, an hour after, we were singing and jumping around with Chileans, Peruvians, Argentinians and all kinds of metalheads from all over the world! We are talking about a party that lasted almost until the morning, but at some point we had to leave, cause the hassle of the trip has dominated our bodies.

Wacken 2023 – Day 1 (Wednesday 2nd August, 2023)

It’s Wednesday morning. We woke up and after drinking a strong coffee, headed towards the Wacken stages! The first band we saw was NERVOSA! Solid and tight-knit, the girls gave us a strong taste (albeit with a reduced setlist due to technical problems) of what was going to come over the next four days. I should point out that Wednesday’s schedule was not followed exactly due to the many problems caused by the weather! SKINDRED followed and, although I’m not a fan of the band, I can say that they’ve put on a very good show, giving pulse and intensity to the crowd. I’ll skip the bands in between as I didn’t get to see their full performances and went straight to the headline performance of the night, which was none other than the Heavy Metal queen DORO, along with her guests! The show was boring though. If it wasn’t for the guests and especially for Belladonna, we might have left earlier from this show!

However, we were compensated with the next band, HOLY MOSES. What a show!!! Sabina blew our minds! Even though she’s in her sixth decade of life, this woman is not to be trifled with! Thrash Metal and mosh all over the place! Unstoppable and in absolute harmony with the rest of the band, they gave us a good dose of what true Thrash Metal means. I wish it had more time and a bigger stage (maybe in Louder stage would be better) to make a massacre. Of course, the band left us with a bitter end since Sabina announced that she would quit at the end of the year.


Wacken 2023 – Day 2 (Thursday 3rd August, 2023)

It’s Thursday morning and we started our day with TERROR. Nice hardrockers, they woke us up at once. Then we headed down to the big stages where the program had VIXEN, URIAH HEEP, HAMMERFALL, KREATOR and HELLOWEEN. We started with VIXEN who, I can say this deservedly, competed together with Doro the nominations for the most boring live shows in the Fest. Fortunately, URIAH HEEP and HAMMERFALL kept us nice company with remarkable performances, getting us warmed up for the decapitation that was about to follow with the German Thrash Metal legends KREATOR! We were hooked and lived this live show to the marrow. The band was in a crazy mood. Headbanging and crowdsurfing at non-stop rhythms, from start to finish. “People of the Lie”, “Enemy of God”, “Violent Revolution”, “Flag of Hate” (hymn) are some of the songs played. After getting our brains out of the blender, we thought we’d check out HELLOWEEN. Why did we do that to ourselves??? It’s like eating grilled steaks and then being served a soup. Well, you don’t eat it!

They started with the twelve minute “Skyfall” song, which is boring as a song itself and the yawns were inevitable. Maybe it was a mistake of the organizers to program HELLOWEEN after KREATOR. Maybe it was also the band’s mistake that after KREATOR’s live they chose to start so sluggishly instead of going in with a couple of more powerful tracks, continuing the party that was already set up. Since we were bored, we decided to see ABBATH. The band also acted too professionally and typically in a mood of: “Let’s give you 10-12 songs and go to bed”. A thoroughly enjoyable show, although there was a small amount of people watching.


Wacken 2023 – Day 3 (Friday 4th August, 2023)

It’s Friday and the weather is finally doing us a favor! SUNNY on the right day. TRIVIUM and WHILE SHE SLEEPS are not my cup of tea. Still, they must have played well, from what I got from the audience reactions. SANTIANO, a folk German band, followed and the only people who enjoyed it were some middle-aged Germans. I have yet to understand what a band like that was doing before MEGADETH and IRON MAIDEN!?? After a while, it was time for MEGADETH. Mustaine guaranteed the quality and if you add the fact that Marty Friedman (!!!) came on stage, nothing else was needed. If only Dave had been a bit more communicative… Otherwise,  it was an incredible live show with a strong setlist which is the proof why MEGADETH have such a big and fanatic audience.

After MEGADETH finished, it was time for the mega headliners of this year’s Wacken, IRON MAIDEN! The crowd reaches as far as the eye can see. The crowd and the band seem to be enjoying it as much as we did. We stood right in front of the stage (like in KREATOR) and we experienced a night of magic. We already knew the setlist, but again with the first notes of “Doctor, doctor” there was panic! PANIIIIICCCCC that didn’t stop until the end of the live!!! Crowdsurfing in every song without taking a breath. They even brought in security reinforcements so that they could keep up with pulling people over the barrier. The band looks like time hasn’t touched them. Even the 70-year old Nicko had a decent presence behind the drums. Bands like this don’t come out very often so we were really lucky to see the live from a very close distance!

HIGHLIGHT of the day. “Can you play with Madness??” IRON MAIDEN

Wacken 2023 – Day 4 (Saturday 5th August, 2023)

Saturday and we started with JAG PANZER. A strong performance, honoring their history. Limited time of course, definitely wanted a bit more. BIOHAZARD then with a lot of intensity but also with the fatigue of the previous days starting to come out.

Saturday and we started with JAG PANZER. A strong performance, honoring their history. Limited time of course, definitely wanted a bit more. BIOHAZARD then with a lot of intensity but also with the fatigue of the previous days starting to come out. EMPIRE STATE BASTARD straight on with Dave Lombardo on drums! I’m amazed that this man with such a background and so many great bands is even bothering with this stuff. Human’s soul is an abyss, as they say… Next up is NESTOR, a band that took its first steps in the late 80’s but it released its first album last year…and what an album!!? Amazing! Performance and music straight out of the heart of the 80s. A performance I will never forget. I hope to see them in Greece sometime. I saw VOIVOD and HEAVEN SHALL BURN just briefly since the fatigue was overwhelming and they are not the bands I die for…

HIGHLIGHT of the day: NESTOR, “The Kids in a Ghost Town

To sum up the topic “Wacken 2023”, for me it will be an experience I will never forget! Even the mud. It’s something that, as a metalhead, you HAVE to experience, you HAVE to see!

P.S.1 It was a big mistake of the organizers not having a basic lighting, at least in the main streets of the festival. It was really difficult to walk in the dark with so much mud around!
PS.2  It was also a mistake of the organizers that hired many employees that didn’t know to speak English, so as to communicate and help metalheads that came to Wacken from all around the world!

PS.3 It was my fault that I didn’t see a bit more of PENTAGRAM!
PS.4 Do you want to go to Wacken? Prepare properly and go! It’s a lifetime experience, not just a music festival. But prepare yourself, because without preparation you will feel uncomfortable and you will regret it…

Live Correspondent: Andreas Fytros
Translation/Rendering in English language: Kostas Boudoukos
Design & Editing: Alexandros Soultatos
External Links: WACKEN OPEN AIR FESTIVAL – Official Page
Copyright © 2023 by THEGALLERY.GR

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