For 362 days a year, Wacken is a sleepy German hamlet, population: 2000. But for three days every August, 70,000 headbangers descend on the village to attend the biggest festival in the heavy metal universe. Now in its 18th year, Wacken: Open: Air has become an integral part of village life, with the community embracing their annual invaders. Local families drape their houses in banners that read "Welcome Metalheads!" and turn their gardens into makeshift bars serving beer and food to passing revelers. We went to Wacken and asked the fans what they thought about this heavy metal hamlet.
Vice: Are you a regular here at Wacken?
Axel Krosch, 25: Nah. This is my second time here.
How did you get here?
I drove here from Munich in an old Volkswagen with my friends. The trip took nine hours but it is definitely worth it.
I've been to many other festivals and there's nothing like Wacken. It's the biggest festival in the world dedicated only to metal! It's so great here. Good people. Getting drunk all day long. You can't get anything better in the world for €90.
Aren’t you a bit young to go to a
metal festival on your own?
Sandra Radeboldt, 11: I live here in Wacken. I like metal and I like the fact that the festival comes back every year.
What is it that you like?
Everything is great here. The music is good and there are lots of hot guys to look at. The only bad thing is that there is so much cool stuff to buy and I want it all. But that doesn't matter. I will come back again next year. And if I can’t afford the ticket, I'll break in!
So it’s your first time here, right? What do you think of the
Lea Schmidt, 25: I love it! It has good people and good music.
Do you go to other metal festivals?
I used to go to goth festivals and I was totally into that. But I got bored both with the people and the music. Metal music and metal people are much better. Here it's all about drinking and having a good time. There is no fighting and no problems.
Do you like it here?
Ricardo Michelini, 23: It’s my second time here. For me, Wacken is my wonderland! There is nothing like it at home in Italy. Here you can find everything you need in life: love, beer, meat and party!
Is there anything bad with the festival?
Yeah, the toilets. And the women aren't as good as back home. Well, they are good, but not like Italian women. But I'm definitely coming back!
How did you get here?
Laura Arcari, 25: We drove here from Italy. It took 16 hours. I’ve been here before and I will come here again. It’s so much better here compared to festivals in Italy.
Anything you dislike about Wacken?
It’s hard to find anything to drink apart from beer, and I don’t like beer. Some grappa or whiskey would be great. I prefer stronger things than beer.
Hey, what bands do you most want to see?
Bräuni Bräuningen, 19: Fuck the bands! I’m here to party and that’s it!