The essential guide to Wacken Open Air 2013

The metalheads bible for Wacken Open Air

Photographer: Anna HyamsMatt Miles on 15 May 2013

Welcome adventurous metalheads. If you already know about Wacken Open Air Festival then I doubt there is much more I can tell you that you haven't been relayed through enticing fable or experience. If you're more of a newbie though then you can shortly consider yourself among the initiated, W.O.A is one of the most respected and most lusted after metal festivals in the calendar. Rammstein, Alice Cooper, Motorhead, Lamb Of God, Thunder and Sonata Arctica are just a handful of the acts you can enjoy on the 2013 line-up. Tickets famously sell out with record-breaking speed, and it's only going to get bigger in 2013 and beyond.

How to get there

Once you get serious about treating yourself to a weekend at one of the shiniest, blackest jewels in the metal festival crown your first concern is likely to be getting there and as usual planning ahead will help

The closest airport to the W.O.A. is Hamburg, Easyjet fly frequently, and cheaply, from Gatwick, Manchester and Edinburgh. From Hamburg it's a short trip across the city on the S-Bahn (metro train) S21 or S31 for 1,50 EUR to Holstenstrasse, from which you can easily find Remedy Records, the departure point for one brutal (in the good way) ride to the Wacken festival site on the metaltravel bus, for which tickets cost 19.00 EUR.

W.O.A is also now running two Metal-trains, Swabia and Bavaria, leaving from Stuttgart and Munich respectively. These trains are suitably satanic and take you straight to satan's the festival's front door. So if it's easier for you to go to Stuttgart or Munich consider this method of transportation.

The W.O.A website itself also has an inbuilt tool letting you choose your starting point and suggesting any local available package deals that may be appropriate for you. It also has a great deal of helpful information and should be your first port of call for any queries.


As with most festivals there is of course the option to camp but if you're planning to bring your rock'n'roll princess with you, or maybe the little goblins, or you're just a little fancy yourself you may be forced into considering more glamorous accommodation.

Spend your week like Dethklok on essentially the Dethboat. The MS Wacken is an excellent way to keep yourself looking pretty, clean and feeling human whilst still enjoying the heinous debauchery that Wacken offers. Starting this year the MS Wacken offers you all the high class comfort of a rockgod but with a frequent shuttle bus to the festival site. The offer started this year and will no doubt return for 2014 with the full package deal including all the needed amenities, free parking near the ship and your W.O.A festival ticket for all days.

There are also many hotels in the local region, obviously nowhere near as metal as camping and also less awesome than staying on the MS Wacken, but a quick Google search for ‘Hotels in Wacken’ should see you right. However, word to the wise. These Hotels will fill up so remember to book your room WELL in advance.

For those of you hard-core enough to camp, some tasty little offers for you. If you don’t fancy lugging a tent around with you, or if you just want to get so blind drunk on the trip that pitching a tent would be nigh impossible once you arrive. Then perhaps you should look into renting a tent from Ready to Rock festival camping. These guys will happily make the ordeal a whole lot easier for you, so you can get straight to the beer and beats.

The cost of living

Even with the financial crisis hitting the Euro and continent hard Germany is still a strong economy and it pays to count the pennies when you visit, here's our guide to sourcing the essentials:


You might not be surprised to hear beer on site can border on the expensive end of the fiscal scale. The frugal hell raiser should take note that you may bring your own beer or buy it slightly cheaper at offsite supermarkets. You can’t take a beer into a mosh pit (well you can but it won’t last long) anyway so please caution with those stage side beers.


Same story here, the vendors will be peddling exotic and tasty treats with slightly inflated price tags. After spending all that money getting to W.O.A you no doubt don’t want to break the bank on simple sustenance. Wacken Open Air allows you to have your own BBQ so why don’t you head into town on the Thursday, buy a whole heap of meat and grill it up to feed your face at your convenience, or just eat it raw cause that’s the most metal thing you can do!

VF's Wacken Tips

Once you get there and have everything sorted you will be whisked up in the community, atmosphere and excellently brutal shredding from every band you ever dreamed of seeing in one place. Then if you did need a break from the music, at least untill the blood clots enough to provide you with a homemade ear muffler, there are a couple more things you should check out.

Still music related but it’s an important tradition and you shouldn’t skip it. The W.O.A festival is opened every year by the W.O.A volunteer fire-fighters band. Since 2002 these guys have been the first band on, it's the metal answer to the national anthem at the superbowl. They also play most mornings of the festival in the beer garden. So they are kind of like the starting gun for the days drinking.

Other interesting Wacken novelties include The Wackinger Village, a medieval zone within the festival itself which provides different daily highlights from the feudal life which will be presented to the fans of the medieval scene, such as viking vs knight fights, weapon shows, jugglery and music. The two acre Wackinger Village site has set new standards with its programme and is unique to metal festivals worldwide. Entry to this spectacle is free.

There is also the annual Wacken Soccer Cup, normally held on the Wednesday. The soccer field is located near the movie fields and the field can also be used for private soccer tournaments on other days.

German phrase book

Finally here is a small list of essential German phrases for you that should just about get you through your entire weekend.

“Mein Deutsch ist scheiße. Sprechen sie Englisch?” – “My German is shit. Do you speak English?”

“Wo gibt es bier?” – “Where is the beer?”

“Ich brauche mehr bier!” – “I need more beer!”

“Gib mir mehr bier!” – “Give me more beer!”

“Bier” – “Beer”

Also listen out for the locals spouting these common phrases:

"Rein innen Moshpit" - "Let’s go into the moshpit"

"Du hast nen Wackennacken" – You have Wacken neck. (Sunburn in the places not covered by your, inevitably, black t-shirt.)

"Hast du Helga gesehen?" – Have you seen Helga? (Running Wacken gag. Think 'Dan'.)

Whilst tickets for this years Wacken sold out in November (8 months before the festival) you may still have a chance to attend, you lucky fiend you!

Wacken Open Air 2013 are offering all UK residents the chance to win one of five pairs of tickets to the 2013 edition of the festival, check out this competition at

Click here to see the Wacken Open Air line-up for 2013.

Been to Wacken Open Air Festival yourself? Please add any of your own tips or stories in the comments below. 

Get a taster with our Wacken Open Air spotify playlist. 

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