Metal Etiquette

Wacken Open Air Festival Bans Backpacks in the Wake of European Terrorist Attacks



Wacken Open Air remains the world’s largest metal-only festival, with next weekend’s Wacken 2016 expecting to bring 85,000 fans (if you’ve never been, try and go — it’s a mind-blowing experience).

But due to the recent terrorist attacks in France in Belgium, security at this year’s festival will be tight, and specifically no backpacks or bags of any kind will be allowed on festival grounds.

Founder Tomas Jensen recently told Deutsche Welle about the new security measures, saying the following:

“Basically, we have been working very closely for many years with what we call BOS in German: ‘Behörden’ (authorities), ‘Organisation’ (organizers) and ‘Sicherheit’ (security).

“We always meet with them before and during the festival. The police is there, emergency services, regulatory authorities, private security companies, and us as the organizers of the event. Two years ago, we all took a course on security organized by the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance together. We went through certain scenarios in real time, including severe weather disturbances and terrorism.

“…Security is always an issue for us. After the attack in Paris at the Bataclan concert venue, we analyzed the scenario with the police and gained some important insights. The police told us what we need to look out for. They have the most experience and best training in these matters. During one of our recent security meetings we decided to ban backpacks and all kinds of bags from the festival grounds. The main reason for this is to simplify the individual searches at the entrance. Searching backpacks takes up a lot of time.”

This makes a ton of sense, as a) going through 85,000 bags could be a logistic nightmare, and b) a lot of the stuff your average metalhead carries around might seem dangerous, even if it isn’t.

That said, ho boy, it’s going to be rough for Wacken-goers this year. The walk between the Wacken festival grounds the camp site is considerable depending on where you pitch your tent, and having to do that haul every time you buy a piece of merch, need to reapply sunscreen, or want a drink of water that doesn’t cost €5 is going to suck significantly.

Anyway, hopefully the festival goes off without a hitch. And to the festival-goers, two words: cargo shorts.


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