Wacken History

More than a quarter of a century ago, a foundation stone was laid on the very flat land in the west of Schleswig-Holstein.

For the first time, rock and heavy metal bands at the Wacken Open Air provided a soundscape beyond church bells and trek motors.



An end to rural tristesse

In the village live more cows than young people, the fair is an exciting event: Wacken near the North Sea canal is a village like many others in the north German province: A peaceful 1.800 souls nest in the green with much heaven. At best will not have a pool for trailers of hard rock music. Until 1990 a handful of hard rock and metal fans, among them Thomas Jensen and Holger Hübner, want to put an end to a small improvised open air festival of the ruling Tristesse.Beer moods and bankruptcy pubs The place is quickly found, the choice falls on an inconspicuous sand cow near the village.

On the 24th and 25th of August 1990 a total of six bands will be performed, one in one plays Thomas Jensen bass. Jensen, born in 1966, is co-organizer until today. In a  interview, he reports on the modest beginnings:

The festival was a beer whisper, and I always played with some bands in my pubs, and Holger (Hübner) was a DJ We had the idea to organize an open air concert. ” At the time, the groups spoiled Local at the time, the entry price was 12 million pounds – obviously a successful mixture, as around 800 visitors find their way to the sand cows near Wacken in the first official year. Jensen remembers the impassiveness of this time: “I played with my band, tapped beer and could still put the revenue into my pants pocket.

 1993 – the near end

The organizers continue to make the name “Stoned Castle Rock Promotion”; The name already used at the first Open Air is a reference to the district of Steinburg, where Wacken is located. All help, including the parents. The festival is growing: 1,300 fans appear in 1991, the entry is 15 marks, the bands are still relatively unknown. In 1992, Jenson and his team-mates joined forces with the legendary British heavy metal rock saxon Saxon. A total of 20 groups are playing on two stages – this is evident in the entry price, but the 35 marks required do not frighten about 3,500 visitors from the trip to Wacken.

1993 then the setback: A death in the Jensen family makes the planning of the festival more difficult. In addition, Holger Hübner suffers a serious traffic accident. From the hospital he booked the bands, especially the US Power Metalians Fates Warning, who are to play their only European appearance this year in Wacken. This seems to many metal fans rather unrealistic.

Many people stay at home or at the festival tent site, where no entrance fee has to be paid. Ultimately, the organizers come to not even 4,000 paying guests, so no significant increase compared to the previous year – which can not be claimed by the costs. Wacken 1993 ends in the financial debacle, the number behind the minus is six-digit.