Statement W:O:A 2002
Dear Metalheads, Partners and Friends of the Wacken Open Air,
the 13th Wacken Open Air is over and we often could hear statements like ?I survived Wacken 2002?. Although the Crew still wades through the ankle-deep festival mud to take down hoardings, tents and stages, we would like already at this point sum up the event for you.
First of all, we would like to thank the whole crew for their untiring efforts, their overwhelming commitment and their water-, mud- and stress resisting staying power. Never before the Wacken Open Air was on the tilt like this year and never before Wacken was so much more as the sum of all its different parts like this year.
Also we would like to thank the public authorities, the police and the rescue teams for their sensible and extremely professional work considering the devastating weather situation. Despite the fact that in the cities of Hamburg and Itzehoe was almost a state of emergency, for the visitors in Wacken a secure and only slightly limited festival could take place, although the circumstances have been adverse.
We want to praise all the bands that performed on the festival. We?ve been allowed to be part of some legendary and unique gigs, which showed us that this special Wacken atmosphere was transferred also to the artists. Especially the bands reacted in the coolest ways on the delays due to the weather. At none of the previous Wacken festivals we had to buy so many drinks and so much coffee at the airport. It looked very much like that the dreams was over for many of the not-that-famous bands. All the more those bands have been happy to perform on stage later on. Actually, we could stick to the running order better than ever. Every band has performed.
Furthermore we would like to thank all our partners, service providers and suppliers ?who had to go an extra mile? for us and for the 13th Wacken Open Air.
Last, but not least our greatest thank goes to all the visitors, who have partly made trips of several thousand miles to experience the ?The Spirit Of Wacken?.
One thing?s for certain, that this year?s Wacken Open Air was the most peaceful and had the most awesome party ever. The media, public authorities, rescue teams and the people of Wacken are of the same opinion. Hundreds of Metalheads traveled to Wacken with busses from all over Europe and many other came by plane from all over the world. The Metal Train and soccer tournament have delightfully been accepted..
The more we are astonished that we got some verbal hits in the face by many of the visitors. Perhaps it is the stress of the last weeks and the momentarily worsen working conditions for the crew here on the festival area which made us a little bit more sensitive for the currently expressed criticism to us.
Despite the disappointment because of some E-mails we?ve got, we try to make some objective statements to all the reproaches:
The parking fee indeed increased by almost 25% from DM 30,- to EUR 20,- per automobile and by EUR 5,- for motorcycles. This was clearly communicated before. The separation of entrance and parking fee was not for the purpose, like reproached, to obscure the costs of the festival ? it is justified. Why should a visitor who comes by train pay the for the infrastructure costs for an automobile? Because of the decreasing amount of automobiles and heavily increasing costs, we had no other chance as to raise this fee.
We are sorry to that we had to offer you farming land as parking lots, but the intended meadows were hopelessly flooded. Vehicles which got stuck had been pulled out of the mud for free. There were reserved areas for big groups, metal camps and by the way there were four supermarkets, which were located at a reasonable distance. Those supermarkets have almost been ?bulldozed? by the fans. You had the opportunity to buy as much drinks and food as you wanted to and the distances of the shops to the festival area were absolutely reasonable. Even the swimming pool located just around the corner has extensively been used and had a new record attandence. You can?t seriously blame us that you needed longer to go to these places because of the mud. We will also hold on to the parking fee next year. We will consider again the amount of the fee because of the constructive criticism that there has also been. Camping will still be included in the ticket price in the future.
We can understand your indignation about the beer price. In the end, we defined the prices not until the heavy rainfalls during the build-up. Noticeably increasing personal costs were obviously to come up at that point. There was some nasty gossip going round that the festival would be cancelled.
To get critics back to earth, who came up with terms like ?exorbitant? and ?rip-off? we allow ourselves to show you this ?mathematical instruction?:
Price for one beer in 2001 DM 4,- for 300ml = DM 13,33 per Liter
Price for one beer in 2002 DM 5,86* for 400ml = DM 14,65 per Liter
*EUR 3,- x 1,95583
This is a nominal increase of 10%.
However, the beer price has risen by 7,5% since 2001. Everybody who pays now EUR 11,99 instead of DM 19,99 for a case of beer, knows this. Also the price for one can of ?Premium Pils? is not DM 0,89 any more, but now EUR 0,55.
This means that only 2.5% more profits than last year were made and have gone into the budget of the festival. This increase is below the raise of the wages, which was settled in the wage agreements this spring. Nevertheless we respect that this was the last straw that broke the camel's back. We will also think over this short-term decision. But we think it is not fair to say that we?ve been careless, because we know both sides of the bar and that?s why we would rather be on your side.
Storm warning was ignored
Bullshit - Kotipelto have announced that because during their gig the stage widths have been lowered. At no time the audience was in danger. To all the people among you who we?ve queered the pitch, because they wanted to dig ditches around their tents we recommend rather to go to ?Top Of The Pops? . Even when no drop of rain had fallen we already prepared the distribution of 30 trailers full of straw on 100 hectares of land. At the same time entrances were filled with recycling material in order that all rescue and fire emergency ways could be passed through. That was another reason, why the communication on the area was affected.
Changes in the Line-Up
Sorry, but the main access roads were heavily affected due to the thunderstorm. The A 23, which is the main access road to the airport, was closed completely. Candlemass have been forced to bring forward their departure. Although we tried to inform you with info posters at the Rock Hard Stand and the Fanclub Stand, the Shower Camps or at the supermarkets, we couldn?t reach everybody. We will take care of that by means of LED displays in the future in order that changes could be communicated better on the area.
?The same procedure as every year Mrs. Sophie?. If we set up 10% of the number of inhabitants of a town with 30.000 people, there would be ONLY toilets in Wacken. Despite all of your negative experiences, we have indeed set up an additional Shower Camp and more toilets. It?s simply impossible to set up toilets next to every tent, because there were only few possible locations available ? a walk can?t be avoided. The vehicles for emptying the toilets couldn?t reach all areas, because they simply got stuck in the mud. It would be hypocritical if we would say, that this won?t happen again in the future. Even when the weather conditions are best, we could never have that amount of toilets to satisfy everybody. ?For Metalgirls Only? toilets have been available in the inner area and we will increase the number of those toilets - also in the area next to the stage.
With all due respect, the sometimes also constructive advices to the points mentioned above do not justify in no way the doubts to our ideals with which we call into existence the first Wacken Open in 1990. People who want to tell us something about our idealism should maybe help us with the disposal of the garbage of 30.000 people ? but everybody has already left the festival....
So please allow us to take up your time for a little while to let you know of the following facts:
Another area could maybe decrease the costs, but nevertheless we want to use this ?historical? area? furthermore. We are living here in this area in the North of Hamburg and from our point of view the Wacken Open Air can only take place in Wacken. Only in Wacken we?ll have Metal until the early morning ? Party nonstop with no curfew.
We?re pleased, that you were very interested in events like the Paulaner Biergarten. We?ve seen even people from Peru and Japan, who have clinked glasses of wheat beer here for their first time in their life. However, it is still our main intention, not to make a fair out of the WOA and not to let some sponsors meddle in our business. That?s the reason why we have not taken big money offers from some marketing branches of the industry.
VIVA or MTV do not trailer the WOA. We are and we?ll remain underground for the media.
In the past we have increasingly supported foreign bands, even if they were not on tour. That led to the international flair in Wacken. What many people don?t know: There is a foreigner tax on all fees, services and costs like flights or hotel rooms which a band from another country gets. This comes inclusively value-added tax and social insurance contribution for artists to 35%. If we, for instance, treat Angry Anderson a fish sandwich for EUR 3,- then we have to pay at least additionally EUR 1,- for it. Three cheers for the EU, the foreigner tax also applies to bands of all European countries.
This year we brought again many international bands to Wacken and so we accepted the relatively high costs and taxes. Your feedback on the billing backs up our decision.
We try very hard, also against the background of tragical incidents at other festivals, to continuously improve the safety precautions. In some critical situations at this year?s WOA many of the installed mechanisms worked out well. Almost hourly meetings has kept personnel from work but have also prevented an abort of the whole festival. Of course this is expensive.
Unfortunately, security will not be noticed, as long as it?s there. You are lucky that you don?t have to think about this issue!
The entrance fee, the basic cost of the Wacken Open Air, has a steady pricing for years and it will that way in the future, too. Also people, who don?t have that much money, can still afford the event. The price, we are defining 12 months before, we definitely do not touch again. This means also that we could not take rising prices in this period into consideration. The prices for services have, for instance, risen by 7% because of the introduction of the EURO. The additional amount of money we?ve already spent on the introduction of the second phase of the Economical Tax was that high that even a dentist would have to fill many, many teeth to earn that sum?
Our only variable left are the prices for the drinks ? however, you can?t estimate the price-performance ratio based on this, although it could be tempting to that.
People who imply that we are greedy, can try to estimate on how much money we have disclaimed, because we declared the festival for sold out 10 days before it began.
Somebody who is afraid to have spent even only one Cent too much on the festival, but his wallet is full of discount or bonus cards, won?t be lucky on any festival on Earth, because you have to be able to party without the fear that somebody will buy butter instead of margarine from your money.
We don?t need to fear the comparison with other festivals, but that won't get us anywhere.
The Wacken Open Air is unique, it works different than other Fetsivals and has definitely the coolest and most faithful fans.
Every feedback which we receive will be evaluated and will be included into our planning for the 14th WOA. Already now it?s obvious that things will be improved. We want to increase the area, reduce the number of bands and we want to accredit much less ?VIPs?. To save all these poor, dropped VIPs, we work feverishly on the new MIP Area (MIP = most important person). Just in the rock?n?roll business there is one group of persons who is more and more in the focus of interest and has all our attention.
This exclusive MIP Area is necessary, because this is the only way we can demonstrate this people our acknowledgement and admiration. Only this area makes clear how much important our MIPs are to us.
The MIP is in front of the stage, dammit!!!
In metal we trust!!
Thank you very much for your understanding and unlimited support
Sheree, Holger and Thomas & W:O:A Team
Soon we will launch the event ?W:O:A-Organizer for 10 Minutes? on www.wacken.com, here you can take over the responsibility for 30.000 Metalheads.
Besides many goodies you can win one week as a crew member on the W:O:A. You will get paid like everybody else, you will have your meals together with all the others in the Catering, you will sleep with farting workmates in a mobile home and you will furthermore be a nobody. Cool, right?
But that?s one more thing: You have to write an experience report, you will be pursuited by pushy photographers and if you do your job not well enough you will be fired!
So watch out, you ?Heroes of Work? in a few days you can prove what hard-as-iron kind of guy you are. Of course, women can also take part and they will have the chance to get a hammock in wardrobe area, a robust camp bed is optional ;-)