How bad does the mud have to be before the world’s biggest metal festival closes its gates? This bad.

Each year, metal fans from across the planet descend on Wacken, a town of about 2,000, the biggest music festival of its kind in the world. Even Motorhead’s Lemmy will be there–and he died in 2015. (Some of his ashes will be spread on the site.)

Normally, the Wacken Open Air attracts a sellout crowd of around 85,000. It’s usually an awesome time–except this year.

That part of Germany has experienced torrential rains, turning the Wacken festival site into an ocean of mud. For the first time in the event’s existence, organizers have closed the gates, thereby reducing capacity from 85,000 to 50,000. There’s just too much mud–and 50,000 people will have a challenging weekend.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38035 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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