“We The People Of Wacken” – review of the photographic chronicle of the festival
The small village of Schleswig-Holstein land named Wacken was silent until 1990. Almost 2000 people lived in peace here, fields were ploughed by tractors and combed by harvesters, farmers collected harvest, the cows were mooing. And then the idea to disturb this idyll for good rushed into the heads of two guys… The metal festival was started and the emblem of the event was symbolic – the cows’ head.
Years passed and “Wacken Open Air” grew into the biggest metal fest in the world and became the original paradise (or hell?) of metalheads. This year we have the 25th edition of WOA – a quarter of the century has passed already. The anniversary was marked by an instant sold-out, a number of famous bands and novelties of organization. Moreover, one of accents is the photo book “We The People Of Wacken”. Not each open-air festival attracts such attention.
The author of short summary of the edition Steffan Chirazi is sure: Wacken sells out because of the name Wacken. 70 000 tickets to WOA 2015 were sold out in 12 hours only! Why? Because the festival community, the people of Wacken, are committed to the spirit of freedom, creativity and self-expression. You are ready to migrate among 8 stages and you will find something to see there. Even though music is not the essential card for certain audience. You’ll feel the exceptional atmosphere here, no matter if it’s rain and mud, soaking in the swimming pool in heat, or wearing hoods in cool night temperature. Thus the festival’s almanac was born. And even the one who never has been in WOA can now see what happens here. The view appears not through the keyhole but through the photo lens.
The vigilant eye of the photographer captured various emotions and even the most madcap actions of Wacken people. Look at this – guys are running to stages like long distance runners for standing in front of their “idols”. And others rise their hands standing in the crowd following a certain metal command. You will see numerous examples of alternative fashion. There are no borders of Wacken people fantasy!
Also you need to feed your eyes in camp sites – there it is evident that ingenuity of metalheads is also unlimited. Squares for pastime, houses on cart, swing on tractor, open metaloteque… And how amazing this international gathering in one place is. One says people create a certain tribe here. They gather in Wacken from different countries and, even if they would have never met otherwise, they meet here, they act together and recognize each other the next time!
Look at the photos to see bathing and refreshing people on a sunny day. In the next page you can find funny illustrations of drinking or eating men. Attractions of Wackinger Village are there, and the beer garden entertainment is captured too. Do you wonder about the unrestrained emotions of metalheads who enjoy crowd surfing or mosh pit? Don’t worry – they are not victims :).
Almost 1/3 of the book is assigned to the inevitable attribute of Wacken – mud. It is a marshy area and bogs are a usual occurrence here. But what about rain for half a day? Then you have the whole service of mud bath. Some freaks roll on muddy ground, other ones splash each other with it, and the third ones hug one another here… It is necessary to check out these illustrations and you will feel as if you wade in mud yourself. And Pep Bonet had to be crazy himself when documenting this as he got his hands, face, hair, jeans and even cameras dirty without any doubt.
There was almost no mud in WOA 2014. Can you imagine that we, the people of Wacken, missed it? But we got heat and dust instead and we experienced like being sweeps or miners with dirty noses and ears :).
You can find 2 CDs in the book as well featuring songs of WOA 2013 players. Consequently you can bring fun to your ears when your eyes are satisfied with sights. And then you can dip in thought why Wacken meeting has been the lifeblood of several generations of metalheads for 25 years? Because they are freaks at heart? If so, they need a “safe-house” to relax and to get a chance to express themselves. And all this is for one week per year when the whole tribe of Wacken people is resting from their jobs and routine. The book “We The People Of Wacken” perpetuated such people in particular. So what is our asylum?