Wacken Open Air 2022: “When the skull hangs, it’s Wacken”

For many of the helpers, when the steel bull's skull is installed above the main stage, it is a milestone just before the start of Wacken Open Air 2022

An emotional moment for the entire crew, many say. Wacken Open Air (WOA) officially begins on August 4th. / Wacken Open Air 2022

Markus Olmer, stage construction manager in Wacken, is still deeply relaxed. He buries a hand in his work shorts and smiles. With the other he adjusts his sunglasses, looks briefly at the stage and then back at the reporters. “We’ve done this a few times,” he says. Then he continues: “But we still have respect for the moment – because when the skull hangs, then it’s Wacken,” he says.

Wacken skull – the WOA symbol made of steel

According to Holmer, the Wacken skull weighs 2.8 tons, is almost 13 meters high and 18 meters wide. Before a crane can lift it, the four parts of the skull are mounted on a scaffold. Then it goes up. The heavy-duty crane lifts the part 28 meters up into the middle of the main stage, where it will be assembled. A gas system is installed. It consists of 40 gas burners, 500 meters of gas hose and 500 meters of cable. During the festival, flames repeatedly shoot out of the Wacken skull, which is considered the symbol of the metal festival.

Preparations are in full swing in Wacken

During the open-air weekend, Wacken becomes the third largest city in Schleswig-Holstein: behind Kiel and Lübeck. Normally around 1,900 people live in Wacken – during the festival up to 100,000 will be in Wacken. 54 kilometers of site fence will be erected around the festival site, plus 40 drinking water stations and an armada of recycling bins. A huge service water intermediate tank ensures that the Wacken sewage system does not collapse by first collecting the waste water and then gradually discharging it into the sewage system. The festival area covers a total of 360 hectares, the festival infield is 43,000 square meters.

Beer pipeline caters to metal fans

Very important for most Wacken visitors: The beer pipeline – according to the organizers it is one kilometer long. It is connected to tankers and ensures that fans have liters of beer poured into their cups within seconds.

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