Until last November, one of the last places you’d expect a terror attack to happen would be at a music venue. Last year’s tragic massacre in Paris, where most of the victims were at an Eagles of Death Metal concert. Since then, there have been attacks like the Orlando nightclub massacre, and just last week, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a music festival in Ansbach, Germany. In fact, Germany’s had a rough week, with the suicide bombing capping a mall shooting in Munich, an ax attacker on Wurzburg and a machete attack in Reutlingen. The overall sense of unease will manifest itself next weekend at the Wacken Open Air festival, where new security efforts will be put in place.
Wacken founder Thomas Jensen tells Billboard that backpacks will not be allowed on the grounds for the first time at the festival, which runs from August 4-6:
“We update our security plan constantly, counting in recent events such as bad weather or the security situation in Germany. Because of that our staff knows what to do and is well prepared,” says Jensen of the metal fest, which launched in 1990 and runs Aug. 4-6 this year. “Due to the recent events we decided that backpacks and all kind of bags are no longer allowed on the festival grounds.”
The Billboard article speaks to several in the industry, including Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick. He says that a larger festival like Wacken is probably safer because of it’s magnitude. He compares festival violence to an airplane attack, saying it may be wishful thinking, but it’s “very rare” that something could happen. Doro Pesch, who isn’t playing this year, but is German, says she’s noticed increased security in Europe. since last year. It’s an unfortunate time we’re living in, but at least Wacken is taking proper precautions to do everything they can to protect the 85,000 people they’re expecting this year.
[photo: S. Willus]