Wacken Wastelands: August 2016

Okay, I know I told myself that I was going to post all of this stuff in order, and I’m not nearly finished posting our last trip so I technically shouldn’t be talking about this yet, but I’m going to do it anyway because I’m a rebel like that, and also because I’m just too stoked to share this.


So we went to Wacken. If you don’t know what Wacken is, ask any of your metalhead friends. They will tell you, probably with tears welling up in their eyes, that it is the legendary, the most ultimate metal festival of the universe. The Holy Wacken Land, the Cathedral, the Mekka of metal music. The place where metalheads of all ages gather to get drunk out of their minds and worship the gods of their genre in any way they see fit. Some choose to do this by walking around in man thongs with all their friends from Thursday until Sunday. Others do it by wearing pokemon costumes or parading around in packs of tricycles. Others seek to discover just how much Jägermeister it is actually humanely possible to consume at once out of a giant female-torso shaped container. And others choose to form giant headbanging circles for long-haired people only and rock out from dusk ’til dawn.


Metal music is not my thing (it is definitely Philipp’s thing), but metal festivals are absolutely worthy experiences. This is the second time that we’ve been here, and there is really nothing else like it.  I’ve seen grandmas walking around with black lipstick and high heels. I’ve seen a group of guys carrying around their cape-and-plastic crown-clad friend in a gestatorial chair, shouting about how it was his birthday and trying to get free beer off of people. I’ve seen people crowdsurfing for fifteen minutes straight, being handed from person to person all the way to the front of the stage and back again back and forth over and over. I even got to crowdsurf myself (so scary and awesome)!

I’ve posted a bunch of pictures in a separate post for you to check out, but what I really want to talk about in this post is what happens every year after the festival is over.

What happens is this:


Remember that female-torso-shaped container we were talking about?

That’s right. A vast, wide open garbage field. Or, to myself and many others, a big, big gold mine.

I don’t get how people do this. Can any reading this imagine going out, buying a brand new tent, sleeping bag and mat, grill, charcoal, food, beer, chairs, coolers, and a pavillion, setting up camp for a few days, and at the end saying to themselves,”You know what? I’m actually going to just go home and leave all of this shit here”?

Well that is exactly what all of these guys do.

Look at this image. This is a button from the Wacken official website. On it, you can get an idea of just how mind-bogglingly enormous the campground is.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 11.34.40 AM

When you see the pictures of all the stuff we found, keep in mind that we only searched through one of these sectioned-off areas, and we were hunting around alongside many other people. That gives you an idea of just how much stuff is left here.

When we were here two years ago, we didn’t know what to expect. We came with our two bicycles and went back totally loaded with food, beer, shoes, blankets, sleeping bags, and a ton of empty cans.


All full of cans because I’m a boss like that.

In Germany, most cans and bottles have a 25 cent deposit on them, and that adds up really fast. That’s part of how German cities stay so clean. In Berlin, when you are finished drinking a soda, you don’t throw your empty bottle in the garbage can. You either save it, or, if you’re too lazy for that, you place it on the ground next to the garbage can because you know that someone else will come pick it up and return it. When we returned all of the bottles that we found at Wacken, we had covered the cost of both of our tickets, which we had bought on-site at half price from people who had extras.

This year we drove straight onto the campground with the bus and set out on foot. We took tents and sleeping bags with us, food, a bamboo table, full bags of charcoal, a grill, and of course once again an absolute mountain of deposit bottles. DSC_0236



First, we had lunch. We found fancy bratwurst and marinated chicken still in the cooler with ice, vegetables, and garlic bread dough. We grilled it on the grill we found, using the charcoal, lighter fluid, and lighter that we found, and ate it on the cool bamboo table that we found.


And then, we went to Aldi. They didn’t even know what hit them.



Yep. Six hundred and twenty eight bottles, totaling 157 euros. Since our entry ticket was free this year (a friend of ours who couldn’t go gave it to us), this money covered the cost of our gas and then some.

To finish it off, we warmed up the sweet raisin bread that we found in our new camper oven, and ate it with the butter and jam that we found, and of course, coffee… which we also found.


Hobo level +1.





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