The weather takes the shine off the largest metal music festival in the world, as the Wacken Open Air festival was forced to limit admissions because heavy rain turned the ground to mud.
A heavy metal festival in northern Germany opened on Wednesday with a reduced audience after persistent rain turned the ground to mud and forced organisers to halt new arrivals.
Organisers of the famed Wacken Open Air festival in the village of Wacken, a rural area northwest of Hamburg, had already told fans on Tuesday that no more cars and trucks could be admitted to the site because camping areas, the grounds and access roads were in poor condition due to the heavy rain over recent days. More rain was expected.
Early on Wednesday, organisers announced a “total admission stop”.
A statement on the festival's website read: "Considering the weather conditions, the reasonable visitor capacity for Wacken Open Air 2023 has now been reached".
It was, according to the statement, the first time since the event was first held in 1990 that organisers had to stop admissions.
“We are very sad, but the continuing difficult weather situation, unfortunately, leaves us no other choice,” the statement added.
A crowd of 85,000 originally was expected at the sold-out event.
Police estimated that about 50,000 people made it to the site before admissions were halted and about half of the rain-soaked camping site was occupied, German news agency dpa reported.
Traffic jams in the area had largely dissolved by Wednesday morning after many fans turned back or sought alternative camping sites.
Bands expected to perform at the event, running through to Saturday, include Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Helloween.