Wacken Open Air bans backpacks following terror attacks

Bags banned on Wacken Open Air festival grounds
Bags banned on Wacken Open Air festival grounds

Wacken Open Air has banned backpacks following the recent spate of terror attacks across Europe.

Organisers have increased security measures for the 2016 edition after a run of tragic incidents in France and Germany – including a suicide bomber who blew himself up and injured 15 others after he was refused entry to Ansbach music festival last month.

Wacken Open Air will take place from August 4-6 and will see an estimated 85,000 people in attendance.

Founder Thomas Jensen says: “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.

“Due to the recent events we decided that backpacks and all kind of bags are no longer allowed on the festival grounds.”

Bosses at Derby metal festival Bloodstock are also mulling over whether to introduce similar counter-terrorism measures for their event next weekend.

Organisers tell TeamRock: “At Bloodstock we want to make sure that everyone’s safe and secure. So, when incidents like those in France and Germany take place, we review our plans with the various people involved in these elements of the festival.

“We won’t comment on any specific changes or arrangements at this time, but everyone should be assured it’s something we monitor closely.”

Alex Skolnick, whose band Testament are scheduled to play at Wacken, says: “A large festival like Wacken does feel a bit safer, since entry is so regulated and there are watchers everywhere who’d observe the first sign of anything out of the ordinary.

“At the same time, it’s a big brand name and probably more of a potential target. Still, despite recent events – Le Bataclan in Paris last November and at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, in particular – the possibility of that kind of an attack feels like a freak occurrence. Maybe this is wishful thinking or denial, but it seems almost like a plane crash – very rare, even though it can happen.”

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Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.