Yes, I'm working on the writeups of the last three shows. Yes, they will be done by the time I head to Worcester for the next-to-last one on Thursday. And yes, this is worth writing about.
(For the title, see similar from last year.)
Wacken have published their regulations for this year, and as kind of necessary for a festival of 70,000 people, they are a little more extensive than "don't be a dick, seriously", which is usually all that's needed among metalheads. Most of them make sense and are nonintrusive, but as usual, there are some that attract further comment, as excerpted below.
5. Verbotene Gegenstände
5.1. Auf dem gesamten Festivalgelände sind verboten;
5.1.1. Glasflaschen jeder Art, Tiere/Haustiere, Waffen aller Art (auch im technischen Sinne), Fackeln, pyrotechnische Gegenstände, Wunderkerzen, Himmelslaternen, Vuvuzelas, Megaphone, Shirts von rechten Bands, kommerzielle, politische oder religiöse Gegenstände aller Art, einschließlich Banner, Schilder, Symbole oder Flugblätter sowie gefährliche Gegenstände jeglicher Art.
The "banned items" here include glass bottles, weapons, several kinds of fireworks, noisemakers, right-wing crap, and....flyers. This is a little poorly written, as maybe the flyers banned are just those that might be classified as "political or religious materials", but this section may well be used against the idiots who dump 9000 copies of their bova'd-up, poorly photoshopped band bio all over the beergarden. This will make it a little cleaner, and maybe a little more difficult for me to leave stickers around.
6. Hausrecht; Verhaltensregeln; Fotografieren und Filmen
6.1. Das Hausrecht wird vom Veranstalter sowie seinem Ordnungs- und Sicherheitspersonal ausgeübt. Auf dem Festivalgelände gilt die Haus- bzw. Festivalgeländeordnung sowie die Park- und Campingordnung des Veranstalters. Den Weisungen des Personals des Veranstalters ist Folge zu leisten. Besuchern ist es untersagt, auf dem Festivalgelände:
6.1.5. außerhalb der Toiletten zu urinieren oder die Notdurft zu verrichten,
Yeah, good luck with that. On the bright side, it appears that after 20+ years, the festival is finally getting serious with the "jesus christ, people are just pissing everywhere" aspect of the experience.
6.1.7. ohne vorherige schriftliche Zustimmung des Veranstalters gewerblich Handel zu treiben, Marketingaktionen oder Werbemaßnahmen durchzuführen. Werbemaßnahmen gleich welcher Art, d.h. Bewerbung eines Produkts, einer Dienstleistung, eines Unternehmens oder einer Marke, sowie das Anbringen von Dekorationen und sonstigen Gegenständen sind auf dem gesamten Festivalgelände grundsätzlich untersagt
This is the big one, and it is new this year. Let's do a full translation:
6.1.7. (It's forbidden for visitors to do the following in the festival area:) engage in commerce, marketing, or advertising without the prior written permission of the festival organizers. Advertising of whatever type, whether for a product, a service, a business or a brand, including the bringing in of decorations and other materials, is completely forbidden in the entire festival area.
The point of this is to cut down on bullshit "street team" stuff -- and, of course, for the anticorporatists in the audience, to guarantee that Beck's and AMD and whoever the fuck else is going to have their logo all over the official banners this year will get full value for their sponsorship euros via exclusivity. Unfortunately, the Sonderwerbeaktion is exactly that: advertising. I am, in a certain excessively stupid way, an uncompensated one-man street team stumping across the sea at great expense to proclaim the virtues of the New England metal scene. Could I get lifted for what I do? Yeah, sure. But at least for the time being, I probably won't, and probably will be able to get off the hook for it, because I'm not getting paid for this....and am able to explain such to the security officers.
6.2. Fotografieren für den privaten Gebrauch mit Kleinbildkameras und Handys ist gestattet. Die Persönlichkeitsrechte Dritter sind dabei jederzeit zu wahren. Das Herstellen von Film- oder Tonaufnahmen jeglicher Art sowie deren Veröffentlichung Online oder Offline ohne Genehmigung des Veranstalters sind verboten.
Again, good luck with that last part. There will still be pictures in the trip report this year, and if I get a takedown notice, it's going straight to Chilling Effects. Lack of ads should indicate, correctly, that I'm not getting paid for these uninteresting and often decidedly incorrect scribblings either. This is made funnier by the following, also new, addendum:
11. Recht am eigenen Bild
Der Veranstalter ist berechtigt, im Rahmen der Veranstaltungen Bild-, Ton- und Bildtonaufnahmen der Besucher ohne Vergütung herzustellen und in jeder Art und Weise umfassend in allen bekannten und zukünftigen Medien zu nutzen oder nutzen zu lassen, insbesondere aber nicht abschliessend zur Berichterstattung, zur Bewerbung des Wacken Open Airs, zur Sponsorenakquise und aller sonstigen Geschäftstätigkeiten des Veranstalters und seiner verbundenen Unternehmen.
If you take a picture of yourself and your friends in front of your tent, doing metal signs and drinking beer, you are technically not allowed to publish that without approval of the organizers. However, if there is a passing festival photographer, they can take the exact same picture and put it in the advertising next year without consulting or compensating you. Since you paid for a ticket and agreed to the rules (which are actually printed on the back), people accept the latter part, but the ridiculous contradiction remains.
Wacken has a long tradition of obsessing endlessly about shit that mostly doesn't happen, bleating endlessly on about pickpockets and the availability of locker trucks when in six years, I've met one person who even allegedly had their tent robbed, and zero who've gotten dipped. The changes this year, though, seem to be focused on stuff that does happen: ubiquitous public urination, intrusive advertising, and people constructing their own multimedia narrative about the festival. This would be a better fest if people weren't pissing everywhere, and though it makes it a little more difficult for me to do my own promotion, I would like to not have to wade through a sea of crumpled flyers advertising a shitty Greek Night In Gales ripoff as I go from the bar to a table in the beergarden to write up the pictures/events of the night before. The last, though, is really troubling.
Last year, Wacken brought out a new service for people to build their own photo albums. "Just what I always wanted," you say. "Now I can upload my personal photos to a third party under nebulous and likely-exploitative terms and conditions, and then they can send them back to me in a nice binder with better pictures of bands." What it does, though, is open a window to chill non-accredited media outlets: better pictures of bands are easily available through this service, so stop taking shitty ones in low light, from the side of the stage, and a mile away. And definitely stop publishing them, because your DIY view of what the actual visitor sees is at odds with our branding.
The effect is likely to be minimal, and many of these rules are not likely to be strongly enforced: weapons have been banned forever, but I've always managed to bring my camping knife through the controls, and drugs are of course banned, but in any sufficient concentration of people, you can expect to spend a max of like, 30 to 45 seconds before finding someone with some kind of cannabinoid. I'm still going to spend most of my thrashing time trying to move CDs and slyly distributing stickers and tent repair kits (more on that in a couple show reviews), and I'm still going to write, photograph, and publish a festival report, but if the organizers believe the changes will have a significant effect, they'll get enforced strictly. The festival went glass-free and cut foot injuries by 60%. If they think they can reduce trash volume by a significant figure (to publish with their environmental branding efforts), they'll be searching bags and jackets at the gate.