Jensen Grows Wacken Brand

Although Wacken Open Air organizers have spent the best part of a year negotiating to spread the festival across Europe, things are moving faster on the home front with the launch of a new event in Germany.

The team behind the event that was named best festival at last year’s German Live Entertainment Awards is starting Wacken Rocks South (May 21-23) at Kreuth, near the Austrian border.

The site is in Bavaria’s wooded mountains and the nearest major German city is Nuremburg, about 80 kilometers to the north.

Wacken Rocks South will twin with Wacken Rocks Seaside, which started last year as a two-day festival near the coast and the Dutch border at Aurich. It’s now been extended to three days.

Der W, In Extremo, Heaven Shall Burn, Stratovarius, The Bosshoss, JBO and D-A-D are already confirmed for both 15,000-capacity Sea and South events. The Wacken team is sorting out the rest of the lineups.

A week after the twinned Aurich and Kreuth events, the new Wacken Rocks Berlin (May 30) will launch at the city’s famous Citadel, a Renaissance fortress on an island at the confluences of the Havel and Spree rivers.

It was designed to protect the town of Spandau, which is now part of Berlin, and is in the same district as the world-famous Spandau prison.

Der W, Heaven Shall Burn, D-A-D, and Volbeat are confirmed.

“Although it doesn’t seem to have affected us as we’ve already sold out, I think the financial crisis may be hurting some of our neighbours,” Wacken chief Thomas Jensen told Pollstar, explaining why it may be too late to hit his original target of staging the event outside Germany in 2009.

He remains confident that he will be able to find suitable partners to stage Wackens in the neighbouring countries and expects to have another round of meetings in London during the ILMC weekend (March 13-15).