Wacken Open Air, the biggest heavy metal festival in the world, had to cancel its 2021 edition due to Germany’s coronavirus pandemic restrictions related to the return back live events .

The festival, which usually attracts about 90,000 attendees to the small town of Wacken, was forced to cancel in 2020 as well.

“Our hearts are bleeding,” the festival’s co-founders Thomas Jensen and Holger Hübner wrote in a joint statement.

The decision to cancel this year’s festival was largely influenced by the fact that many of Wacken’s visitors come from over 80 countries across the world.

“Even if we were able to hold the festival, many people would still not be able to arrive as planned due to travel restrictions,” Hübner said. “A Wacken Open Air, that’s a festival for the whole world and for that we need open borders without quarantines, plus we need safety for all people involved — especially for the people living in the Wacken region.”

Tickets can be transferred to next year’s Wacken Open Air, which is expected to take place Aug. 4-6, 2022.

“As before, we will offer our visitors a choice: They can exchange to 2022 or request a payout. Last year, well over 90% of fans opted to exchange to the following year, and we are confident that we can continue to rely on the loyalty and trust of our fans,” said Sabrina Schmidt of Wacken’s ticketing team. “Those who want to support us additionally can also get some new fan gear during the process, which is only available as part of this exchange.”

In the meantime, Wacken organizers are exploring options for a live music event this fall, but no details have been announced.

“We are currently looking into what is feasible and hope that the positive development of the situation will continue,” Jensen said. “If everything goes according to plan, maybe we can host a new event in Wacken this September to help restart live music. But we know for certain that metalheads will return to Wacken in summer 2022!”

Numerous documentaries and television specials have chronicled the 30-year-old festival which has featured such headliners as Motorhead, Judas Priest, Scorpions and many others.

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