Every year, more than 75,000 metalheads descend like vikings upon the tiny town of Wacken, Germany—population: 1,800—for Wacken Open Air, one of Europe's premier metal festivals.
Needless to say, you need a lot of beer and a lot of metal to quench the thirsts of such a large crowd, and this year, the traditional methods of festival beer distribution will not suffice.
Not content with the usual sweaty dudes carrying Heinekens over their heads through crowds of gyrating metalheads, Wacken organizers are opting for a massive beer pipeline to quite literally pump fans with beer. The undertaking is significant, as organizers are hoping to transport 400,000 liters (the annual average consumed at Wacken) via the pipeline.
The festival has said that the beer pipe is the most efficient logistical solution to "hydrating" such a large group of people for such a short amount of time. As heads bang and bodies slide through mud to the tune of Megadeth, Amon Amarth, Avantasia, and Kreator, cool, crisp beer will be flowing beneath festival grounds.
"Until this year, we always had to move dozens of barrels through the infield," Wacken said in a release on their website. "We had to bring in full barrels before and during the shows and afterwards we had to remove the empty ones. This caused a lot of avoidable traffic. The new pipeline helps us to protect the floor! And we also get rid of bottlenecks at the bar; you will not have to wait for the new barrel to be on tap anymore."
The folks at Wacken sound like pro drinkers, and the construction, which is costing an estimated one million euros, is an investment in the future of the metal festival and its location in the tiny German town. "The installation of the pipes and the enlarged drainage is a lasting investment in the infrastructure of Wacken. We pave the way for many more years of Heavy Metal at Wacken Open Air!" festival coordinators say in the statement. We'll drink to that.
But metal fans, beware: Too much beer is not always good for metal. Just ask the members of Finnish black metal band Azazel, who were heckled off stage at Steelfest this year after a sloppy, confrontational performance due to too much festival beer drinking.