A Headbangin’ Tale Of A Music Fest Honeymoon
Six days, 70,000 screaming metalheads, 800,000-plus bottles of beer. Sounds like the perfect place for your honeymoon, right? Not content with the usual honeymoon cruise (we did get married in a haunted mental asylum, after all), my husband and I decided our honeymoon would begin in the small German town of Wacken, where we would attend Wacken Open Air–the largest heavy metal festival on earth–and continue across Europe on a four-month escapade we termed our “Epic Metal Adventure.”
Sharing a campervan with two friends and toilet facilities with tens of thousands of drunk German metalheads isn’t most people’s idea of a honeymoon. But if you think there’s nothing more romantic than headbanging together in a mosh pit, welcome to honeymoon heaven! Read on for tips to plan your very own epic metal adventure.
HOW TO PACK FOR A MUSIC FEST HONEYMOON
If you’re honeymooning at a music fest, you won’t find much use for that silky lingerie or crisp suit. You need a selection of black T-shirts, sturdy boots (to protect feet in the pit), something to keep the rain off, something to keep the sun off, and something to hold your beer in. All other packing space should be left empty, as you will be filling it with more black T-shirts, beer and authentic Viking drinking horns (see “How souvenir shopping can blow your honeymoon budget”).
CAMPERVAN COUPLE-SHARING ETIQUETTE
When sharing a small motorhome between two couples–one of whom is on their honeymoon–you must implement a door-knocking system. We hung a hat on the door of the vehicle-slash-hotel to signal “private time” inside.
GOOD LUCK FINDING YOUR CAMPSITE AGAIN!
However distinctive you think your tent or vehicle is, in the vast sea of tents and trailers that is the Wacken festival campground, you will not be able to find it again. And when you do find it, it’s likely someone else will already be sleeping there. Festival-goers who get lost on the way to their lodging often decide to pick any old tent. Bring a flag, banner or giant blow-up octopus to mark your campsite, and before you snuggle into bed, check under your covers for sleeping Germans.
PAY-FOR-SHOWERS ARE NOT AN UNNECESSARY LUXURY
When attending a festival for your honeymoon, you won’t be shelling out for fancy dinners, bottles of champagne or expensive hotel rooms, so you can spare a few bucks for the pay showers and toilets. After the first night, the porta-potties are virtually a no-go zone, and scrubbing off the mud and sweat after a hard day’s headbanging keeps you feeling human.
HOW SOUVENIR SHOPPING CAN BLOW YOUR HONEYMOON BUDGET
In 2009, Wacken introduced a medieval market alongside the main metal market. Now, not only can you stock up on enough black T-shirts, rare Scandinavian black metal vinyl, and obscure band patches to feed an army of Iron Maiden fans, you can also buy authentic Viking drinking horns, swords and battleaxes, and home-brewed mead. You will return from the festival broke, but happy.
ESSENTIAL GERMAN VOCABULARY
Although I speak German, my husband does not, and he worried that he would be left out of all the fun. Not the case–many of the Germans we met spoke better English than us! My husband picked up a few handy German phrases: “Ein bier, bitte?”, “Zwei bier, bitte?” and the exceptionally important “Drei bier, bitte?”. “Eine… (frantic pointing at the item he wants) …Bitte?” “Mein Deutsch ist Scheisse. Sprechen Sie Englisch?”
WHEN YOUR LOVER WANTS TO SEE A LAME BAND YOU HATE
With five outdoor stages and more than 80 bands, you’re bound to split up at some point. Agree upon a meeting place for after your respective shows. Choose your meeting place wisely–it’s not good enough to say “Let’s meet by the entrance to the Biergarten,” as you’ll find 10,000 other people waiting for their friends by the entrance to the Biergarten. And you can’t simply walk up to someone and say “Hi, I’m looking for my husband. He has long hair and is wearing a black T-shirt.”
HOW TO SAVE YOUR WOMAN FROM BEING CARRIED OFF BY DRUNK GERMANS
If a drunk German does happen to carry off your new wife, as happened to my husband on three unrelated occasions, you will need to chase him down and politely ask to take her back. They are normally happy to oblige and might even offer you a congratulatory beer for landing yourself such a fine specimen.
A MUSIC FESTIVAL HONEYMOON MAY NOT BE THE PERFECT CHOICE FOR EVERYONE
In fact, most people couldn’t imagine a worse place to spend a week of their lives than on a field with 70,000 crazy Germans. But when the last band played and we emerged triumphant–covered in mud and wearing huge smiles–we promised we’d return for every wedding anniversary. So, it is true what they say: Couples who headbang together, stay together.
Image(s): Michel Isola