Wacken Stories: Uli Kruse | W:O:A - Wacken Open Air
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Created by Katharina Metag

Wacken Stories: Uli Kruse

Almost 30 years of W:O:A lead to many, many great stories – crazy, heart-warming, revealing, or just plain funny. To collect those stories, we have talked to the people that live, work or party around the „Wacken Holy Ground“. Their experience illustrate the festival’s extraordinary spirit, so have fun with special anecdotes which you won’t find everywhere else: Here are the „Wacken Stories“!

Uli Kruse (Head of festival counselors, fan of classical music, biker)

„I met plenty of freaks even before Wacken.“


In 2009, Uli Kruse and his colleagues had put up their counseling tent at the W:O:A for the first time, when a customer walked in. He was only looking for a nail at first, but he stuck around – and started to talk.


„The man had been walking for 30 minutes in search for the Fire Departement to ask them for a big nail. He saw some nails at our tent, so we could help out instead. After two hours he returned to thank us. On the next morning, he showed up yet again – and started to talk: disputes with the ex-partner, a custody battle, alcohol, just lost his job. From then on we talked almost every day.


Back then, there were eight people working as counselors during the festival, today we are 20, all volunteers. Among us are pastors, psychotherapists, social workers, educators and students, ten men, ten women between the ages of 25 and 72. We are working in four-hour-shifts during the festival week, twice a day, from Tuesday morning until Sunday at noon.


The problems are multifaceted: fears, being overwhelmed, problems at school or at work, loss, sorrow, addiction, violence and confusion. But these problems are not developing at Wacken, the fans bring them to the W:O:A. During their everyday life people usually lack the time to talk about it, but at the festival that’s different – and all conflicts rise to the surface.


As a psychotherapist, I’ve met plenty of freaks from the scene even before Wacken. I’ve been to many events, backstage as well. In my experience, there is no festival in Germany that is so peaceful. Excessive drug use, serious crime, violence – stuff like that is not happening here. The noise level is hardcore, though: Our tent is located right at the infield, next to the police and emergency medical services. When the W:O:A is over and I get on my bike, I enjoy wearing the helmet, being closed off from the world. At home, I put on a piano concert. It takes two days to be able hear everything again. But regardless of the exhaustion the work is always worth it, every year.


My visitor from our first Wacken has been coming back every year – to talk and to say thanks. He went through retraining, got a new job, has established good communication with his ex and is seeing his son on a regular basis. The nail he was looking for back then was just intended to fix a loose board in his tent construction – but it drove him onto a new path.“


Uli’s wish for the 30th W:O:A, if anything was possible:

„Apocalyptica: wonderful music. And because I like good comedy tunes: Torfrock. I have all their albums.“


Katharina Metag


Do you want some more? All already released stories are available here!