To some, the coronavirus has put metal in its place. With livestreaming taking over where touring once ruled, bands’ sizes can now be determined by the production they can put on for a streamed performance. Metal, though known for its riveting live shows, has had to admit that it’s more of an underground genre, and therefore can afford a streamed concert from a club or studio at best. Except that’s bullshit, because according to new data, the most viewed livestream of 2020 was Wacken World Wide, the virtual version of Germany’s infamous Wacken Open Air festival!
For those who don’t know and have never been, Wacken Open Air is Germany’s biggest and most raucous metal festival, hosting between 80,000 and 100,000 fans every year in a cow pasture some hour and change north of Hamburg. The fest is almost exclusively metal and hardcore, and as such gives much-loved bands within the genre the stages and audiences they deserve. You may only get to see Cannibal Corpse in front of 300 people in Long Island, but at Wacken they get to play for a mile-long crowd of 80,000 screaming fans. 2021’s festival is already shaping up, with Slipknot, Venom, At The Gates and more scheduled to play.
This year, Wacken decided to make their festival virtual, releasing a series of live performance footage and hosting interactive panels, activities, and more. And it worked — according to Pollstar, Wacken World Wide brought in 11,000,000 views overall. The next even down on the list, a set by French DJ David Guetta, pulled in 7,729,344 views. As mentioned by MetalSucks, it’s worth noting that Guetta’s livestream was for a single artist, while Wacken’s was for a multi-artist festival with a storied history — but still, the fact that a metal festival beat the huge list of pop acts included in this poll definitely says something about metal fans versus those of any other genre.
Here’s a screenshot of the poll’s top 30 or so entries, while the full thing can be found at Pollstar’s site.
Words by Chris Krovatin