This year’s edition of Wacken Open Air was truly one for the ages. On the festival’s opening day August 2, a giant tribute to late Motörhead frontman Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister took place that featured a parade, communal toasts, and the enshrinement of his ashes at Lemmy’s Bar in the village of Wacken, Germany. The raucous celebrations were attended by longtime Motörhead members Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee, who participated in an afternoon parade that featured several giant floats carrying hundreds of rabid Motörhead fans.
The parade route began at the festival site and went through the town of Wacken to Lemmy’s Bar. The enshrinement ceremony itself saw Phil and Mikkey place Lemmy’s ashes in a specially-prepared display next to personal items including his hat, boots, bass guitar and Marshall stack. Those in attendance were also treated to a loyal recreation of Lemmy’s Dressing Room, which contained his favorite books, newspapers, whiskey (duh), and even his favorite candy, Kinder Eggs. The building itself was covered top to bottom with Motörhead-themed murals.
On stage that night, headliner and close personal friend of Lemmy’s Doro Pesch was joined on stage by Phil and Mikkey for blazing renditions of “Love Me Forever” and “Ace Of Spades.” As to be expected, the crowd lost its collective mind. During “Ace Of Spades”, a mass of drones flew above the stage formed a sequence of Doro’s logo, Lemmy’s face, and the Lemmy & Wacken Forever logo.
“Lemmy loved playing Wacken; there was a long relationship as we played for the first time in 1997 and returned many, many times,” said Dee. “It is quite natural that he is returning now and has another place forever.”
“It’s great that Lemmy will be at Wacken forever among such good friends,” said Campbell. “And I’m glad there’s another home where people can raise a toast to him.”
The Wacken celebration was part of a wider movement that started at last year’s Hellfest. These “Lemmy Forever” events see the Motörhead frontman enshrined and celebrated at select spots around the world that held a deep personal significance to the legendary musician.
Lemmy passed away on December 28, 2015 at the age of 70 after a short battle with cancer.