Bags banned at German festival amid increased security following terror attacks

Backpacks won't be allowed at Germany's Wacken Open Air festival

One European festival has banned all bags and backpacks following recent terror attacks on the continent.

Germany’s Wacken Open Air festival will run from August 4-6, hosting around 85,000 attendees. Its founder Thomas Jensen says that recent terrorist activity in Germany and a bomb being detonated outside the country’s Ansbach music festival this week has influenced his decision to increase security.

“We update our security plan constantly, counting in recent events such as bad weather or the security situation in Germany. Because of that our staff knows what to do and is well prepared,” Jensen has told Billboard.

He continued: “Due to the recent events we decided that backpacks and all kind of bags are no longer allowed on the festival grounds.”

Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium is not banning backpacks but its promoter, Chokri Mahassine, has emphasised that “safety of our visitors, artists and their crew, festival staff and local residents has always been a top priority.”

“We live in a different world these days,” Mahassine went on to add. “[The] threat of terrorist attack has become real.”

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Of his festival’s own security procedures, Mahassine said: “[The] existing security plans have been and are being updated, and additional measures have been taken. The leading Belgian festivals worked on collective measures based on their consultations with the authorities. However, for safety reasons we are not at liberty to communicate in detail on existing or additional safety procedures.”

Alex Skolnick of the band Testament, who are playing this year’s Wacken Open Air festival, said of a potential attack taking place at a festival: “It seems almost like a plane crash – very rare, even though it can happen”.

Last year, selfie sticks were banned at numerous US festivals following health and safety concerns.
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