On August 2, 2023, an extraordinary tribute to MOTÖRHEAD’s iconic frontman, Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, unfolded in the village of Wacken, Germany, where the renowned Wacken Open Air festival is held annually
This remarkable event featured a grand parade, heartwarming communal toasts, and a touching enshrinement of Lemmy‘s ashes at Lemmy‘s Bar.
Despite adverse weather conditions, the spirited celebrations remained undeterred. The festivities roared to life with the participation of longstanding MOTÖRHEAD members Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee, who joined the afternoon parade alongside hundreds of enthusiastic and raucous MOTÖRHEAD fans. Towering floats adorned with Lemmy‘s iconic imagery traversed the festival site and the town of Wacken, creating an unforgettable spectacle.
As the parade reached its destination, Lemmy‘s Bar, a multitude of devoted fans eagerly awaited the enshrinement ceremony. Phil and Mikkey reverently placed Lemmy‘s ashes in a smaller replica of his custom urn within a specially-prepared glass display. Alongside the ashes, the display showcased personal belongings, including his treasured hat, boots, bass guitar, and legendary Marshall stack, all serving as poignant reminders of Lemmy‘s larger-than-life presence.
The tribute did not end there. Fans were treated to a heartfelt re-enactment of Lemmy‘s Dressing Room, meticulously recreated with his favorite possessions such as books, newspapers, and, of course, his beloved whiskey. Among the nostalgic items were the cherished Kinder Eggs, complete with toys, a testament to Lemmy‘s unique and endearing personality.
The entire building was adorned with striking MOTÖRHEAD-themed murals, one of which captured the unmistakable image of Lemmy himself, forever immortalized in art. Despite the challenging weather, the celebration remained a thunderous and fitting homage to the legendary Lemmy, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of all who attended.
Later that night, renowned rocker Doro Pesch, a cherished old friend of Lemmy‘s, took the stage as the headlining act. To the delight of the crowd, Phil and Mikkey joined her on stage for unforgettable performances of “Love Me Forever” and the timeless MOTÖRHEAD anthem “Ace Of Spades.” The audience erupted with excitement, a testament to the enduring legacy and profound impact Lemmy had as an immortal figure among the people.
During the electrifying rendition of “Ace Of Spades,” a mesmerizing display of technology unfolded above the stage. A flurry of drones danced in the night sky, forming captivating images of Doro‘s logo, Lemmy‘s iconic face, and the commemorative Lemmy & Wacken Forever logo. It was a stunning visual tribute to Lemmy’s everlasting influence on the world of rock and roll.
The celebration of Lemmy‘s life and music continued throughout the day and undoubtedly resonated throughout the remaining days of the festival. Countless toasts were raised in Lemmy‘s honor, a gesture of love and admiration from fans, friends, and fellow musicians alike. His spirit, larger than life, lives on in the hearts of all who were touched by his music and his magnetic personality.
“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 Lemmy Forever at Wacken celebration was part of a wider movement that started at last year’s Hellfest, and sees Lemmy enshrined and celebrated at select spots around the world, which he loved and allowing fans a place to gather, remember and honor him.