Small Town Has A 4-Mile-Long Underground Tunnel For One Very Unusual Purpose

Anyone who’s ever attended a music festival knows that the bands themselves aren’t necessarily the biggest attraction. It’s often the community. Thousands of would-be strangers unite for a weekend to celebrate a singular passion. That’s the magic of a festival. And when the going gets tough, they cooperate in pretty extraordinary ways.

Maybe these strange-looking partiers in Germany didn’t seem like the type to band together, but they would do anything for their big event. When one crisis threatened its future, they concocted a very unusual plan. It required them to dig deep — literally and figuratively.

Every summer, a small German village rebuilt itself overnight to welcome the most twisted music fans on the planet. This event made headlines all over the world and confounded locals and foreigners alike. By 2017, it got even stranger.


Known as the Wacken Open Air, the festival marked the largest celebration of heavy metal in history. Organizers brought in the loudest bands out there since the event’s 1990 beginning, though the musicians weren’t the ones that made Wacken famous.

Organizers credited its wild fans for establishing Wacken as a premier event. A large share of attendees traveled halfway across the planet to revel in hardcore music and serious partying. With attendance swelling each year, Wacken faced some unexpected problems.

Washington Post

With attendee numbers approaching six figures, Wacken struggled to keep up with the demands of so many people. They had to account for suitable sound equipment and bathrooms, but those may not be the most important factors.

Ralph Larmann

These metalheads fueled themselves with a steady supply of beer. It’s that drunken energy that’s made many bands describe them as “the best crowds in the world.” More than 25 years into its run, however, Wacken was about to run dry.

Atlas Obscura

The minds behind the festival just couldn’t figure out a way to get enough beer there. Given their remote location, hauling a truckload of heavy kegs proved to be a monumental task. Then there were the fans who took matters into their own hands.

Geelong Advertiser

Hardcore fans also brought in plenty of cold ones themselves, which made sure that they never ran out — even if the festival drink tents tapped out. Still, these personal supplies caused a different set of problems.

Festival Sherpa

When the Wacken visitors left, they ultimately left tons of empty cans and bottles behind. The mounting cleanup costs and environmental damage made the organizers believe that there had to be a better way.


Would this rock festival fall flat on its back? Not likely, as Wacken turned it up to eleven by killing two birds with one stone. They devised an unorthodox trick to fix their beer problem, though the solution was a bit dirty.


It all started with mud. Like many other festivals, Wacken had to handle huge amounts of glop if rainclouds rolled in, so they invested in an advanced drainage system. Maybe, they wondered, it could do more than just haul sludge away from the stage.

Metal Index

They floated the idea to Wavin, the company that installed the pressurized pipes throughout the village. Their engineers figured it couldn’t be much harder to pump in a substance than it was to pump out one.

Deutsche Welle

With that crazy idea in place, Wacken started construction of a high-powered beer pipeline. Running between the main beer storehouse and the concert areas, it would span over four miles. But the project wasn’t as easy as screwing a bunch of tubes together.

Most of the year, the Wacken grounds served as practical farmland. The workers had to dig deep enough so that their pipeline wouldn’t interfere with agricultural equipment. They also couldn’t afford any leaks, as beer generally doesn’t help with crop growth.

All the moving pieces put the project in jeopardy, but the payoff would be immense. With a virtually unlimited supply of suds, Wacken could establish itself as the music festival of the future. Plus, an underground beer stream was pretty metal.

Popular Mechanics

Once all the pieces were assembled and attached to a beer reservoir, the Wacken masterminds faced the moment of truth. When the nozzle erupted with a stream of cold beer, they were ecstatic! It was more efficient than they could’ve hoped.


The completed pipeline poured six beers in just a matter of seconds, and on a larger scale, provided each attendee with close to a gallon and a half of beer over four days. They’d practically be swimming in it!

Atlas Obscura

The novelty of the beer stream also gave metal lovers one more reason to congregate in the middle of rural Germany. Wacken’s producers patted each other on the back. Granted, the pipeline didn’t fix all of the event’s problems.

Metal Addicts

With this influx of brewskis, Wacken had to crack down on public urination more than ever. Rebellious metalheads tended to disobey signs when they got the chance. Regardless, this matter was a small price to pay.


The brilliant move will ultimately keep metal fans happy and the Wacken fields clean. After all, they need to keep evolving to keep up with the unbelievable festivals popping up in other parts of the world.


Under the open sky of the Mojave Desert, a mob dressed in tattered leather cheers on a fire-breather. It looks a lot like some barbaric civilization risen out of the ashes of the apocalypse. But it’s something else entirely.

Las Vegas Review-Journal / Benjamin Hager

It’s a yearly festival! Known as “Wasteland Weekend,” the California event spans four days and welcomes fans of all things post-apocalyptic to party down and show off their striking costumes. One particularly big cultural touchstone inspired the festival.

Wired / Tod Seelie

The George Miller fans out there will recognize that Wasteland Weekend is all about Mad Max. This film franchise depicts a dystopian future where humanity breaks down into violent tribes and fights over the remaining resources.

With the popularity of the Mad Max films, thousands of wastelanders make it out to the festival every year. Attendees kick up a huge cloud of dust as they arrive in monstrous, tricked-out vehicles. Up close, the guests are even scarier.

Daily Mail / Todd Seelie

Each year since the first Wasteland Weekend in 2010, festival-goers show up in crazy outfits. They combine military, punk, and horror elements to create some truly frightening visuals — though it’s all in good fun.

Food and Wine

The most serious attendees put together both incredible outfits and custom vehicles to recreate some of the most iconic moments from Mad Max. It’s hard to miss one of the series’ biggest villains — or at least a guy dressed like him — perched atop this vehicle.

Daily Mail / Todd Seelie

It’s the fearsome Immortan Joe! In Mad Max: Fury Road, he rules over the wasteland with an iron fist and a massive army of cultish supporters. In real life, fortunately, Joe is just at the festival to have a wild time.

Naturally, War Boys — ghoulish members of Immortan Joe’s fleet — are a popular costume at the Wasteland Weekend. We can only hope they pack a lot of sunscreen! At the same time, the festival also offers plenty for fans of the older Mad Max flicks.


Tina Turner made a big splash back in 1985 as Aunty Entity in the series’ third installment, Beyond Thunderdome. Thanks to Wasteland Weekend, her deadly arena is more than just a figment of George Miller’s imagination.

Flickr / hytam2

Thunderdome is real! Of course, they take plenty of safety measures to ensure that nobody is actually clobbered to pieces. Participants wear safety harnesses, and the “weapons” are made of PVC pipe and foam. Still, this Thunderdome makes for a fun show.

Wired / Todd Seelie

And for guests who’d prefer not to get so down and dirty, Thunderdome also has a thumb wrestling version. The miniature cage will stop your opponent from using his other hand to cheat.

Wanderlust and Pie

Along with the number of guests paying homage to specific characters, Wasteland Weekend offers plenty of room for creativity. Many others piece together totally original costumes, with unique personas to boot. They only add to the depth of the festival.

Wired / Todd Seelie

Take, for example, this mohawked raider. Between his hair spiked shoulder pads, he sure looks sharp. There may not be much water after the apocalypse, but it looks like there is still plenty of hair gel to go around.


But this woman isn’t green with envy – except for her hair. She’s got her own dazzling get-up. Channeling a bit of Disney’s evil Maleficent, she created a character she calls The Sand Witch.

Red Bull / Jim Krantz

Speaking of apocalyptic wordplay, these gearheads transformed an old school bus and dubbed it a “Cruel Bus.” With a set of scary jaws painted on the front and a (fake) harpoon launcher on the roof, it certainly lives up to its name.

Daily Mail / Todd Seelie

The Cruel Bus isn’t the only vehicle with a bark as big as its bite. With a few buckets of paint, one owner of a finned 1962 Cadillac turned his ride into a shark.

In addition to the cars and trucks, attendees show up with lots and lots of motorcycles. These bikes are perfect for speeding across the Mojave terrain. It gets hot riding through the desert with no roof, but lots of Wastelanders have inventive ways to stay out of the sun.

This partygoer not only covered her face in a sinister wrap and headdress; she also brought along a metal umbrella. That’s the kind of accessory that’s perfect for creating some shade and winning some glory in the Thunderdome!

LA Weekly

With his ominous mask and black wings, it’s no surprise this reveler calls himself The Crow. It’s hard to believe that after the long weekend wraps up, The Crow probably flies back to some office job!

Todd Seelie

And if night falls before you arrive, just look for a lantern lighting the way. Professional cosplay model Jessica Nigri stole the entire show with her ghostly shaman costume.

Las Vegas Review-Journal / Benjamin Hager

Wasteland Weekend happens at the end of every summer in California City. If you make it out there, you shall ride eternal, shiny, and chrome. Will next year be your time to take over the world?

Daily Mail / Todd Seelie

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