Wacken Open Air's 32nd edition is off to a spectacular start: the unforgettable Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister will find another resting place at this year's event. On August 2, the MOTÖRHEAD frontman, who died in 2015, will be honored with an unforgettable symbolic act at the famous Wacken festival in Wacken, Germany. This forms part of "Lemmy Forever", a weekend celebration of the life of a defining icon of rock and roll, his legacy, and his continued presence as one of the world's preeminent figures in art and culture.
"Lemmy coming back to Wacken is an enormous honor for us — words can hardly express how enormous," notes organizer Thomas Jensen. "We will create a place of remembrance for him that does justice to his significance for an entire genre and beyond." Co-organizer Holger Hübner adds: "There has always been a special connection between MOTÖRHEAD and Wacken Open Air; hardly any band has played here more often. The fact that his journey also ends here will forever hold a special meaning."
MOTÖRHEAD's Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee will lead the festivities, throughout which there will be numerous opportunities to raise a toast to Lemmy with fellow friends and bands on the bill.
"Wacken was one of Lemmy's dearest homes and we're delighted he has a place here forever," says MOTÖRHEAD manager Todd Singerman. "He was a man of the people, and as such, he 'lived' in many places worldwide. It's our aim to allow him to rest permanently in all his 'homes' globally, and allow his fans worldwide to have a place close to them where they can both pay respects and celebrate his enormous continuing legacy and influence."
Lemmy died on December 28, 2015 at the age of 70 shortly after learning he had been diagnosed with cancer.
MOTÖRHEAD had to cancel a number of shows in 2015 because of Lemmy's poor health, although the band did manage to complete the aforementioned European tour a couple of weeks before his death.
In June 2020, it was announced that Lemmy would get the biopic treatment. The upcoming film, "Lemmy", will be directed by Greg Olliver, who previously helmed the 2010 documentary of the same name, "Lemmy".
A custom-made urn containing Lemmy's ashes is on permanent display in a columbarium at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood, California.
This past March, Campbell was asked in an interview with a href="https://myglobalmind.com/2023/03/17/phil-campbell-of-phil-campbell-and-the-bastard-sons-on-new-release-live-in-the-north-touring-with-my-sons-is-very-different-than-touring-with-motorhead-i-no-longer-drink-so-its-a-big/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Myglobalmind if he and his then-bandmates knew "things were not going well" when they were forced to cancel a number of shows due to Lemmy's declining health in the months leading up to his death. Phil responded: "Yeah, we knew, but Lem wanted to just carry on then. I know the last tour in Germany, I think one or two shows were canceled 'cause I ended up in hospital. And I came back out and we finished the tour. And that was the last tour then; the last show was in Berlin. So the last week of MOTÖRHEAD, actually I was the one in bloody hospital. But we never thought — when we parted at the end of the tour, we never thought that would be the last time we'd see each other. We didn't have a chance to say goodbye, me or Mikkey [Dee, MOTÖRHEAD drummer], or nothing. I couldn't even go over to the funeral, 'cause my doctor advised me not to, 'cause I was pretty ill myself in them days."
Earlier that same month, Dee told Sonic Perspectives that Lemmy didn't have any idea he was dying in the months leading up to his December 2015 passing. "I don't think that he had those — I know he didn't have these thoughts at all," Mikkey said. "But he did struggle with his health, and that was a pain in the ass for Lemmy, because he wanted to live his normal life so much. But he had some good days and bad days. And '15 was a tough year for Lemmy, and for all of us, obviously. But I know for a fact that he had no idea that he would actually pass away — I mean, die — by the end of that year; he had no clue about that."