Watch: LEMMY's Ashes Enshrined At Germany's WACKEN OPEN AIR Festival
August 4, 2023
On August 2, 2023, a giant tribute to MOTÖRHEAD's Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister took place, featuring a parade, communal toasts, and the enshrinement of his ashes at Lemmy's Bar in the village of Wacken, Germany, where the annual Wacken Open Air festival is held.
Despite wretched weather conditions, nothing could derail the thunderous celebrations, which saw longtime MOTÖRHEAD members Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee participate in an afternoon parade featuring several giant floats carrying hundreds of loud and raucous MOTÖRHEAD fans. The proceedings started at the festival site and headed through the town of Wacken to Lemmy's Bar, where hordes of fans were waiting for the enshrinement ceremony, which saw Phil and Mikkey place Lemmy's ashes, which are contained in a smaller version of his custom urn, in a specially-prepared glass display next to his personal items including his hat, boots, bass guitar and Marshall stack. Fans were also treated to a re-enacted version of Lemmy's Dressing Room, which contained all his favorite things such as books, newspapers, whiskey, of course, and even his beloved Kinder Eggs with a toy, and the building itself was adorned with various MOTÖRHEAD-themed murals, including one of Lemmy himself.
Later, at night onstage, headlining rocker Doro Pesch (an old friend of Lemmy's) was joined on stage by Phil and Mikkey for "Love Me Forever" and "Ace Of Spades", which saw the crowd go crazy and underscore the enormous presence Lemmy carries as an immortal man of the people. As the band played "Ace Of Spades", a flurry of drones flew above the stage forming Doro's logo, Lemmy's face, and the Lemmy & Wacken Forever logo. Throughout the day (and doubtless into the remaining days of the festival),toasts were raised in Lemmy's name.
"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.
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."
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