back to article Greybeard greebos do runner from care home to attend world's largest heavy metal fest Wacken

Anyone ever told they're "too old for this shit" can take heart in this tale from Germany, where two elderly gents skipped out on nurses, apparently to rock out at Wacken Open Air – the world's largest heavy metal festival. The old folks' home raised the alarm on Friday when the senior citizens were found missing, according to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clearly beyond the realms of death. I salute them.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      The local news here also showed an 80 something woman with rolator going around the site, having a great time and having to stop every couple of steps as young people passing by wanted to take a selfie with her.

      There were also a lot of 60+ visitors, looking at the news footage.

      On a side note, the largest European Reggae festival was last weekend near me. Reggae Jam in Bersenbrück. A great atmosphere, also a visible atmosphere, if you know what I mean.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On what grounds did the police force them to leave?

    1. Rich 11

      Breaking the law.

      No doubt they were picked out of the crowd by the electric eye. I imagine they'll now be screaming for vengeance.

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        @Rich 11

        What law? If they were unlawfully at large (Or whatever the German equivalent is) then they'd have escaped from a prison or other secure institution. But they had come from a care home, so what law did they break? They clearly knew where they were and they wanted to stay there.

        1. Rich 11

          Re: @1 hr A Non e-mouse


          1. Chris G

            Re: @1 hr A Non e-mouse

            I saw Judas Priest several times in London in the late '60s and early '70s, blowed if I can remember where though.

            Currently I play their music through an augmented Denon system, it's quieter than my previous system by a couple of hundred watts, max's out at about 500. I know a lot of old rockers in their late '60s and early '70s we all still like a bop on the odd occasion when there's someone worth listening to.

            I would still like to know how come the fuzz dragged them out.

            1. Little Mouse

              Dragged out by the fuzz?


      2. David 132 Silver badge

        @Rich 11 If you think I'm going to downvote that then you've got another thing coming.

        And as usual on these comments, the British steel the show...

      3. Fortycoats

        They were picked up at 3am, so they were living after midnight.... you don't have to be old to be wise, but it might help

      4. Fungus Bob

        They only had One Shot at Glory.....

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "On what grounds did the police force them to leave?"

      They were enjoying themselves?

      1. GrumpenKraut
        Big Brother

        > They were enjoying themselves?

        Which ist illegal in tze Land of tze Grump!

        Now seriously: I am more than a little annoyed that all papers reporting on this go like "Two old people tried to escape their alloted 10 square meters for the purpose of having a nice time. Soon caught and brought back to their old person prison. How very cute. Giggles all around!"

        WHAT THE FUCK?

    3. Anonymous Coward

      > On what grounds did the police force them to leave?

      They didn't haven't their cardigans... cue Whitesnake 'In the chill (sic) of the night'

    4. Dave 126

      1, it's unclear that they were forced to leave or 'dug their heels in' - the relevant Reg paragraph isn't supported by the source article. The original article merely says that after being contacted by the police the nursing home arranged return transport.

      2, There's no mention of these guys' mental capacity - since they are evidently physically fit enough to make it to the festival, one assumes that they might reside in a nursing home due to dementia. Neither the police nor the nursing home may have seen it as their place to disclose the men's medical conditions unnecessarily.

      3, It might be that two men didn't have tickets for the festival. That's usually cause to be escorted from festival grounds.

    5. big_D Silver badge

      They would have been the legal responsbility of the nursing home and if they had broken out (left without permission / without booking themselves out), they would have to be brought back (power of attourney).

      1. GrumpenKraut

        @big_D: any/all of that may be true, but why doesn't the article say so? Not the Reg's fault, none of the reports indicates anything useful.

        Taking my chill pills now.

  3. Locky

    Don't fear the Reaper

    1. Rockets

      Don't fear the Reaper

      I gotta have more cowbell!

  4. Joe User

    If it's too loud, you're too old

    Rock on, grey-beards!

    1. juice

      Re: If it's too loud, you're too old


      *twiddles hearing aid*

  5. PerlyKing

    "Dazed and confused", surely?

    "We're both total metalheads!" Geddit?! --->

    That is all.

    1. steelpillow Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "Dazed and confused", surely?

      Upvote for Led Zep ref.

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: "Dazed and confused", surely?

      Maybe they were hoping Sabbath were on, children of the grave and all that

    3. Scroticus Canis

      Re: "Dazed and confused", surely?

      Well more likely having found a toker willing to share than any dementia, it was a metalheads event after all.

      1. onefang

        Re: "Dazed and confused", surely?

        "Well more likely having found a toker willing to share than any dementia,"

        With the cops chasing them, Shirley they where Paranoid?

    4. Geoffrey W

      Re: "Dazed and confused", surely?

      Ooooh, that still aggravates me. Led Zep crediting themselves for dazed and confused when it was clearly written by Jake Holmes, who does a somewhat more deranged version of the song, though rather quieter.

  6. Gene Cash Silver badge

    > Perhaps the home should have booked a minibus trip for its residents.

    Usually rest homes are complete dicks about this sort of thing. Nurse Ratchet won't hear of that foolishness.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      @Gene Cash Nurse Ratchet won't hear of that foolishness.

      Just to be pedantic - the name of the nurse in the original movie was Ratched. "Ratchet" - and how could it be anything else? - was the name of the robot nurse in Futurama.

      Unless German nursing homes are more high-tech than assumed, I am technically correct (the best kind of correct).

  7. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    I think I'll..

    .. stick with going to Prog festivals. At least, when the dementia strikes, by the time the song ends you'll have forgotten how it started :-)

    (Which leads me on to my complaint about music players - when they say "room for up to 500 songs" they obviously don't have prog in mind. My phone (which has a mix of rock, folk, jazz and prog) has an average song length of 7 minutes..)

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: I think I'll..

      At least, when the dementia strikes, by the time the song ends you'll have forgotten how it started

      The kids can keep their answering machine-message length ditties, clearly suited to the short-attention span types.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I think I'll..

        Prog and metal mix nicely. There are many bands with long, meandering pieces – see early Opeth material.

      2. IDoNotThinkSo

        Re: I think I'll..

        Then again, you could be a Wagnerian (although some may say this is just early Prog Rock).

        4 tracks, 15 hours. Though I suppose you could have a break after each act if you are a lightweight. :-)

        Whether the heavy mob would drag you out of the opera house during a performance to return you to your padded cell is yet to be tested. One day...

        1. David 132 Silver badge

          Re: I think I'll..

          Can you use Wagner as a Ring tone?

          1. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

            Re: I think I'll..

            Can you use Wagner as a Ring tone?

            Sauron is not happy at all. Nazgûl are on their way.

            Hobbits inna pocketses

      3. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: I think I'll..

        The kids can keep their answering machine-message length ditties, clearly suited to the short-attention span types.

        Average length of a chart single in the 1960's was two minutes, that rose to almost five minutes by the 1980's, these days it's down to around three minutes again.

        Three to four minutes has long been the preferred length of a single, although of course many genres are partially defined by songs which go on for (sometimes much) longer than that.

    2. Vinyl-Junkie

      Re: I think I'll..

      Sounds about right! I bought a CD by The Gift (UK prog band) last weekend; 57 minute running time, 6 tracks...

    3. Stevie

      Re: I think I'll..

      You'll know you are losing it when the lyrics to Close to the Edge or And You And I make sense.

      I shoved a 256 gig card into my phone and it still has room for a lot more stuff alongside the Yes, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Muse, Gryphon, Glass Hammer, Ralph McTell (gotta have a break sometime), Mutton Birds (how these blokes never made it big in the mid 90s is beyond me), Kraftwerk, soundtracks (recent mania) and Terry Pratchett books on chip. If I hit "random track play" it's a right mess I can tell you.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: I think I'll..

        > If I hit "random track play" it's a right mess I can tell you.

        New el'reg game.

        How long do you have to listen to a clip of "just a minute" before being sure that it isn't a Yes/ABWH track ?

    4. Chris G

      Re: I think I'll..

      Re: Prog

      I was worried for a minute there, a few years ago I heard kids at one of the clubs talking about prog and it was some kind of electro house. Prog to me has always been quintessential '70s music.

      1. mics39

        Re: I think I'll..

        Yes, only when Melotron* was the state of the art!

        * Talk about steam punk contraption!!

    5. onefang

      Re: I think I'll..

      '(Which leads me on to my complaint about music players - when they say "room for up to 500 songs" they obviously don't have prog in mind. My phone (which has a mix of rock, folk, jazz and prog) has an average song length of 7 minutes..)'

      My major complaint about MP3 music, the inventors where obviously not Pink Floyd fans. "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict." doesn't fit in an ID3 tag.

      /me plays the 26 and a half minute version of Echoes to drown my sorrows, coz that at least fits.

  8. steelpillow Silver badge

    "disoriented and dazed"

    Wasn't everybody? It can't have been much of a gig if that marked them out as different from the rest of the pack.

    icon for the softer passages.

  9. chivo243 Silver badge

    For those geriatrics about to Rock!

    We have Waldorf and Statler on the side stage!

    Tramp as he's the the oldest looking icon in the gallery.

  10. Stevie


    I have to smile sometimes when I recall a BBC radio show which interviewed musicians and "told the story" of some of their most famous tracks from concept to finished product. I was working on my car when 10cc came on and talked about "I'm Not In Love" (of course) and a personal favourite "Old Wild Men" (from Sheet Music, an album that desperately needs to be remastered properly to get rid of the chewed-up-tape drop-out on Old Wild Men and Somewhere in Hollywood, and the miss-mixed tubthumping that ruins all current versions of "Silly Love").

    When asked about Old Wild Men the group said they had been shooting the breeze and wondering what would all the (then) rock stars like Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton do when they were 60?

    The answer - as we now know - was "keep on keepin' on", but 10cc's take on Rock Geezerhood from the viewpoint of snotty uber-talented yoofs of the 70s is far more melancholy than the observed reality in hindsight.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Bah!

      Is the BBC show you're on about 'Mastertapes'? Each episode had an A side and B side aired on consecutive days. The first where they were interviewed and played a bit - the second where they answered questions from the audience and played a bit more. I think all still sitting on the iPlayer.

      Radio 4 have surprisingly good music programmes sometimes. It's an odd station. There's a lot on there that I don't like, but I'm always being surprised and coming across something totally odd, that's also great. There was a series a couple of months ago on musical instrument makers, or 'Tales from the Stave' where they discuss the history of a piece of classical music and composer over the original manuscript.

      Plus I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, More or Less and Infinite Monkey Cage.

      1. Stevie

        Re: Bah!

        Don't think so. This was back in, what, 81, 82 I think. Radio 4 sounds right though. It would have been a weekend afternoon, possibly a Saturday. I had to have the TR6 rolling by Sunday lunchtime to be sure she'd get me to my next contract down south, and she had a mean time between failure rate of about 9 weeks. And Oh! Those failures. You know you're alive when the front suspension tears itself out of the chassis when cornering at speed.

        The show's name eludes me though.

        Another episode had Paul Simon demonstrating how Bridge Over Troubled Water evolved as a song from conception as an acoustic spiritualesque experiment to the orchestrated masterpiece it became, along with tapes to prove it all.

        10cc also did that with I'm Not In Love, starting with a rather awful acoustic guitar demo and describing how they loaded a Mellotron with tapes of every member of the band singing every note in the song to get that ethereal chorus effect.

        Fascinating stuff.

  11. smudge

    Never too old

    I saw Arthur Brown perform at a festival last Saturday. He is 76. He still has an amazing voice, and he was bloody good!

    Icon because it's the closest to his make-up.

    1. el-keef

      Re: Never too old

      Yep, I was there too and he was excellent, one of the day's highlights for me. He spent most of the rest of the day wandering around in the audience (still in full makeup and costume!), enjoying the other bands and chatting with the fans.. several of whom looked like they could have been on the run from a care home, but that's another story!

  12. Mike Brown

    Jetho Tull were right: Your never to old to rock n roll, if your too young to die.

    1. Mark 85

      To quote the Rolling Stones: "I know it's only rock 'n' roll but I like it." *

      Well, I turned 70 a month ago. I did look at some residential type "homes".. bed, meals, and ungodly rules all of them. Even curfews. I'm now in a two bedroom apartment*, still working part-time at IT and headed out this weekend to a 70's rock and roll fest.

      I've run in to a few of the residents here.. all ages and several of the younger and older ones are headed there.

      * I saw the Stones do this one live when it first came out.

      **Got tired of lawn maintenance, etc. so sold the place.

    2. Stevie

      Jetho Tull were right:

      That's not what they said though. The words are: He was too old to rock and roll, but he was too young to die.

      Rather the opposite of what you quoted.

      I recall NME reviewed that album tour under the headline "Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll, To Pissed To Stop", which was memorable if not complimentary.

  13. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Care Homes had better get used to it

    When I am finally sent to a care home, ain't no way in hell some carer/cop is gonna keep me away from my Thrash or Death Metal gigs. Mosh on old doodz!!

    1. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: Care Homes had better get used to it

      Now I have this vision of an album cover featuring an ageing rocker on his Harley, getting airborne as he bursts through the wall of his care home, wings of Death looming in the red sky behind.

      Album title anybody?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Care Homes had better get used to it

        BOOH ... but that was MOR AOR, with a hint of glam if you squint.

        1. steelpillow Silver badge

          Re: Care Homes had better get used to it

          BOFH, then?

      2. dmacleo

        Re: Care Homes had better get used to it

        Album title anybody?


        meatloafed...bat came back from hell?

      3. Fungus Bob

        Re: Care Homes had better get used to it

        "Album title anybody?"

        Make it a granny on a Harley and the obvious title is 'Old Bat Out of Hell'

        1. Long John Brass

          Re: Care Homes had better get used to it

          Now I have this vision of an album cover featuring an ageing rocker on his Harley, getting airborne as he bursts through the wall of his care home, wings of Death looming in the red sky behind.

          Album title anybody?

          Shirly it must be; Don't fear the reaper

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Care Homes had better get used to it

      As a fan of NWOBHM I expect I would be with my contemporaries.

      Future care homes have to be ready for all this!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Care Homes had better get used to it

        "Future care homes have to be ready for all this!"

        Current care homes are already seeing this. The original Mods and Rockers are arriving and fighting over the stereo with the incumbent Rock'n'Roll fans from the era of Bill Haley, Chubby Checker etc. Think about it. Early fans of the Beatles, in their late teens, early 20's at the time, are probably over about 70 now! Love Me Do was recorded 3 months before I was born :-)

  14. Peter Christy

    There's nothing like growing old disgracefully! ;-)

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      As the saying goes: If you can't be a good example, you can at least be a horrible warning...

      Now where did I put my leather trousers?

    2. Kernel

      "There's nothing like growing old disgracefully! ;-)"

      Pretty much sums up what is written on my belt buckle - and the badge on my '86 K100RT.

  15. jake Silver badge

    A couple weekends ago ...

    ... one of the kids from the Barn came into my office, wondering about the "cool" music I was playing. The music server had chosen mid '70s punk. Ramones, Heartbreakers[0], New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, Clash, Damned, Buzzcocks ... I might be getting older, but I ain't dead yet.

    [0] No, not the Tom Petty version you heathen.

    1. Mark 85

      Re: A couple weekends ago ...

      [0] No, not the Tom Petty version you heathen.

      Thank <deity> that it wasn't.

  16. martinusher Silver badge

    About this graybeard greebos thing

    So what's unusual about a couple of old geezers wanting to go to a heavy metal festival? The genre started about 50 years ago with bands like Deep Purple. That puts many fans into their 70s.

    What's particularly horrible about this story is the patronizing attitude of everyone involved. Apparently senior housing -- "the olds folks' home" -- isn't just convenient living for older people, its a sort of council run Death Row where the condemned wait out their days until its their time. There's no question of escape (and as for finding them 'dazed and confused at 3am' I'd be rather surprised or even a bit worried if they weren't -- that's the whole idea behind going to one of those gigs).

    This attitude appears everywhere, especially with 'technology'. People in their 60s and 70s include people who pioneered a lot of modern technology but you'd never believe it to read the kind of crap you come across in the media. Even people in their 80s aren't that out of touch; they may be starting to slow down (you do.....just wait....), their formative years (and unfortunately their politics) may be the 1950s but many of them are not in the slightest bit stupid. Or senile.

    Anyway, its a timely warning to older people to keep away from these charnel houses and beware of one's children "who know what's best for one".

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: About this graybeard greebos thing

      Indeed. Contrary to popular belief, Waiting for God wasn't a sitcom, it was a documentary.

    2. earl grey

      Re: About this graybeard greebos thing

      council run Death Row

      Well, until you're ready for soylent green processing.

  17. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Not my kind of music but aren't those listed in the article the younger generation of bands?

  18. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Well that makes a change

    Something we all seem to agree on!

    Good on the old geezers.

    Bugger off care home prison.

    WTF cops. Instead of harassing people having a good time, how about going out and catching some crims?

  19. ashdav

    a bit off topic..

    My brother and I used to go to pubs with a decent jukebox and look for...

    Stairway to heaven.


    And if we were lucky - Echoes.

    Maximum minutes for your buck (actually it was 50p)

    Feel free to add the long track of your choice.

    Anyway Devil's horn to the dudes.

    I'm not far behind them.

    If you can't take it with you then I'm not going.

    1. stiine Silver badge

      Re: a bit off topic..

      Most Yes albums, like Tales from Topographic Oceans.

      1. ashdav

        Re: a bit off topic..

        Agree Topographic Oceans was shit.

        I actually like some Yes tracks..

        And you and I

        Awaken (the one track that sums Yes up)

        My brother has everything they've ever recorded in all formats and all the bootlegs plus some studio master tapes. Amazing quality.

        He needs to get out more.

      2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: Tales From Topographic Oceans

        The only prize I've ever won on a media show was tickets to see the above film on the big screen at Hammersmith Odeon. I seem to remember it was on Nicky Horne's show. In those days everyone had rotary dial phones and, with the number of tickets on offer felt I was in with a chance. Not their best album, but I wouldn't call it bad either.

    2. John G Imrie

      Long track

      Paradise by the Dashboard Light

    3. onefang

      Re: a bit off topic..

      "And if we were lucky - Echoes.

      Maximum minutes for your buck (actually it was 50p)"

      I had just mentioned the 26 and a half minute version of Echoes, doubt if you could find it on a juke box though.

    4. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Echoes

      I seem to remember "Little Nicky Horne" had a segment of his "Your Mother Wouldn't Like It" show on Capital Radio (it might even have been before the move to 194 from 539) which was an uninterrupted long track such as (I distinctly remember) "Echoes". Pink Floyd were popular in that segment because of their several album-length tracks. Traffic were also popular with "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys", "Paper Sun", "Dear Mr Fantasy". There was a track which I've never been able to hunt down since, don't know who by, about the Wright Brothers building their prototype plane in Walthamstow (anyone know of this?).

      Tommy Vance seemed to have a lot of leeway in his shows as to playlist, featuring some really good early full length Chicago [Transit Authority] tracks, as well as shows devoted to reggae.

  20. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    Greebo's just a big old softie.

  21. dmacleo

    damned winds of change, making those under the same sun rock like a hurricane.

    ah I got nothing, no idea if scorpions even there or right genre.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Scorpions are HM don't worry.

      Very good band but live they sound like a record, they are that tight and good.

  22. tictoc

    With today's nappy's no standing inline for the loo~!

    Party On!!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What, those weren't veteran unix admins?

    I was quite disappointed by the fact that article, despite "greybeard greebos" term in the title, doesn't mention Devuan distro

  24. jake Silver badge

    While we're on the subject ...

    ... of aging rockers, if you haven't managed to see the Rolling Stones live yet, beg steal or borrow your way into a gig (if they ever tour again). I'm not exactly a huge Stones fan, I have never purchased any of their music, never bought a T-shirt, don't own anything with a lips logo ... but I've seen 'em live a couple dozen times over the last 5 decades. Always entertaining, never boring, never the same show twice, and good old fashioned no nonsense rock & roll with a bit of the blues thrown in. What more would one want?

    1. Mark 85

      Re: While we're on the subject ...

      Wish I could upvote that more than once. Amen, the Stones are rock and roll...

    2. Mog_X

      Re: While we're on the subject ...

      I saw Iron Maiden last night and we all sang 'Happy Birthday' for Bruce's 60th .

      He is (just) a few years older than me, but I wish I had half his energy.

      Megaphone icon as that's the only way I will be able to hear anyone today.....

  25. MasterofDisaster

    No Grateful Dead references?

    Forgive the paraphrasing, but one of my favorite Grateful Dead lyrics seems appropriate here, from Saint of Circumstance:

    "If I can still walk, then I'm sure that I can dance"

    With Phil&Friends, Dead&Co, and others rocking in their 70's, these German festafarians are the leading edge of a wave we can see coming.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "found missing"

    A curious turn of phrase, indeed.

  27. GrumpenKraut

    Update to the article

    From an article by Deutsche Welle:

    "The two men, who are actually 58- and 59-years-old, have mental health issues, ...". They (reportedly) consumed alcohol and where in a "helpless situation."

    This pretty much invalidates all of the (widely spread) earlier reports.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Update to the article

      Oh, they consumed alcohol? Lock them the fuck up.

      Damn sure they'll at least have got a second hand high from everything else.

  28. Winkypop Silver badge

    Statler and Waldorf?

    Or some other old muppets?

  29. tiggity Silver badge

    Breaking the law?

    .. obligatory Priest song ref

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