Elderly Men Go Missing From Nursing Home, But Are Found Alive And Well At Heavy Metal Festival

by Lindsey Weedston

Update: We previously reported that two elderly nursing home residents escaped and went to a music festival, but that was not accurate. As NPR reports, the men, ages 58 and 59, actually escaped “a home for people with mental health issues.” They did not actually attend the Wacken Open Air music festival, but instead had traveled to the town of Wacken to have some drinks. They were eventually found at a bus stop.

Original Story: After a short panic and search, two German nursing home escapees were found “dazed and disoriented” but safe — at a heavy metal concert. The elderly men went missing during the day, prompting the nursing home staff to call the police. After hours of searching, officers located the old headbangers at Wacken Open Air, the world’s largest heavy metal festival, at 3 a.m. They reportedly traveled 25 miles via public transportation to get there and ended up taking a taxi home, with a police escort.

Although the escapees seemed confused when they were found, they clearly were not there by accident. According to police, the pair did not want to leave.

“We had to explain to them why they had to go home,” police spokesman Peter Berndt told the Washington Post. “But in the end, they went back voluntarily.”

“They obviously liked the metal festival,” police spokeswoman Merle Neufeld added. “The care home quickly organized return transport after police picked them up.”

Waken Open Air has been held every year since 1990 in Wacken, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The massive heavy metal event lasts for four days and attracts huge headliners such as Judas Priest, Cannibal Corpse, and Sabaton. The festival is also known for being very muddy, though heat waves this year left revelers in the dust. For Waken Open Air 2019, 75,000 tickets were put up for sale, and 60,000 of them have already been sold.

How the nursing home escapees obtained tickets is unclear, but we hope they had a rockin’ good time.

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