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Music

Ready to rock again after terror scare at Rock am Ring

When the famous rock festival was evacuated after a terror threat, police praised festivalgoers' calm and disciplined behavior. Just before the concert resumed Saturday afternoon, DW talked with some of the rock fans.

Richard Orth noted the "continued good mood" among all present on Saturday at the famous Nürburgring racetrack a day after the Rock am Ring festival was temporarily shut down following a perceived terror threat. "People always say you have a good feeling if they're paying attention on the festival grounds," Orth said. "You have to consider the visitors and their safety. And the organizers are really going to a lot of effort here."

After a "serious threat of a terror attack could not be excluded," police instructed the nearly 90,000 visitors to immediately return to their camping sites surrounding the storied racetrack on Friday evening. But would they feel safer there? Evacuating the tens of thousands of tents, cars and camping trucks on the wide-ranging premises would have been unthinkable. 

"You have to stay chilled about it," Orth said. "It all went on without a hitch; people kept calm. Of course you have some disturbing thoughts. That's only natural."

Rock am Ring 2017 - festival visitors (DW/R. Fulker)

Orth says health and safety are a person's most valuable possessions

After the evacuation, it was back to normal, visitor Martin Demuth said: "We had fun and partied. And that's exactly what everybody should do."

Demuth pointed to the throngs queued up for readmission. "Look at those people over there," he said. "A hundred people singing, dancing, having fun in this fabulous weather. That's pure fun in life - and we won't let anybody take it away from us!"

'Feeling good'

The evacuation of the festival grounds occurred just two weeks after a devastating suicide bombing at a concert in Manchester, England, and some commentators have speculated that authorities ordered Rock am Ring shut down too hastily. Demuth wasn't aware that festival manager Marek Lieberberg had himself criticized the decision to evacuate, but he approved of it.

"They have to do that," Demuth said. "Health and safety are the most precious things a person has."

Rock am Ring 2017 - festival visitors (DW/R. Fulker)

Virginia Weigert and Demuth won't let anything or anybody spoil their fun

And rock fans were able to make do.

"We walked back to the camping site," Katia Radermacher said. "At first, everybody felt let down. But then we said: OK, that's not going to get us anywhere either. So we all drank some beer, and were soon back in the mood."

And they're excited for the action to resume.

"I think it's a good idea, although the organizers are taking a risk, because if it had to be interrupted again, that would really be awful," Radermacher said. "But it's great now that it's continuing. They're also sending a good message."

Rock am Ring 2017 - festival visitors (DW/R. Fulker)

Hopefully it won't happen again, say Jerome and Lydia

Jerome and Lydia, who only gave their first names, are certainly ready to rock all over again. "People were feeling good," Lydia said, but "some were a bit critical about what had happened."

Jerome added: "We hope that it doesn't happen again! That would be horrible if we couldn't see the bands anymore."

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