BLIND GUARDIAN, APOCALYPTICA, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES and AVANTASIA are the first confirmed bands for next year's edition of the Wacken Open Air festival, which takes place annually in the small town of Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany.Wacken Open Air was first held in 1990 as a small event for local German bands. By 1998 the event had become the major festival on the European metal calendar and has included over 70 bands from all over Europe, North America and Australia. Wacken Open Air is usually held at the beginning of August and lasts three days, during which the festival-goers camp on several large camping grounds surrounding the actual festival area. The 70 or more bands perform across four separate stages over the course of the event. The 2009 edition of Wacken Open Air set a sales record; it sold out on December 30, 2008. All 70,000 tickets were sold over 200 days before the start of the festival. Wacken Open Air, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, was honored with a Live Entertainment Award in 2008 in the "Festival Of The Year" category. This award recognizes distinguished achievements in live entertainment and is given out by Live Entertainment Award (LEA) committee.
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