Copenhell Metal Festival Venue Taken Over by Church in Denmark
Like countless other music festivals this year, the Copenhell fest in Copenhagen, Denmark was canceled. The vacant grounds have instead been taken over in recent weeks by a group of evangelical Christians, who have been holding a drive-in service on-site each Sunday.
The church services, which have been dubbed "Copenheaven" in response to the festival's devilish leanings, offer a fresh alternative for worshippers who have mostly been attending virtual masses due to bans on public gatherings in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
Even as a mural of a wolf stares down on the industrial wasteland, attendees have not been deterred. The group's pastor, Thomas Christensen, brushed off the ominous painting and told The New York Times, who first reported the news, "We are the Christian sheep."
"That is the big bad wolf," he partially joked, "And I’m the shepherd, protecting the flock."
Every Sunday since late March, small groups have congregated at the Copenhell festival site. It's not as easy as simply showing up each week — the stage from which sermons are delivered, hymns are sung and music is played has to be erected and deconstructed each time.
Christen was inspired when he saw a group of American worshippers congregating at a drive-in venue to watch a livestreamed service that was being held elsewhere. He thought he could improve upon that model a bit by offering a live service to go along with the drive-in format.
"We try to have fun with it," said Christensen. "We say, if you want to get baptized, put your windshield washers on," and joked, "If you want to turn to God, put your blinkers on."
This year's Copenhell Festival was set to be another big one with Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, the reunited Mercyful Fate, Disturbed, Opeth, Korn and so many more all originally scheduled to play.
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