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Werchter Parklife celebrates summer success

The socially distanced open-air concert series welcomed 63,000 fans to Werchter's Festivalpark from 1 July to 1 August

By Jon Chapple on 02 Aug 2021

Fans at Werchter Parklife

Fans at Werchter Parklife

Werchter Parklife, the summer concert series held in lieu of Rock Werchter, TW Classic and Werchter Boutique at Festivalpark in Werchter, Belgium, concluded yesterday (1 August) with a Covid-secure mini-festival with 2,500 fans.

Werchter Parklife was announced in May, shortly after restrictions on mass gatherings in Belgium led to the cancellation of Rock Werchter (88,000-cap.), Live Nation Belgium’s flagship festival, for the second year running. In June, a temporary, socially distanced open-air arena was constructed in the Festivalpark, with space for 2,500 people in four-person bubbles.

For Parklife, each bubbled-up group was each given their own space in the semi-circular arena, consisting of a parquet square and a stand. Food and beverages were ordered contactlessly and served to the tables of 625 bubbles in attendance.

The festival series ran from 1 July until 1 August, four days a week, welcoming 63,000 people to 28 shows across the month. “Fans and artists reconnected and enjoyed every second of it,” say organisers in a statement, “but also the crew and volunteers, who celebrated the return of live music to the Festivalpark. Summer, live music and Werchter: It was, and always, will be a magical combination.”

Herman Schueremans, Rock Werchter founder and Live Nation Belgium CEO, tells IQ the festival team were, unlike many socially distanced events, able to make Parklife work economically, given the strong ticket sales and their spreading the production costs over 28 days.

“Werchter Parklife was good for now – but next year it’ll be back to normal”

A similar limited-capacity event, Rock Werchter Summer Bar, attracted 15,000 people in summer 2020.

Despite the success of the event, a festival spokesperson says 2021 will likely be the only Werchter Parklife. “Was Werchter Parklife a success? Absolutely. Did we enjoy it? Definitely. Will it be repeated? Probably not,” they say.

“Despite the return of live music to the Festivalpark, there was always a feeling that something was missing, that something was lost in the ongoing restrictions. Werchter is the home of the major festivals Rock Werchter, TW Classic and Werchter Boutique. These are huge gatherings; grand experiences.

“Werchter Parklife was good for now – but next year it’ll be back to normal.”

Rock Werchter 2022 will take place from 30 June to 3 July with Pearl Jam, Metallica, Twenty One Pilots, Faith No More and more. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds will headline TW Classic on 25 July 2022, with Placebo, Sleaford Mods and Whispering Sons also already announced.


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