Live Nation Belgium has acquired venue operator Antwerps Sportpaleis, which runs the 23,000-cap. Sportpaleis arena, among others
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Herman Schueremans reflects on sellouts across the board, as well as the challenges he had to overcome along the way
By Lisa Henderson on 05 Jul 2023
Rock Werchter founder and Live Nation Belgium CEO Herman Schueremans says demand for festivals is “as high as ever” as he reports sellouts across the board.
“People want value for money and they get that at our festivals,” says Schueremans, who also has a hand in TW Classic, Werchter Boutique, Graspop Metal Meeting, Dour, Pukkelpop and Core.
Rock Werchter’s recent sell-out is a testament to this. The festival, which took place from 29 June-2 July, shifted 88,000 tickets including 67,000 combi passes (which sold out 16 May) and 20,500 day tickets.
Fans from 106 countries purchased tickets, with the top 10 including Belgium, The Netherlands, the UK, France, Germany, Israel, Luxembourg, Ireland, the US and Italy.
But while this year’s edition – which was headlined by Arctic Monkeys, Stormzy and Red Hot Chili Peppers among others – sold out quicker than pre-Covid year 2019, ticket sales took a hit when Belgian artist Stromae dropped out of his Thursday headline slot due to health issues.
“Thursday day tickets sold out a day prior to the festival as it is a weekday and we lost headliner Stromae. The sales slowed down until we announced Mumford & Sons as the replacement, and then they picked up,” he explains.
Schueremans says that finding a strong replacement for Stromae was the biggest challenge with this year’s edition, which took place between 29 June to 2 July in Festivalpark.
Liam Gallagher, Muse, Oscar and the Wolf and Queens of the Stone Age were also part of the eight-strong all-male headlining bill.
“People want value for money and they get that at our festivals”
Reflecting on the success of this year’s edition, Schueremans says he’s particularly proud of the introduction of a new 22,000-capacity barn which is “better in all aspects than a lot of arenas”.
Despite the huge capacity, many acts performing in The Barn – including Warhaus, Charlotte de Witte, Iggy Pop, Ben Howard and Editors – were oversubscribed and improvements had to be made for crowd control.
“To reduce the pressure outside the tent, an entrance structure with staffed crash barriers and gates had to be installed,” says Schueremans. “That ensured entry into the tent was smoother and the crowding outside it was reduced. Also, a second outside screen with a PA was added.”
Elsewhere in Live Nation Belgium’s stable of festivals, TW Classic, Werchter Boutique and Graspop Metal Meeting have all taken place with sell-out crowds, with Schueremans describing the market as “very healthy”.
Alongside its festival season, Live Nation Belgium has concerts lined up with Queens of the Stone Age, The Weeknd, Christine and the Queens, Arlo Park and James Blake.
View Rock Werchter’s 2023 Aftermovie below…
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