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Schueremans’ Rock Werchter verdict: ‘Music unites’

The Live Nation Belgium CEO shares his 2024 review with IQ as the festival gears up to celebrate its 50th birthday next year

By James Hanley on 10 Jul 2024

Rock Werchter


image © Julie Rommelaere

Rock Werchter founder Herman Schueremans is already turning his attention to the event’s 50th anniversary next year in the wake of a successful 2024 edition.

Belgium’s biggest music festival, which ran from 4-7 June, starred headliners Lenny Kravitz, Måneskin, Dua Lipa and Foo Fighters.

Acts such as Avril Lavigne, Jane’s Addiction, PJ Harvey, The Hives, Black Pumas, Sum 41, Yungblud, Tom Odell, Royal Blood, Pretenders, Idles and Snow Patrol also featured on the bill.

On-site improvements included a brand-new KluB C tent and an upgraded The Barn, with open fronts and new screens mounted on both tents. Tickets for the sold out 88,000-cap rock institution were priced at €309.

“Everything ran smoothly,” Schueremans tells IQ. “We are extremely proud of our team.”

The Live Nation Belgium CEO says extra precautions were put in place in advance of the event due to wet weather in the region over the past few weeks and months.

“We anticipated it already at the end end of May and started putting extra drainage on the festival site and the camping area. We ordered extra steel plates, extra sand and managed to present a top festival site to our audience.”

Fewer parking tickets were available as not all areas of the site were sufficiently dry, prompting organisers to put on extra public transport and additional space for bicycles. As a result, 20,000 bikes were parked per day – a new Rock Werchter record – while a total of 17,000 festivalgoers commuted to Werchter from Leuven and Aarschot railway stations.

“There will be some top talent available [next year] and we are holding options already”

The festival, which attracted 155,000 unique visitors over four days, passed off with no major emergencies, with the Red Cross recording 4,300 medical interventions – well down from previous years, while a mobility review that took place following significant traffic jams at the 2023 event also had the desired effect.

“Significantly fewer traffic disruptions occurred this year,” local mayor Jelle Wouters tells the Brussels Times.

Rock Werchter turns 50 in 2025, when it will return from 3-6 July, having been held every year since 1975 apart from the pandemic-hit 2020. And following complaints of a dearth of headliners affecting the wider European sector across the 2024 calendar, Schueremans says the early signs for next summer are positive.

“The top result of our 2024 Rock Werchter edition indicates we’ll be ready for our 50th edition in 2025,” he says. “There will be some top talent available and we are holding options already.”

Wrapping up, the promoter expresses pride that the overall Belgian festival scene continues to hold its own.

“Belgium has a lot of festivals. They all have their own profile and keep doing wonderfully well,” he says. “Rock Werchter, Graspop Metal Meeting and Pukkelpop sell out.

“Belgium and Belgians have a festival DNA. Smaller countries as Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland are successful in organising festivals that became cultural heritage and part of society. Music unites.”

 


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