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“Thorough” bag inspections at major Belgian festivals

Six major Belgian music festivals are to collectively adopt a number of new security measures ahead of this summer’s festival season.

Graspop Metal Meeting, Rock Werchter, TW Classic, Dour Festival, Tomorrowland and Pukkelpop have issued a joint statement announcing that, following consultations with local and federal police, local governments and Belgium’s interior ministry, “clear directives” are to implemented dictating what will and won’t be allowed at this year’s events.

While backpacks and other bags won’t be banned, as some initially feared, they will be subject to “thorough inspection”.

“We will do everything in our power to make sure the additional checks run as smoothly as possible”

The other new security measures are, and likely to remain, a mystery: the festivals say that “for safety reasons, we are not at liberty to communicate in detail on existing or additional safety procedures”.

The statement, signed by Graspop’s Peter Van Geel, Rock Werchter/TW Classic/Live Nation Belgium’s Herman Schueremans, Dour Festival’s Damien Dufrasne, Tomorrowland/ID&T’s Manu and Michiel Beers and Pukkelpop’s Chokri Mahassine, also thanks “fans in advance for their understanding, their willing cooperation, the extra effort they are asked to make and also for their continued vigilance” and says the festivals will do “everything in their power to make sure the additional checks run as smoothly as possible”.

The Belgian capital, Brussels, was rocked by three coordinated nail bombings on the morning of 22 March, with responsibility claimed by Islamic State (IS), the perpetrator of the Bataclan attack. Belgium has more of its citizens fighting for IS and jihadist groups as a proportion of its population than any other western European country.