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Werchter Parklife celebrates summer success

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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Rock Werchter announces alternative event

Belgium’s Rock Werchter has announced a smaller stand-in event for the flagship festival which was cancelled in March.

The concert series, dubbed Werchter Parklife, is set to run for four days a week between 1 July and 1 August 2021 in a temporary open-air arena at the Werchter festival site.

Already confirmed for Werchter Parklife are Balthazar (1 July), Goose (2 July), Arsenal and Tin Fingers (3 July), Lil Kleine and Ronnie Flex & The Fam (4 July, afternoon), Black Box Revelation and Equal Idiots (4 July, evening).

Up to 2,500 fans will be permitted to attend each concert, divided into 625 safe bubbles of four people. Tickets for Werchter Parklife went on sale this morning (18 May) in batches of four.

Up to 2,500 fans will be permitted to attend each [Werchter Parklife] concert, divided into 625 safe bubbles of four people

Rock Werchter (cap. 88,000), promoted by Herman Schueremans and Live Nation Belgium, will “be back in full swing in 2022, from 30 June to 3 July” after two years off.

The festival last took place in 2019, welcoming more than 160,000 people for its 45th-anniversary event with Pink, Tool, Muse, the Cure, Florence and the Machine, Mumford and Sons and more.

Belgian festivals including Graspop, Suikerrock, Couleur Cafe, Gent Jazz and Dour have also been called off, while Pukkelpop and Tomorrowland are still on at the time of writing.

 


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