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Last weekend, Rock Werchter 2018 took place in Belgium, where festival fans enjoyed one of the best lineups in the world. It was also a weekend of tropical temperatures, euphoric football supporters, and a renovated Barn stage. In this Report, you can read everything about Rock Werchter’s latest edition.
Festileaks was there and asked over 100 festival goers about their opinion on six categories of the festival experience. We present the average grades in the Festival Report. We will do this at several festivals all over Europe this summer. Want to stay updated? Follow Festileaks on Facebook or Instagram.
This was Rock Werchter 2018 according to the festival’s visitors.
2018 is the festival summer of Arctic Monkeys and Pearl Jam. After years of absence, the two bands were finally touring again. Even better, both performed at Rock Werchter this year. Apart from these bands, the festival could also count on headliners such as Gorillaz, Queens of the Stone Age, The Killers, Jack White, and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.
Even Eddie Vedder noted that there was a lot to enjoy at Rock Werchter this year. On stage, the Pearl Jam singer called the festival’s lineup one of the best in the world. Melissa from Denver in the United States travelled to Belgium especially for the festival. “You really wanna be in three places at the same time. You can see amazing bands or artists all day long.”
Side programme: 6.2
Good music is the most important characteristic of Rock Werchter. Accordingly, the side programme does not receive the highest mark. Still, for many, especially Belgian, festival goers there was something more important on Friday. The Belgian Red Devils played Brazil for a heavily contested place in the semifinals of the football World Cup. The game was shown live on big screens near The Slope and the North West Walls. Belgium’s victory caused a euphoric atmosphere, which quickly spread over the whole festival site. Additionally, if you stayed at The Hive Resort, you could participate in morning yoga sessions. No better way to start your festival day!
The beautiful weather, many musical highlights and of course Belgium’s football succes all contributed to a euphoric atmosphere. During many performances, such as that of Jack Johnson, the crowds sing along and dance enthusiastically. Water guns provided entertainment under the scorching sun. Like at earlier editions, Werchter had a very diverse audience. New attendants enjoyed this as well. Shane and his friends from Dublin are sure they will be coming back next year. “The music, the atmosphere and all the people coming together here, amazing!”
Location & looks: 7.9
There are a couple of interesting features when looking at the decoration of the festival. The renovated Barn stage has been embellished on the inside by beautiful strings of lights, and on the outside the multicoloured blocks were pleasing to the eye.
As a consequence of the beautiful weather last weekend, people missed places in the shade. Tom from Utrecht said: “Apart from the tent stages, there were barely any places where you could sit and relax in the shade.” To provide some coolness, sprinklers were installed near the entrance. “The invention of this edition,” said Jelle from Bodegraven in the Netherlands.
Food & drinks: 7.7
For years, Rock Werchter has been offering more than just beer, burgers and chips with beef stew. This year, East West was introduced. This restaurant offered Eastern as well as Western specialities for takeaway. Apero was back to provide quality craft beers. For the first time, all bars offered alcohol-free beer.
No complaints about the range of food and drinks on offer, but this was not the case for the prices. People who had bought vouchers online in advance (€2.50) were relatively fortunate. At the festival the vouchers were more expensive: €2.75 when paying by card, or €3.00 when paying in cash. This difference in price according to the way you paid caused some dissatisfaction. “When you’re with a big group, you want to get a large amount of vouchers in one go. In order not to pay the highest price, everyone needs to transfer money instead of just putting in some cash,” said Sam from Eindhoven.
With an almost entirely sold-out festival, there were about 88,000 attendants. Because of this, the festival was occasionally too crowded. Joos from Brussels arrived on the campsite early on Wednesday afternoon. He was not the only one, as large crowds caused severe delays: “I stood still for hours under the blazing sun, inhuman!” Simon from Nieuwland in the Netherlands arrived a little later and had a completely different experience: “Pitching the tent took longer than finding a good spot.”
During the festival, it regularly happened that The Barn and KluB C reached maximum capacity even before an artist would start playing. This caused much dissatisfaction among the festival’s attendants, when a lot of open spaces were clearly visible through the exits.
Next year’s Rock Werchter will take place from 27-30 June 2019. More news about ticket sales and lineup will follow later this year.
This summer, Festileaks is reporting from the biggest festivals in Europe through our Festival Reports. At every festival, we ask over 100 attendants to rate their experience in six fixed categories, and present the averages. In this way, we can conclude at the end of the year which festival scores best in each category. You can check our previous Festival Reports here.