Rock Werchter 2021: an overview of the biggest rumours

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Rock Werchter
Photo: Ben Houdijk (Rock Werchter 2019)

Summer festivals would not be as exciting without several months to speculate about which artists will take the stage this year. At Festileaks we always keep an eye out for rumours. In this article, we ask ourselves: who will we see at Rock Werchter 2021?

2020 is forcing us to stay home, as festivals around the world are cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. In April, the Rock Werchter organisation announced the cancellation of the 2020 edition. But here at Festileaks, we like to look forward and think about when summer festivals will return. Who will headline Rock Werchter 2021?

This is the list of the main rumours (in random order).

Headliners of Rock Werchter 2020

The Strokes

We can safely assume that Rock Werchter’s first priority is to move its 2020 line-up to next year. Therefore, the biggest rumours are the artists who were supposed to headline this year’s edition. The StrokesPearl JamTwenty One Pilots, System of a Down and Volbeat have all announced rescheduled shows for 2021, so they will almost certainly return. However, we are still waiting for news from Kendrick Lamar.

Metallica

Photo: Herring

Metallica like to plan ahead. Already in August 2019, rumours started circulating about a European tour in 2021. Almost as usual, it was French radio DJ Francis Zégut who posted about it. Most of the American metal titans’ 2020 shows have now been cancelled or postponed, but next summer still remains open. Metallica’s relation with Rock Werchter is something special, so the festival rarely gets skipped.

Gorillaz

Foto: Kamiel Scholten / Festileaks (Lowlands 2018)

Gorillaz are back! Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s virtual project will perform at Primavera Sound 2021, and more shows will likely follow. The English band currently release new music every month. For the Song Machine project, Gorillaz have collaborated with acts like slowthai, Slaves, Skepta and Peter Hook. Hopefully some of these guests will also join them on stage!

Arctic Monkeys

Photo credit: Zackery Michael

Arctic Monkeys have been very quiet since they finished the Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino tour in 2019. However, rumours are now circulating about possible homecoming shows in Sheffield in 2021. Locals have spotted a licence notice for 4 to 6 June at Hillsborough Park. These early summer dates could very well be the start of a bigger Arctic Monkeys tour. Will they return to Rock Werchter?

Coldplay

Coldplay

Normally, a new Coldplay album would be followed by a tour around Europe. However, after the release of Everyday Life in November 2019, the English band announced they would only consider touring when this is possible in a climate-friendly way. On the Belgian radio, frontman Chris Martin confirmed that they expect this to take at least 18 months. This means 2021 would be a great year for a fifth show at Rock Werchter!

Arcade Fire

Photo: Guy Aroch

Great news for Arcade Fire fans: Montreal’s finest indie outfit are back in the studio! The band’s new record will be the follow-up to 2017’s Everything Now, which was followed by a large tour around the European festivals. It’s easy to predict that shows will also be announced to promote the next album, so Arcade Fire are certainly possible for 2021.

Dua Lipa

Photo: Kamiel Scholten / Festileaks (Lowlands 2018)

Dua Lipa could be the hottest headliner of 2021. New album Future Nostalgia is a huge commercial hit, and also received rave reviews from the critics. Singles ‘Don’t Start Now’, ‘Physical’ and ‘Break My Heart’ are all bangers. Although Dua was only scheduled to headline Sziget in 2020, it would surprise us if the British singer does not add more dates to this festival tour next summer.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

RHCP

After Red Hot Chili Peppers announced the return of guitarist John Frusciante, we were all eager to see them perform. Of course, the band’s 2020 shows did not go ahead, but they will now return to Europe in 2021. The Peppers have confirmed headline shows at Pinkpop and Ejekt 2021, in the Netherlands and Greece. With the renewed hype about the band, it is very possible they will add more shows, including Rock Werchter, to their tour. In the meantime, we can still enjoy their legendary performance at Slane Castle in Ireland.

Nine Inch Nails

In an interview from October 2019, Primavera Sound organiser Gaby Ruiz revealed that Nine Inch Nails were booked for the 2020 edition of the festival. However, even before the global coronavirus outbreak, the American band decided to postpone their tour until 2021. Now the question remains: is this still true, and where will we see Nine Inch Nails next summer?

Eminem

Eminem was a strong rumour for 2020 already. After releasing a surprise album in January, there were many reasons why we hoped a tour would follow. With the coronavirus pandemic preventing all shows this year, we will never find out if the superstar rapper meant to come back this summer. However, it is very much possible that Eminem will announce a series of festivals for 2021 instead.

Rock Werchter 2021

Rock Werchter
Photo: Ben Houdijk (Rock Werchter 2019)

Rock Werchter started as a one-day festival back in 1974. Now, with almost 90,000 visitors each day and around 80 bands for its four-day line-up, it is one of the biggest festivals in Europe. Through the years, it has hosted a variety of music genres and artists. From Metallica and Iron Maiden to David Bowie and Paul McCartney, all have taken the stage in Werchter, Belgium. The festival is known for its diverse crowds of all ages and nationalities.