Rock Werchter 2016 is just about the only thing the little Belgian village of Werchter is famous for. It is a fantastic rock music festival. The Rock Werchter Festival Belgium is held in the heart of Belgian beer brewing territory, and the region also host a number of important Belgian beer festivals.
Rock Werchter History and Facts
The Rock Werchter Festival Belgium is one of the largest in Europe, with attendance close to 300,000. This draws some of the most prominent rock headliners from around the world, with acts including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Black Eyed Peas, REM, Elvis Costello, Rammstein, and Coldplay. It is a four-day event held over the last weekend in June/first weekend in July, and is one of the five largest rock music festivals in all of Europe. The others are the Glastonbury Festival in England, Roskilde Festival in Denmark, Sziget Festival in Budapest Hungary, and Oxegen in Ireland. Along with Glastonbury (1970) and Roskilde (1971), it is one of the oldest in Europe; all three were established shortly after and in the mold of the legendary 1969 Woodstock Festival in New York State. These latter three festivals are all scheduled around the same weekend, meaning that many of the headliner acts can perform at all three.
Rock Werchter shares another legacy with both the Glastonbury and Roskilde Festival—safety. During a Pearl Jam performance at Roskilde in 2000, nine concertgoers were crushed to death in a crowd-surfing surge toward the stage. This led to a sea change in the safety precautions of similar festivals around the world. Glastonbury even cancelled its 2001 dates in order to review its safety precautions. Guidelines for safety (including the strict banning of moshing and crowd surfing) both during performances and at camping venues are now standard at large-scale concerts around the globe. Because of the youthful student population in Leuven, there are a number of other music festivals in the region, including the mid-August Marktrock in the Leuven city center and Pukkelpop held in Hasselt later in August.
Tickets to Rock Werchter
Tickets for Rock Werchter 2016 go on sale during the first week in December. You can purchase a single-day ticket or a ticket for the entire event. Unlike many other similar music festivals in Europe, festival tickets do not include admission to the campsites. These are privately operated, and tickets for these are purchased separately.
Directions to Rock Werchter
In 1974, the Rock Werchter Festival Belgium put the little village on the international map of music festivals. The area is located about 20 miles northeast of the capital city of Brussels and about 30 miles southeast of the important seaport city of Antwerp. Getting here is no problem as there are international airports in both cities, the roads are excellent, and there is regularly scheduled train transportation. A wonderful feature of the Belgian train service is the fact that anyone under age 26 rides free. Anyone of any age who holds a Rock Werchter, ticket also rides free.
Lodging Near Rock Werchter
There are several camping sites available around the festival area that are for tents as well as camper vehicles. Drinking water is available free of charge as are toilet facilities. There are extra fees for amenities such as safe deposit lockers and showers, and you will find food and beverages available for purchase in outlets in numerous places. The campsites open on the Wednesday prior to the beginning of the festival. There are only a very few hotel choices in Werchter, but those who chose not to camp generally take advantage of one of the many Leuven hotels.
Image: zugaldia (flickr)